Official Clarification Request: Is Casting Spell with "Evil" Descriptor Still Not Evil?


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4/5

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Bigrin da Troll wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Hard to count how many licks to the center of an evil tootsie pop. Some GMs thing one infernal healing should damn your soul, others are just fine with undead walking around. Bit of a can of worms because its a wide table variance with consequences for players that could be avoided.

Wouldn't be that hard to have language in the Guide stating something like:

"Casting a spell with an alignment descriptor counts as a minor act of that alignment. A single casting is not enough to shift a PC's alignment, but usage of such spells should be noted on the player's chronicle sheet. If a long-term pattern develops, an alignment shift might eventually be warranted."

Boom. Now there's no more table variation than with any other rule.

How many times casting, sessions, or whatever constitute a "long-term pattern"?
This is something I am 100% entirely comfortable leaving in the capable hands of the Venture Captains (under the wise guidance of Mike Brock).

Putting it in the hands of of the Venture Captains merely moves it from table variation, to regional variations. Which while ok for most players may put players that cross regions into a tough spot.

And frankly I'm not sure how I would handle it falling on me to make the rules for how alignment specific spells worked in my region. It's really hard to make rules that hinge on areas that can be hotly debated topic like alignment and still be fair to everyone that plays.

And also have those rules not be a mess and make the games bogged down with even more accounting.

I do like the idea that alignment spells would twist people towards the alignment of the spell and the flavor that brings. The idea of Infernal Healing slowly corrupting the caster seems cool.

I'm just not sure that it's worth it over the current rules of alignment infractions where alignment infractions are based on what you do. Because that's far easier for the system to be the most fair, with the least amount of accounting.

Though I really need to do more deep thinking on this topic.

Liberty's Edge

Though at the same time I might ask a player if maybe they should be neutral rather than good (if they aren't already) if it is something they do constantly because their character's morals seem less goody-two-shoes and more getting the job done while doing their own thing. But I would ask that because they are choosing evil spells over good spells not because the spells change their alignment. What in their character's makeup makes them choose those spells and what does that mean their alignment should be. So re-examine the character's alignment, because morals determine spell choice rather than spell choice determining morals.

EDIT: Broke my post somehow...
I meant to say I normally veiw [evil] spells as acts of evil in terms of code of conduct and stuff rather than alignment shifting, but half my post disappeared and now it looks completely silly...

Shadow Lodge

Bob Jonquet wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:
Infernal Healing, on the other hand, has been specifically called out as being ok, and notes that it does not have long term affects on alignment, despite both being an Evil spell and giving an Evil Aura.
That's one of the "cheats" that have been made to allow its use in PFS. An evil spell is evil, period, seems to be the message we are getting from the designers and trying to force that square peg into the round hole of PFS is what is causing all the problems.

I don't disagree in any way, nor am I a fan of either that spell or it's flavor, or it being an exception (which is mostly to allow more non-divine healing). That's a different topic, and nearly one that's been going on for as long. :)

I was simply pointing out that it is called out as an exception, and really has no point in the discussion (other than to indicate that "how it works otherwise" should be different), and in my opinion, implying that a sweeping change would ruin all those Infernal Healing Wand users is at best an "the sky is falling" sort of cry.

Shadow Lodge

The Beard wrote:
Outside PFS most people treat evil magics such that any casting of an evil spell automatically turns you evil, and that only a significant amount of atoning could actually do something about it. I feel that PFS play has been very lenient (and it is a good thing) on alignment infractions thus far. Black and white is so... boring.

I'm not certain just how true that is. It's not in my experience at all, though I agree that PFS is more lenient, (and that's a good thing).

Silver Crusade 3/5

Arden Oakwald wrote:

I can't believe that's how the normal rules are ruling it O_o

Summoning fiendish vipers to fight the baddies and save the innocent children of a village shouldn't make you evil just because the summon spell gained an evil descriptor.
otherwise summoning several hordes of celestial firebeetles to lay waste to an orphanage would then make you good, right?

Good for PFS for making an exception. They should keep it, and leave it as is.

Besides, yeah, a few people have pointed out now that Cheliax players might end up walking a fine line, thematically.

Hmmm... quicker, easier, more seductive...

Sound familiar?

But hey that's not the thread here.

Liberty's Edge

FallofCamelot wrote:
Arden Oakwald wrote:

I can't believe that's how the normal rules are ruling it O_o

Summoning fiendish vipers to fight the baddies and save the innocent children of a village shouldn't make you evil just because the summon spell gained an evil descriptor.
otherwise summoning several hordes of celestial firebeetles to lay waste to an orphanage would then make you good, right?

Good for PFS for making an exception. They should keep it, and leave it as is.

Besides, yeah, a few people have pointed out now that Cheliax players might end up walking a fine line, thematically.

Hmmm... quicker, easier, more seductive...

Sound familiar?

But hey that's not the thread here.

No it doesn't... sorry. Some of us are newer to the boards. Could you context that?


Sigil Baram wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:

Hmmm... quicker, easier, more seductive...

Sound familiar?

But hey that's not the thread here.

No it doesn't... sorry. Some of us are newer to the boards. Could you context that?

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000015/quotes

Sczarni 4/5

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@topic
Speaking from the perceptive of our local organized community in PFS, nobody so far had any objections against evil based spells. In fact, rare few people use them.

I cannot see how it would contribute to the PFS removal of such spells. Plenty of character builds would be nullified by it. Plenty of character's backgrounds would be hurt by it. Plenty of spells would have to be removed and replaced by other spells (for casters which gain Evil based domain or bonus spells). In short, I see more problems then rewards for this. It would also make PFS highly hypocritical since PFS can use his agents to do potentially evil things, yet their own private agents (players) aren't at liberty to do so. At least, this is my honest opinion on this subject.

Adam

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Sigil Baram wrote:

No it doesn't... sorry. Some of us are newer to the boards. Could you context that?

Sure :)

Liberty's Edge

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Ah ok. But currently PFS ignores that kind of thing in favor of what your character is doing instead of how they are doing it. Going back on that would mess with a lot of people for something that is more campaign specific fluff than anything that needs to apply to every setting because someone somewhere said so.

We can worship evil gods, for example. I would consider worshiping an evil god more evil than summoning a devil and making it do good things. You're giving an evil thing power rather than just using an evil things power (though I'm saying that part based on my forgotten realms background where worshipers gave deities power... not sure on the specifics of how worshipers work in PF). And you know... the Cheliax faction...


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Sigil Baram wrote:

Ah ok. But currently PFS ignores that kind of thing in favor of what your character is doing instead of how they are doing it. Going back on that would mess with a lot of people for something that is more campaign specific fluff than anything that needs to apply to every setting because someone somewhere said so.

We can worship evil gods, for example. I would consider worshiping an evil god more evil than summoning a devil and making it do good things. You're giving an evil thing power rather than just using an evil things power (though I'm saying that part based on my forgotten realms background where worshipers gave deities power... not sure on the specifics of how worshipers work in PF). And you know... the Cheliax faction...

Heh. To say nothing of that Osirion faction trait:

Attuned to the Ancestors wrote:
You were raised to believe that undead are nothing to fear—they are simply the unliving remnants of your honored ancestors.

That's going to lead to some very confused Pathfinders.

Reminds me of the "Heathridge Manor" episode of Criminal Minds.


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Michael Brock wrote:
Belafon wrote:

As I am required by rule to do in any thread that discusses aligned spells changing a character's alignment, I will put forth the following hypothetical:

A lawful neutral cleric of Pharasma sees several undead approaching. She casts protection from evil on herself and follows it up the next round with another protection from evil on the fighter. That's two spells with the [good] descriptor, so if spells can change alignment, she's now lawful good. No more spellcasting until she finds a cleric of Pharasma to cast atonement.

If this change is made, you're not just talking about [evil] spells.

Something else already added to my discussion list. Interesting the trickle down effects that occur when a can of worms is opened.

A common, dare I say extremely prevalent, trope in fantasy is that it is easier to Fall than it is to Ascend. You need to work to become Good.

Being evil is just an orphanage away.

Dark Archive

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The truth of the matter is that a lot of people only worry for their alignment because PFS doesn't permit evil characters. That being the case, I imagine almost all casting of evil descriptor spells would cease almost immediately if the old ruling is reversed. Now, I can understand that even in character, a lot of evil spells DO cause friction. A good response to this can be found below.

To quote a friend of mine: "Look, if you're a paladin and you don't want infernal healing, don't take it, don't have it put on you."

Grand Lodge

So what spells are actually affected?

To be honest - apart of the animate dead spells I couldn't tell.

I didn't wanted to comment without a proper list - so I generated one. The first bit I noticed while doing the list - what about spells with the Death descriptor. Are they even worse than evil? I added them and think a ruling needs to contain them or has to exclude them - or we have a similar discussion in a years time.

Looking at the spells I notice I can't recall any of them being used at my table. Maybe we don't do much evil here in the UK? I had undead controlled - never created. And Control does lack Evil descriptors. Protections from Good/Dispel Good - can't remember that being used. The BBEG tends not to be Good aligned. That doesn't leave much. Damage dealing spells are all pretty high level.

Yes - I only looked through the CRB. Anyone having a list of important Evil spells in all the other books? The one spell I have seen numerous times being used at the table is Infernal Healing. And this is also the only one I used myself - on two of my 10 characters. A Cheliax Barbarian and a Tiefling.
I guess the main attraction here is a) being able to cast it as arcane healing and b) it is the cheapest healing option costing 15 gp for 10HP compared to 15 gp for 4.5HP for a CLW.

So all I can say - apart of builds making undead (or spells from later books I miss - Oracle?) I can't see that it truly affects as many builds as it seems when reading the comment section. Unless someone tells me which of the spells below is a 'can't live without it' spell and why.

CRB spells with Evil descriptor

Animate Dead
Blasphemy
Contagion
Create Greater Undead
Create Undead
Curse Water
Death Knell
Desecrate
Dispel Good
Magic Circle against Good
Nightmare
Protection from Good
Symbol of Pain
Unhallow
Unholy Aura
Unholy Blight

CRB spells with Death descriptor
Death
Circle of Death
Death Knell
Destruction
Finger of Death
Slay Living
Finger of Death
Wail of the Banshee


I just looked at http://www.pathfinder-srd.nl/wiki/Category:Spells_with_the_evil_descriptor

Interesting also is http://www.pathfinder-srd.nl/wiki/Category:Spells_with_the_good_descriptor

Why aren't there spells with a 'neutral' descriptor? :P

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Probably because any spell without an alignment tag is Neutral by default.


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Thod wrote:
So what spells are actually affected?

You've missed by far the most commonly* cast Evil spells:

Summon Monster <whatever>

When used to summon a creature with the [Evil] subtype (such as a Lemure or Dretch), Summon Monster x is an evil spell.

.

*Not counting, in PFS, Infernal Healing.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Probably because any spell without an alignment tag is Neutral by default.

So if I cast Fireball a few dozen times, my alignment should shift to Neutral?

(Which half of my alignment?)


Belafon wrote:

As I am required by rule to do in any thread that discusses aligned spells changing a character's alignment, I will put forth the following hypothetical:

A lawful neutral cleric of Pharasma sees several undead approaching. She casts protection from evil on herself and follows it up the next round with another protection from evil on the fighter. That's two spells with the [good] descriptor, so if spells can change alignment, she's now lawful good. No more spellcasting until she finds a cleric of Pharasma to cast atonement.

If this change is made, you're not just talking about [evil] spells.

Seeing how the spell basically places a force of "good" all around u, u don't think that would eventually start influencing them to do more good than evil eventually after being subjected to that over a period of time?

We do good acts over time without doing nuetral or evil acts to balance, we eventualy start becoming good. We do evil acts over time without doing nuetral or evil acts to balance, we eventually start becoming evil.

Why would there be a problem for our alignment to actually start mattering outside of paladin classes in what spells we are able to cast? Casting protection from evil comes from teh divines, but woukdnt the caster be subjected or influenced over time by the force of good that comes with casting it? Casting protection from good subjects us to a force of "evil" all around us, wouldn't they be su jected to same influences over time?

Is it really that badvto add another layer of complexity to the game by making our alignments matter in not only our choice of "actions" we take in roleplay, but also our actions in casting spells as well?
How someone who is nuetral can cast so many spells that don't have good or evil to them, but still have access to said spells but using them for so long will eventually start pushing them into another alignement that can eventually push them out of their deitys alignment to get abilities from?
It would actually make alignment more important and make ur alignment something viable


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Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Probably because any spell without an alignment tag is Neutral by default.
So if I cast Fireball a few dozen times, my alignment should shift to Neutral?

You become more [fire] actually. Which is way cooler!

Grand Lodge

I would find it extremely disappointing if my Chelish Signifer couldn't summon a Hell Hound or channel negative energy without someone trying to kick him out of Pathfinder Society. Likewise, it makes no sense that he would get in trouble for casting Magic Circle vs Evil to help his buds against the undisciplined demonic ranks.

Let's not forget the vast majority of the Chelish faction worships an evil god, and for the most part these players manage to 'get' the intricacies of RPing a morally ambiguous individual working with the good guys for a mutually beneficial greater end.

For the most part, Pathfinder mages use magic to kill the enemies. I find the 'death effect spells are evil!' idea fairly silly. I can blast down a fireball on a group of guards that lingers napalm-like fire damage on the poor bastards, or I can point my finger at them and kill them instantly. Either way you've just killed a whole tonne of people but instant death is considered a worse way to go? I would understand if this was one of the weird paladin laws, but instead this is to be applied to everyone?

Sczarni 4/5

@Thod
There isn't many spells in fact, but I believe at least that removal of evil spells kind of removes the last bit of freedom of choosing such spells. There is something in people that attracts them to create semi evil or completely neutral characters whether for good or for worse.

You did miss on including diabolical based characters. There is plenty character themes that worship Asmodeus, a mainly worshiped deity in Cheliax. There is even few devil themed traits in PFS Guide itself.

Adam

Dark Archive

I can't find where it says that spells with the evil descriptor are an evil act, and can influence your alignment.

Can someone please link me?

I'd love to read up on it- figure out how many spells it takes to actually cause a change and stuff. Maybe its not even a big deal?

5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

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The casting of spells with any alignment descriptor in PFS should not have any effect of your alignment as they are temporary effects.

For the sake of campaign playability and player cohesion we need to 'hand-wave' the alignment spell affects and supernatural powers when cast by players.

Why?

To ensure we continue playing in groups. If we took too hard of a stance then paladins and other highly moral PC's would not conceivably want to adventure with an unsavory character such as Necromancers, Sorcerers with fiendish bloodline, etc or questionable groups (cheliax, sczarni). We would have to start questioning why would anyone lawful belong to the society.

These things have to be hand-waived to allow all players a chance to play the game with the random folks who comprise the rest of the table.
RPing is fun and great to be played but some restraint is needed for PFS games.

Only the most egregious acts that occur during the playing of the game against the NPC's should be considered by the GM as alignment infractions, with the exception of the classes that may violate their ethos or divine mandate.

Sczarni 4/5

@Arden
Check this thread pages ~200-230.
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qddi&page=last?Is-Destroying-a-Fellow-Play ers-Raised
DM Beckett and Patrick gave already several direct links from designer & campaign leader comments on it.

Adam


Arden Oakwald wrote:
I can't find where it says that spells with the evil descriptor are an evil act, and can influence your alignment.

You won't find it in the core rulebook if that's what your asking.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Probably because any spell without an alignment tag is Neutral by default.
So if I cast Fireball a few dozen times, my alignment should shift to Neutral?

You eat breakfast every morning, shouldn't you be True Neutral by now?

Are there any rules for unaligned actions?

Shadow Lodge

Adam Mataja wrote:

@Arden

Check this thread pages ~200-230.
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qddi&page=last?Is-Destroying-a-Fellow-Play ers-Raised
DM Beckett and Patrick gave already several direct links from designer & campaign leader comments on it.

Adam

Couldn't get the link to work, might just be me.

TRY THIS

Dark Archive

(@Adam: I couldn't open the link. maybe my browser is just being a pain? I'll keep trying.)
EDIT: ^ Thx above
--

I guess, if the situation is that the action in itself of casting an [evil] spell is an evil act, then that's just silly, but fun.

I mean like, couldn't you just dominate someone and get them to cast a friendly, non-harmful [alignment] spell (like protection from ____ or something) and then influence their alignment?

Not sure if the reverse is true (evil spells make u evil, good spells make you good?) but if that is true, you could influence a dominated person's alignment either way if they had the spells for it.

I'm also not sure if casting [alignment] spells via a magic item such as a wand or whathaveyou influences your alignment in the same way, but it would be funny to dominate a baddy, hand them a wand of some goody spell, have them cast it until they were a good guy, and all that.

Dunno- would take a lil bit of thought, but i'm sure there could be the potential for some pretty fun stuff if spells could effect your alignment all willy nilly.

Dark Archive

The use of an evil magic item would still put your alignment at risk, yes. However, that's not the main concern here. What if use of evil spells does wind up getting the nipped in the bud? There goes what, contrary to what people have been saying, is a fair bit of utility as well. Those spells almost always have some practical application that is not in and of itself an inherently evil act, even if it's accomplished using darker energies. That being said, negative energy isn't evil anyway. It's more like a primordial force.

Not to mention that it would further limit the already ever-shortening list of viable creatures to summon, and a lot of the particularly useful ones are quite evil to boot.

Dark Archive

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I personally think people are looking way too close to the rules rather than the game it's self. I have a 12th level Necromancer in Pathfinder society who has been making use of spells with the Evil Descriptor his entire career. Never once have I had a GM even talk to me about alignment and the risk of going from Lawful Neutral to Lawful Evil.

Spells in themselves are like weapons. A sword can be used to butcher an innocent on the street or to fend off his attackers. I ask you to think for a minute. Is the sword considered good or evil just because of what it's used for? No the wielder is. Spells cannot in themselves be responsible for what they are used for. It's up to the player to cross the threshold. I myself have used Animate Dead as much as 4 times a session. This is because we had no front-line fighter to soak the damage for our group of casters. Is it evil that I took a dead body and raised it to save my friends from the claws and spells of the monsters we had to face?

Evil spells may be used for good ends. If I summon a devil to walk into a burning building to save someone I wouldn't consider that evil. It's the best creature for the job because it's immune to fire. By the same token good spells may be used for evil acts. A wizard that summons an angel and binds her so he can use her to fight the heroes is an evil act in my view. Tactically it's a smart decision because a Paladin's smite won't work and most hero's don't have the evil aligned weapons to break her DR.

I think labeling as good and evil as a whole is certainly not the way the game was meant to be played. Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos are very real things is Pathfinder but they are all choices as well. An angel may fall just as easily as a demon may find redemption in the right circumstances. It is not unknown for the living embodiment of an alignment to change it's own moral view. In that case nothing should ever be "Always Evil" or "Always Good."

In a final note if this ruling comes to pass drastic changes will have to be made in game. If casting evil spells makes your alignment change then it should be fair that all spells change your alignment no matter what they are used for. Only certain spells like Atonement which was built for dealing with alignment issues have the kind of power to change an alignment just by having it cast. Alignment should be left vague because having an alignment stat would be very pointless. Just my view on the matter.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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The Gaunt Man wrote:
Evil spells may be used for good ends

All the devils in hell would agree with you and eagerly await your arrival :-)

Shadow Lodge

I partially agree with you. On one hand, I am not a fan of moral absolutism (A is Good, no matter what, B is evil, regardless of why). But, that is how the game works. And just because something is an evil act, doesn't mean it can not also be a good act at the same exact time.

On the other, I think it would be fantastic to be able to play a Cleric that called on the honored souls of brave warriors to crawl back into their meatbags for a short time, and once again take up the sword against evil and defend those still alive from being hurt, (totally reflavored Animate Dead), returning to their heavenly reward once down with a few more holy browny points to boot.

Dark Archive

DM Beckett wrote:
On one hand, I am not a fan of moral absolutism (A is Good, no matter what, B is evil, regardless of why). But, that is how the game works. And just because something is an evil act, doesn't mean it can not also be a good act at the same exact time.

That really isn't how the game is meant to work. Black and white don't work all that well in Pathfinder Society. A good deal of what our characters get called on to do very much blurs the line between good and evil. Beyond that, some of what we do IS outright evil. There have been rulings made to help circumvent this fact insofar as alignment infractions go, one of which being the allowance of evil descriptor spells so long as not used in ways that, magic or no, would result in an alignment infraction.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Probably because any spell without an alignment tag is Neutral by default.
So if I cast Fireball a few dozen times, my alignment should shift to Neutral?

You eat breakfast every morning, shouldn't you be True Neutral by now?

Are there any rules for unaligned actions?

I know, I'm just saying: If we're meant to take Neutral seriously, it should be more than just "Neither particularly good nor particularly evil."

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
The Gaunt Man wrote:
Evil spells may be used for good ends
All the devils in hell would agree with you and eagerly await your arrival :-)

And all the angels in heaven would likewise shun you.

I think we have a pretty good (evil?) understanding of moral relativism in this thread, so how can we equate that to rules for PFS?

Dark Archive

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Nefreet wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
The Gaunt Man wrote:
Evil spells may be used for good ends
All the devils in hell would agree with you and eagerly await your arrival :-)

And all the angels in heaven would likewise shun you.

I think we have a pretty good (evil?) understanding of moral relativism in this thread, so how can we equate that to rules for PFS?

By not changing them in the least. As I said earlier, the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Good people wind up in Asmodeus' clutches all the time, do they not? Rather than wanting alignment infractions, why not simply be content in the fact that their character may pay the dearest price of all when its time finally comes? :P

There's going to be a whole lot of players with their favorite characters absolutely destroyed by a change, not to mention that the game honestly doesn't need further constraints added.

Shadow Lodge

It actually is, because you have Outsiders that are literal embodiments of an alignment. Physical Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos exist. That doesn't mean that what you said can not also be true, but certain things are always Evil. Are always Good acts by their nature. Slaying Evil, by it's very nature, is a Good act. You can however, by Evil, slay an [Evil] creature to gain more power or take it's position, and continue to be evil, never risking shifting to good. It doesn't matter, in any way, if you are from Cheliax and have a local view that slaying [Evil] is not cool. It's still a good act. It also does not matter if you where born and raised in Geb and are perfectly fine with the way things work there. It's still an Evil place. In fact, that is the entire point, going back to your blurring the lines. Creating Undead is evil, even if they use them to work the fields and produce food that other nations count on to survive. They are still LE, though.

Dark Archive

DM Beckett wrote:
It actually is, because you have Outsiders that are literal embodiments of an alignment. Physical Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos exist. That doesn't mean that what you said can not also be true, but certain things are always Evil. Are always Good acts by their nature. Slaying Evil, by it's very nature, is a Good act. You can however, by Evil, slay an [Evil] creature to gain more power or take it's position, and continue to be evil, never risking shifting to good. It doesn't matter, in any way, if you are from Cheliax and have a local view that slaying [Evil] is not cool. It's still a good act. It also does not matter if you where born and raised in Geb and are perfectly fine with the way things work there. It's still an Evil place. In fact, that is the entire point, going back to your blurring the lines. Creating Undead is evil, even if they use them to work the fields and produce food that other nations count on to survive. They are still LE, though.

I will give you that one. There are basically living embodiments of certain alignments. What I meant by blurring the lines is doing good to do evil, or doing evil to do good. You're still committing an act of good/evil, but you have an ulterior motive. Sure, it might still be evil, but it most likely isn't going to impact your alignment at all. Y'know, unless it's something really messed up. Pathfinder Society play in particular is very lenient on this point, and is to some degree built around the philosophy it seems.


Nefreet wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
The Gaunt Man wrote:
Evil spells may be used for good ends
All the devils in hell would agree with you and eagerly await your arrival :-)

And all the angels in heaven would likewise shun you.

I think we have a pretty good (evil?) understanding of moral relativism in this thread, so how can we equate that to rules for PFS?

That isn't moral relativism. It's consequentialism.

Silver Crusade

Put me in the camp of not wanting a bright line rule. Nevertheless, I've been trying to think of a bright line rule.

How about "You can cast up to 5 spells with an evil alignment descriptor per character level. Upon casting a 6th spell, your PCs alignment shifts one degree towards evil. If this shifts your alignment to evil, you can't play the PC until the PC receives an atonement spell."

I like five because it gives not quite two evil spells per scenario on the regular track, but a reasonable rule would be somewhere between 2 and 6, IMO. PC's on a slow track would get twice as many evil spells before switching alignment.

Evil aligned spells would have to be noted on the chronicles sheet. Ex. 2 evil spells cast (total 3 while the character is 4th level). Evil spells includes spells from items, and spell like abilites, like a summoner using his summon monster ability to summon an evil outsider.

I personally don't thnk you need to keep track of lawful, chaotic, or good spells. A neutral cleric of an evil deity can't cast good spells (baring items, or multiclassing). And are the number of monk/wizards spamming protection from law really that high? Also, from a role playing standpoint, what evil deity minds his neutral cleric casting protection from evil from a scroll if it serves that deity's purpose?


Michael Brock wrote:


I agree and I have tried to intentionally keep it grey so that GMs can use their best judgements and adjudicate the actions of borderline PCs. But people want to keep pushing for clear black and white rulings and I can do that also. It's much easier to live by black and white clarifications. I don't think it is what is best for the campaign, and sometimes having grey areas is healthy for organized play, but people can't leave well enough alone and keep pushing the issue and want it clearly defined as a black and white subject. So, let's explore it yet again.

**As a disclaimer, I state the above in a completely matter-of-fact tone and do not inject any emotion into it whatsoever since people always seem to read tone into my responses.**

If we need an official clarification statement without a lot of bookkeeping, I would go with something like this.

Characters may engage in acts of minor evil, such as casting spells with the evil descriptor or engaging in an act of evil for the greater good. If these characters actively desire to not become evil, it is assumed that they engage in equally good activities between scenarios to ensure that corruption does not have longstanding effects on their souls.

Granted it is more a reskinning of the current rule, but the language sounds more like what already exists in the standard PF books.


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Almost can't burn an infernal healing wand in your lifetime by those standards. If you don't keep track of good too then its not really fair either.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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No bright line.

I like the society where it is: in the gray. Good, bad, we're the guys that get the artifact. If putting a shining knight next to a morally ambiguous Lamashtu worshiper is too much for players to handle then those players are going to find something else to fight over no matter what you do.

Alignment arguments have been around for 40 years. They haven't been solved and they're never GOING to be solved. Just let the grarg continue in the background and concentrate on having fun.

Dark Archive

BigNorseWolf wrote:

No bright line.

I like the society where it is: in the gray. Good, bad, we're the guys that get the artifact. If putting a shining knight next to a morally ambiguous Lamashtu worshiper is too much for players to handle then those players are going to find something else to fight over no matter what you do.

Alignment arguments have been around for 40 years. They haven't been solved and they're never GOING to be solved. Just let the grarg continue in the background and concentrate on having fun.

.... That's a pretty good point. All these years, and the fights rage to this day. There really is no end to it. Doing away with the grey area might act like a bandaid for it in PFS, but the problems that would create far outweigh people simply arguing over matters of morality and alignment.

Shadow Lodge

The Beard wrote:
There's going to be a whole lot of players with their favorite characters absolutely destroyed by a change. . .

How so? In all honesty, it seems that one of the unwritten goals of Season 5 has been for the PFS (organization) to change it's stripes. Ditch it's reputation and kind of focus more one getting players and NPC back to a bit of basics.

You can not play evil, already. Good Divine casters can not cast these spells, period. Neutral Divine Casters and Arcane casters can. If you really want to have morality be shades of grey, then the goal would be to allow every caster to be able to, and also to enforce a shift. Not to hand wave it away. Granted, that's probably outside of the scope of PFS, but if the goal is to have moral and ethical blurs, the answer is to loosen restrictions, but increase the responsibility, not the other way around. Otherwise the only baring I can really see at all would be Good Arcane characters not being able to Summon Demons and Devils freely. :)


The Gaunt Man wrote:


Spells in themselves are like weapons.

Well, I dont really see it that way and with the ruling from Reynolds you can't really say that either. Factually in pathfinder they are now not the same because weapons dont make you evil and evil spells do.

Conceptually it makes sense that casting evil spells makes you evil. Channeling your magic (a force and function and part of your essence?) through devils blood is evil. By breaching the abyss to bring a demon to the material plane, whatever your intention, might also brings ambient evil energy to the plane, maybe on some unknown level your soul makes contact with the evil of the plane. Having good intentions doesnt make a spell less evil if there are actual forces of good and evil which spells draw on as is the case in Pathfinder world. It might count as a separate good act to save the orphanage, but casting the evil spell to achieve your goals is still itself evil. And isnt a tenant of good that the ends dont justify the means?

Anyway, I thought PFS was made to abide by the rules as they exist. Thats what I see when threads like buffing rogues come up, PFS doesnt alter the core game, it just allows or disallows. If the official ruling is now that evil spells are evil PFS policy towards them is either to allow or disallow. You can't allow them without altering the way the game functions or allowing evil characters, so evil spells should be disallowed.

Logistically that is a large undertaking, but the rule is what the rule is.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Michael Brock wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Hard to count how many licks to the center of an evil tootsie pop. Some GMs thing one infernal healing should damn your soul, others are just fine with undead walking around. Bit of a can of worms because its a wide table variance with consequences for players that could be avoided.

Wouldn't be that hard to have language in the Guide stating something like:

"Casting a spell with an alignment descriptor counts as a minor act of that alignment. A single casting is not enough to shift a PC's alignment, but usage of such spells should be noted on the player's chronicle sheet. If a long-term pattern develops, an alignment shift might eventually be warranted."

Boom. Now there's no more table variation than with any other rule.

How many times casting, sessions, or whatever constitute a "long-term pattern"?

Forty-two, obviously. ;)

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

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I don't think that spells with an evil descriptor should be pulled.

I also don't think that we should track how many "evil" spells were cast by a PC, otherwise we will need to track how many "good", "lawful" and "chaotic" spells were cast. To see if there were an imbalance. I can see this leading to a lot of metagaming - player knows that they used 4 spells with evil descriptors in the scenario (infernal healing twice, animate dead twice), so makes sure that they cast protection from evil four times before the scenario is done (say, on the way back to see the VC). I don't want any additional accounting in PFS.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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DM Beckett wrote:
Otherwise the only baring I can really see at all would be Good Arcane characters not being able to Summon Demons and Devils freely. :)

Partial list of things that would be affected

  • The entire chelaxian faction

  • Anyone that routinely animates dead

  • The entire scarzini faction

  • Anyone that routinely uses wands of infernal healing (which is a fair number of folks)

  • The entire chelaxian faction

  • Neutral clerics of evil deities (who are so close to the line that they will actually detect as evil) Including the ever popular Asmodeus.

  • The entire chelaxian faction

  • Anyone using summon monster for demons or devils: especially clerics of evil gods, since they can't summon the good monsters.

  • Anyone using the undead negative energy to heal your part trick

  • The entire chelaxian faction.

  • A few tiefling spell like abilities.

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