Is negative energy inherently evil? Can undead atone?


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Does that mean that spells like Trap the Soul should be considered evil in Golarion?

James Jacobs has explained why Pharasma hates undead, but not why sentient creatures have their alignment shifted forcibly. I've seen plenty of what, but no why as of yet. Self preservation through feeding is Neutral at worst.


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I'm just going to leave this here. Again.

The issue is that Necromancy isn't approached the same way by every designer. This isn't that uncommon. Many other schools have spells that don't seem to fit the general guidelines. (I can't even count the number of times I've thought "why the heck is that a Conjuration spell?")

The difference is that Necromancy is the only school (besides sometimes Enchantment) that makes moral judgements that effect the rules of the game.

The question isn't why undead are always evil. It's whether or not they should be.

The answer, of course, is "it depends on the game."

So unless you're playing PFS, just make the decision for the game you are in, discuss it with your group, and explore the implications of that choice in the story.


The question whether negative energy is evil or not has been answered along with the atonement question. If you feel the need to ask the question why sentient creatures have their alignment shifted forcibly, make a new topic. This one is pretty much done.


Doomed Hero wrote:

I'm just going to leave this here. Again.

The issue is that Necromancy isn't approached the same way by every designer. This isn't that uncommon. Many other schools have spells that don't seem to fit the general guidelines. (I can't even count the number of times I've thought "why the heck is that a Conjuration spell?")

The difference is that Necromancy is the only school (besides sometimes Enchantment) that makes moral judgements that effect the rules of the game.

The question isn't why undead are always evil. It's whether or not they should be.

The answer, of course, is "it depends on the game."

So unless you're playing PFS, just make the decision for the game you are in, discuss it with your group, and explore the implications of that choice in the story.

Nonetheless, i wanted to make a character that is pretty much assured to work, witch is impossible.

I'm afraid of PFS, because it feels restrictive to me, but i have access to no home games at all...
Or even PFS ones for that matter.

I wonder why i even made this, not like I'll ever get to be a player and not a GM that i hate being but am bound to by guilt.

Overall, this topic is over.


Icehawk333, find a VTT such as Roll20 or Paizo's Gamespace (when it comes online) and play there.

I have two games a week, one on Roll20 and one at home. :)

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Icehawk333, find a VTT such as Roll20 or Paizo's Gamespace (when it comes online) and play there.

I have two games a week, one on Roll20 and one at home. :)

- Gauss

If only i knew anyone who would actually want to dm.


1. No.
2. Intelligent ones, yes. Unintelligent ones are slaves to instinct.


Icehawk333, there are plenty of resources on various websites to find people to play with. My own online group I found on Paizo's website.

I have also found people to play with on Roll20 (I am playing Axis and Allies on Roll20 right now).

- Gauss

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gauss wrote:

The Wizard with the immortality discovery will still die someday. His soul will still go to the afterlife. He is not a parody of life.

There are still many other ways to die and someday, one of them will happen.

In the cosmic timetable his soul being out of circulation little bit longer is a non-issue. If he lives an extra 5,000 years that is an eyeblink on cosmic terms.

In Golarion, living a lifespan beyond your designated length, puts you on the list of one of Pharasma's inevitable servants. He'll get around to you.... at some point. It's from one of the novels.... the one with the inquisitor who can't stand his diety or her servants.

Liberty's Edge

Scavion wrote:

Hellfire Ray is totally evil. But alas, on topic.

Negative Energy is not inherently evil no. Casting inflict spells does not have the evil descriptor as a main point. Negative Energy is just the opposite of Positive Energy. They are as indifferent to our silly moral conundrums as the air we breathe or a rock on the ground.

Yes. It is hellfire. You are calling forth power from Hell, which is the plane of evil.

Negative energy isn't evil. Infusing the dead with negative energy to make them undead is evil.

It is the making undead part that is evil, not what you use. In the same way a sword isn't evil, but stabbing kittens is.


It's telling that the natives of the Negative Energy plane are inherently evil while the natives of the Positive Energy plane are inherently neutral.


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How to play a non evil undead.
1) Acquire undead.
2)Tie it up.
3)Put Helmet of Opposite Alignment on it.
Does it fail the will save and stop trying to kill you?
If yes, then yay, enjoy your new good aligned undead
If no, remove helmet and repeat step 3.

HoOA is not stated to be mind effecting and Undead are therefore not immune to it.


Tybalt Baneko wrote:

How to play a non evil undead.

1) Acquire undead.
2)Tie it up.
3)Put Helmet of Opposite Alignment on it.
Does it fail the will save and stop trying to kill you?
If yes, then yay, enjoy your new good aligned undead
If no, remove helmet and repeat step 3.

HoOA is not stated to be mind effecting and Undead are therefore not immune to it.

You don't need to go threw all the trouble:

just read the bestiary's definitions on monster alignment: only mindless creatures and outsiders have fixed alignments. Intelligent undead are free to be any alignment.


Tybalt Baneko there is a 4th step. Does it kill itself afterwards since it is now something it feels should be destroyed? :D

- Gauss


137ben wrote:
Tybalt Baneko wrote:

How to play a non evil undead.

1) Acquire undead.
2)Tie it up.
3)Put Helmet of Opposite Alignment on it.
Does it fail the will save and stop trying to kill you?
If yes, then yay, enjoy your new good aligned undead
If no, remove helmet and repeat step 3.

HoOA is not stated to be mind effecting and Undead are therefore not immune to it.

You don't need to go threw all the trouble:

just read the bestiary's definitions on monster alignment: only mindless creatures and outsiders have fixed alignments. Intelligent undead are free to be any alignment.

Outsiders actually have rules for if they become an alignment other then thier own.

They count as both at all times.


Gauss wrote:

Tybalt Baneko there is a 4th step. Does it kill itself afterwards since it is now something it feels should be destroyed? :D

- Gauss

Not as black and white as you think.

If it doesn't have a soul, death is a thing that would likely terrify it, as there is no available afterlife.


icehawk333 wrote:
137ben wrote:
Tybalt Baneko wrote:

How to play a non evil undead.

1) Acquire undead.
2)Tie it up.
3)Put Helmet of Opposite Alignment on it.
Does it fail the will save and stop trying to kill you?
If yes, then yay, enjoy your new good aligned undead
If no, remove helmet and repeat step 3.

HoOA is not stated to be mind effecting and Undead are therefore not immune to it.

You don't need to go threw all the trouble:

just read the bestiary's definitions on monster alignment: only mindless creatures and outsiders have fixed alignments. Intelligent undead are free to be any alignment.

Outsiders actually have rules for if they become an alignment other then thier own.

They count as both at all times.

Yes, (as the bestiary says, the alignment of outsiders is relatively unchangeable.

Undead don't even have that, though--they follow the same rules for alignment as every other non-mindless, non-outsider creature.


Icehawk333, could you show me where in my 4th step I indicated it was black and white? I am pretty sure I put in an question without stating an answer.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Icehawk333, could you show me where in my 4th step I indicated it was black and white? I am pretty sure I put in an question without stating an answer.

- Gauss

Because i'm not using the proper term.

;)


Most undead being chaotic evil will be reversed to Lawful Good, won't commit suicide, as in most religions, suicide is seen as an unforgivable sin.
If I was to do so, I would realize that I now have infinite time to help turn my undead brothers become free and good people by doing the same thing to them! :D
...
I may have actually just made a new character design for myself...
Skeleton Pally.... interesting. :D


Icehawk333, I just thought you could point where in my statement I indicated my thoughts on how black and white it was. I was pretty sure I did not indicate it. :)

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Icehawk333, I just thought you could point where in my statement I indicated my thoughts on how black and white it was. I was pretty sure I did not indicate it. :)

- Gauss

Yeah, i said something wrong, is all.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Tybs: Samurai are (potentially) Lawful Good and commit suicide all the time! Remember: just because the undead is lawful good doesn't mean he found religion. ;)

(I found Iomedae! She was hiding in the closet the whole time!)


No worries. :) Sometimes I indicate something without meaning to.

- Gauss


Is killing yourself because you are undead suicide? I don't think so since you aren't alive you cannot be ending your life. :D

- Gauss


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Gauss wrote:

Tybalt Baneko there is a 4th step. Does it kill itself afterwards since it is now something it feels should be destroyed? :D

- Gauss

Huh, and here I thought that killing sentient lawful good people would be an evil act, and that any intelligent lawful good undead would be smart enough to know that...


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
137ben wrote:
Huh, and here I thought that killing sentient lawful good people would be an evil act, and that any intelligent lawful good undead would be smart enough to know that...

Killing isn't inherently evil - killing innocents maybe, but there's plenty of legitimate reasons for good people to kill one another, especially in a world like Golarion.


FireclawDrake wrote:

Tybs: Samurai are (potentially) Lawful Good and commit suicide all the time! Remember: just because the undead is lawful good doesn't mean he found religion. ;)

(I found Iomedae! She was hiding in the closet the whole time!)

That's a culture thing, silly Beardsman. :P


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tybalt Baneko wrote:
That's a culture thing, silly Beardsman. :P

So is religion :P ;D


137ben, you make a good point, killing sentient lawful good people would be an evil act. Good thing a Lawful Good undead isn't people. :)

- Gauss


Guess it's a good thing I said Pally and not Samurai, then. ;)


Gauss wrote:

137ben, you make a good point, killing sentient lawful good people would be an evil act. Good thing a Lawful Good undead isn't people. :)

- Gauss

In D&D/PF, there is no distinction between "people" and "non-people", except that "creatures" are distinguished from "objects". The distinction (by RAW) is that creatures have wisdom scores, and objects don't.

A further distinction is made between creatures with animal level intelligence (1-2) and creatures with human level intelligence (3+).

Undead with intelligence scores at least three fall into the latter category. So yes, they are people.

Liberty's Edge

Actually people are people.

Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.


People is not a defined term in Pathfinder. So, you say all creatures with an intelligence score higher than 2 are people and I say they are not. *shrugs*

I say people are humanoids, not undead things which are usually evil.

I think that when waking up to the horror that you are an undead thing destroying yourself is certainly an option. Especially if it prevents you from harming others.

- Gauss


Undead logically shouldn't be evil, but it's a genre conceit at this point, so settings tend to be constructed with the idea that Undead *need* to be evil for some reason.

Taking souls out of circulation isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if the soul in question really didn't want to be recycled.

Silver Crusade

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ciretose wrote:

Actually people are people.

Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.

Depends on the setting.

"People are people, no matter what they are."


Mikaze wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Actually people are people.

Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.

Depends on the setting.

"People are people, no matter what they are."

Dr.Suess wrote:
"A person's a person, no matter how small."

(Or naturally evil)

Silver Crusade

icehawk333 wrote:
Gauss wrote:

Tybalt Baneko there is a 4th step. Does it kill itself afterwards since it is now something it feels should be destroyed? :D

- Gauss

Not as black and white as you think.

If it doesn't have a soul, death is a thing that would likely terrify it, as there is no available afterlife.

Most intelligent undead have souls though. In fact, if they don't that typically means something is terribly wrong even beyond the norms of undeath. (like Paizo's take on 3.5 devourers)


Because non-evil undead would be all sparkly. And you don't want that, trust me.

Seriously, it's because undead in D&D are based on Hammer films like Dracula, a non-evil Dracula leads to "Love at First Bite". Later references would be the Evil Dead series.

But cheer up! Right over yonder is Vampire the Masquerade, which is custom designed to meet all your non-evil, misunderstood, angsty creature of the night needs


ericthetolle wrote:

Because non-evil undead would be all sparkly. And you don't want that, trust me.

Seriously, it's because undead in D&D are based on Hammer films like Dracula, a non-evil Dracula leads to "Love at First Bite". Later references would be the Evil Dead series.

But cheer up! Right over yonder is Vampire the Masquerade, which is custom designed to meet all your non-evil, misunderstood, angsty creature of the night needs

Pff. Angst isn't what I'm going for either.

You assume too much...
(That, and in pathfinder, they have 4 diffrent vampires, one is based off of Dracula.)
I'm hoping for a CG that loves being a undead. Sure, people thinking he's evil is annoying, but he "lives" with it.

Vampire wasn't what i was hoping for.
I'm hoping for a ghoul.
A ghoul that likes tea and hides in plain sight as a normal person.


seebs wrote:
Note that alignments in D&D are full of strange rules. It is quite possible for a single creature to detect strongly as evil AND as good.

One of the creepiest things in our 3.5 eberron game was when we discovered, in the basement of some archmage's castle we were raiding: "some sort of f--d up mutated vat-grown fetus thing; it detects strongly as good".

It turned out to be one of the wizards projects, something he had grown in a jar around a holy symbol of the silver flame ... I think that our assassin PC guy wound up using it as a kidney replacement. It caused his blood to act as holy water -- a nice surprise for any vampire who tried to bite him!

Anyway, my point is: I couldn't agree more.

Silver Crusade

icehawk333 wrote:
ericthetolle wrote:

Because non-evil undead would be all sparkly. And you don't want that, trust me.

Seriously, it's because undead in D&D are based on Hammer films like Dracula, a non-evil Dracula leads to "Love at First Bite". Later references would be the Evil Dead series.

But cheer up! Right over yonder is Vampire the Masquerade, which is custom designed to meet all your non-evil, misunderstood, angsty creature of the night needs

Pff. Angst isn't what I'm going for either.

You assume too much...
(That, and in pathfinder, they have 4 diffrent vampires, one is based off of Dracula.)
I'm hoping for a CG that loves being a undead. Sure, people thinking he's evil is annoying, but he "lives" with it.

Marceline. :)


Mikaze wrote:
icehawk333 wrote:
ericthetolle wrote:

Because non-evil undead would be all sparkly. And you don't want that, trust me.

Seriously, it's because undead in D&D are based on Hammer films like Dracula, a non-evil Dracula leads to "Love at First Bite". Later references would be the Evil Dead series.

But cheer up! Right over yonder is Vampire the Masquerade, which is custom designed to meet all your non-evil, misunderstood, angsty creature of the night needs

Pff. Angst isn't what I'm going for either.

You assume too much...
(That, and in pathfinder, they have 4 diffrent vampires, one is based off of Dracula.)
I'm hoping for a CG that loves being a undead. Sure, people thinking he's evil is annoying, but he "lives" with it.
Marceline. :)

Edited because of brainfart, but both are valid, and cool concepts.


Also, there's always the Advanced Race Guide. You can create Undead races with that. Non-evil ones, even.

Further, James has gone on record more recently as saying that there are non-evil undead... and not just ghosts. (Wish I could find it...)

EDIT:

Found it.

Related, his opinion on inherently-aligned outsiders.


ericthetolle wrote:

Because non-evil undead would be all sparkly. And you don't want that, trust me.

You do realize that non-evil undead predate twilight by several hundred years (at a minimum), right?

Next thing ya know, people will be saying that only "sparkly" undead can procreate.

Gauss wrote:

People is not a defined term in Pathfinder. So, you say all creatures with an intelligence score higher than 2 are people and I say they are not. *shrugs*

I say people are humanoids, not undead things which are usually evil.

I think that when waking up to the horror that you are an undead thing destroying yourself is certainly an option. Especially if it prevents you from harming others.

- Gauss

Well, since "people" are not defined in PF, it can't possibly be used (per RAW, anyways) as a criteria for determining what Evil is, now can it:)

But...

Quote:
Especially if it prevents you from harming others.

Why is the Lawful Good undead likely to harm others?

I mean, more likely than a lawful good humanoid who is vulnerable to Dominate Person.

ciretose wrote:

Actually people are people.

Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.

Dragons and Undead are both Creatures Types, defined in the core rules.

"People" are not.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

City of Strangers features a lawful neutral vampire who is a merchant lord. Apparently he keeps a harem of women who he drinks the blood of, but he does not kill them and effectively buys their consent.

So maybe redemption and free will of a sort exist for intelligent undead.


137ben, this conversation got out of RAW a long time ago. It got into alignment debates (which are almost never RAW), world fluff, etc.

Now, you are trying to use an alignment debate to state that it would be evil to kill oneself. That has nothing to do with RAW regardless of your type or subtype.

Now, why is a Lawful Good undead likely to harm others? Because many types of undead need to feed in some fashion.

Any undead that is either carnivorous or life draining needs to feed. Failure to do so in the required time (days = creature's HD) requires a Will save (DC10 +HD/2 +# of previous checks) or it takes penalties. Additionally, it must make a Will save (same formula as before) if it is close to a helpless creature that qualifies as it's food source.

These rules (which are optional but are the only rules covering this that I have found) are found in Blood of the Night.

So, presented with the fact that Good undead (according to Blood of the Night this is possible but extremely rare) will still have to feed and an accidental feeding may result in the death of an innocent, it is any wonder that *some* Good aligned Undead may decide to end their existence rather than feed on the innocent?

In any case, this conversation is really not dealing with a Rules Question, if you wish to repost in a different discussion forum perhaps I will continue to debate it.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

137ben, this conversation got out of RAW a long time ago. It got into alignment debates (which are almost never RAW), world fluff, etc.

Now, you are trying to use an alignment debate to state that it would be evil to kill oneself. That has nothing to do with RAW regardless of your type or subtype.

Now, why is a Lawful Good undead likely to harm others? Because many types of undead need to feed in some fashion.

Any undead that is either carnivorous or life draining needs to feed. Failure to do so in the required time (days = creature's HD) requires a Will save (DC10 +HD/2 +# of previous checks) or it takes penalties. Additionally, it must make a Will save (same formula as before) if it is close to a helpless creature that qualifies as it's food source.

These rules (which are optional but are the only rules covering this that I have found) are found in Blood of the Night.

So, presented with the fact that Good undead (according to Blood of the Night this is possible but extremely rare) will still have to feed and an accidental feeding may result in the death of an innocent, it is any wonder that *some* Good aligned Undead may decide to end their existence rather than feed on the innocent?

In any case, this conversation is really not dealing with a Rules Question, if you wish to repost in a different discussion forum perhaps I will continue to debate it.

- Gauss

Yes, Good undead may need to feed on other creatures.

So do animals. And Humans. And almost every other species.
I cannot find any suggestion anywhere that undead are required to feed off of innocent humans, rather than plants or animals.

Liberty's Edge

137ben wrote:


Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.

Dragons and Undead are both Creatures Types, defined in the core rules.

"People" are not.

You are correct.

Meaning "People" means nothing in the rules.

Which kind of destroys your argument, doesn't it?


ciretose wrote:
137ben wrote:


Dragons are dragons

Undead are...undead.

Literally a whole other category and everything.

Dragons and Undead are both Creatures Types, defined in the core rules.

"People" are not.

You are correct.

Meaning "People" means nothing in the rules.

Which kind of destroys your argument, doesn't it?

No, it destroys your argument:

people have nothing to do with the rules. So what counts as "people" has nothing to do with the rules either, including the alignment rules.

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