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


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5/5

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On 6 August 2012, Mike Brock said, "Simply casting an evil descriptor spell is not an evil act in and of itself."

An argument is being made that because the Guide 5.0 took out the language about committing evil acts for the purposes of completing faction missions, the more general clarification is being overridden.

Since this is a fairly important point, and very easily addressed by campaign staff, I have one question: Does the clarification from Aug 6 still apply, or are spells with the "evil" descriptor evil once more?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Currently, the Aug. 6 clarification still applies. However, John and I are going to discuss further when I am back in the office. I am aware of the rules team advising that any casting of an evil descriptor spell is considered an evil act.

Any change of spells with the "evil" descriptor being an evil act when cast would only be changed in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, and probably not until the beginning of a new season, though that is not set in concrete since we usually update the Guide in January or February.

What I would like is to hear a civil discussion on the topic. If it will "ruin" your character, then discuss it with civility and like an adult. I can almost guarantee any rants will be ignored.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Kyshkumen wrote:
Does casting good spells make you good? If the answer is no then why should evil spells make you evil?

What if the answer is yes?

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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^ I really like this.

If casting an Evil descriptor spell is an evil act, and would shift your alignment one step towards Evil, does casting a Lawful descriptor spell move you one step closer towards Lawful?

I think Evil gets too much of a bad wrap.

Edit: Jiggy-ninja'd.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Where was it that the Design Team posted that casting an Evil descriptor spell constitutes an Evil act?

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Nefreet wrote:
If casting an Evil descriptor spell is an evil act, and would shift your alignment one step towards Evil, does casting a Lawful descriptor spell move you one step closer towards Lawful?

I don't think anyone's suggesting that it would be a big enough evil act to shift your alignment, just that it would be an evil act. I hope you're aware that only very egregious evil acts are supposed to immediately shift your alignment, with most simply being recorded on the chronicle sheet in case a pattern develops that eventually leads to a shift.

I imagine that evil-spells-as-evil-acts would be no different.

EDIT: Also, yes, GMs should watch for lawful/chaotic/good acts as well, at least with classes that care: too much law will cost you your rage, too much chaos will require an atonement before you take more monk levels, too much good will cost the neutral cleric of Asmodeus his powers, and too much of anything will be a problem for a druid.


Jiggy wrote:
Kyshkumen wrote:
Does casting good spells make you good? If the answer is no then why should evil spells make you evil?
What if the answer is yes?

Then for every infernal healing I cast I spend the weekend casting at least one summon monster I so celestial eagles can exist for one turn to turn me good. Wand of summon monster is the new atonement! Woot!

Anyways, I'm not a fan of aligned spells turning you evil. 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.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Being an Evil act <or other alignment> does not mean you automatically shift alignment on the spot.

HERE is a civil and well rounded discussion (one of many), in my opinion. Particularly the latter pages are interesting and more on topic.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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"?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

That's a lot of text to add for absolutely no practical change to how people run alignment in PFS.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I'd also like to point out that my argument was not that the old ruling was wrong or is no longer valid, per se, but rather that it was taken a little out of context from the whole it was written about and that the rules it was also directly being written about (committing evil for a Faction Head), no longer apply, in relation to animating undead.

<my quote from there>

I'm not saying the quote has changed as much as it is being taken out outside of the context in which it was meant, and that the specific rules it was using have changed. Here are the related quotes from that page.

W. Kristoph Nolen wrote:
the more and more I look at the Changelog, the more I am concerned about how this phrase reads:
Quote:
Page 34–35: Added the following sentence under Alignment Infractions subheading: “Characters who commit potentially evil acts (casting spells with the Evil descriptor, killing or maiming someone, etc.) while following specific orders from their faction or the Pathfinder Society, do not suffer alignment infractions. These are cases where karma applies to those making the orders, not their tools.”

What counts as "following specific orders"? Certainly, if a VC gives you orders to kill someone, or bring back their ear, that's a specific order. But, what about willfully casting [Evil] spells that haven't any other redeeming quality other than completing the scenario? Can a player now say "I'm working for the Pathfinder Society, so I don't have to worry about casting [Evil] spells affecting my alignment"? Can a wizard now cast Summon Monster to summon demons and devils just because they're on a mission? Or does the "following specific orders" mean that it has to be something that a VC or whomever told them to do specifically?

I mean, I'm concerned that this is going to be taken that players can cast [Evil] spells without regard to their alignment. It's already been stated that Infernal Healing is fair game ... does that mean that any [Evil] spell can be cast unless it's being used for toture, killing innocents, etc.
i'm not trying to be pedantic, but, I am really concerned about the possibilities that can be played into this reading of the new PFS Guide.
Michael Brock wrote:
Faction missions are very specific as to what has to be accomplished. Anything that steps outside those bounds are not acceptable when discussing alignment infractions. I'm trusting the GMs (as Ive been asked on numerous occassions) to adjudicate accordingly.
Stormfriend wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Faction missions are very specific as to what has to be accomplished. Anything that steps outside those bounds are not acceptable when discussing alignment infractions. I'm trusting the GMs (as Ive been asked on numerous occassions) to adjudicate accordingly.

We've had GMs on these boards stating that the casting of [Evil] spells will change a character's alignment for no reason other than they cast the spell. Relying on GM discretion doesn't work with several thousand GMs, especially when a character might get removed from play at one table for something that won't even raise an eyebrow at the table next to it. We *really* need an official answer as to whether casting an evil spell has any impact on alignment.

Michael Brock wrote:

Casting an evil spell is not an alignment infraction in and of itself, as long as it doesn't violate any codes, tenents of faith, or other such issues.

Committing an evil act outside of casting the spell, such as using an evil spell to torture an innocent NPC for information or the like is an alignment infraction. Using infernal healing to heal party members is not an evil act.

I can't possibly define what every evil act could be. That is why I rely on GM discretion. But simply casting an evil descriptor spell is not an evil act in and of itself.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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"?

It might be better to look at it, not over the long term play, but rather within a short term? A character that casts the majority of their spells with the Evil descriptor, or uses them a for less than moral reasons, (though not to burn down an orphanage level), or creates more than one undead in a single scenario's play could receive one notation on the Chronicle Sheet. If they get, say 3 of these, then said character should have their alignment shifted. This could also apply to non-good characters that use a lot of holy of Good descriptor magic?

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Because of the nature of PFS where the GM has less of a control over the ongoing campaign than they would in a more home-style campaign, I think the "evil spells are evil" needs to be hand-waived. We already allow divine characters to be neutral and worship evil deities. I think we need to be careful to allow the widest possible options for players to have their fun.

Despite what the designers have said about evil spell descriptions, IMO in most cases it is HOW a spell is used rather than the spell itself that should determine the impact on alignment. IMO, an evil spell is a tool like a greatsword, or a whip, or the intimidate skill, or a fireball. If used benignly, there should be no problem. If however, the spell is being used maliciously to inflict undue harm (outside of "normal" combat) or torture, etc. then the effects become more clear.

Also, if evil spells are evil, what about negative energy? Shouldn't the use of that also be evil?

Now individual characters can still view certain spells as evil, but that's in the game. Clerics of Pharasma may never except animate dead as anything but evil (ymmv), but other less anti-undead characters may not object. In the world of adventuring, sometimes its okay to break some eggs to make the omelette. :-)

Aside from all of this, I think it is a bit too late to start enforcing a hard-core line on evil descriptor spells. There are literally thousands of players that use the spells regularly and at least hundreds that have characters specifically devoted to their use as a central mechanic of the build. Generally speaking, players are respectful while playing their characters with "questionable" morals and as we know, you can't use the rules to stop the "jerks." That's a player issue, not a campaign or rules/mechanics issue.

EDIT--not to mention any system of tracking good/evil/lawful/chaotic spell use creates even more things for an already very busy GM to adjudicate. I would guess that even if there was a rule in place defining how to track, when to track, and how many occurrences constitute an alignment shift, most GMs will not do it anyway. my 2cp


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"?

Mmm since u would say its a minor act, u could fome up with a soft cap before it switches to another alignment. How many minors make a major? Maybe 5? U could have it where its listed at what level and how many times that level it was cast and u could basically have numbers drop off after maybe 2 or 3 levels on non evil casting.

That way casters can still cast evil spells and not worry about dropping alignment while giving the impression that "good" casters should use these types for last resort and so its not cast ALL the time or very frequent.
Though it will add more paperwork but if its kept at a soft cap of maybe 5 times thruout any current levels and have numbers dropp off after maybe a level or 2 of not using said spells.

Ex. Lvl 1 casts 4 evil spells thruout their whole level 1 of playing. They are still good hut are about to drop. At level 2, player doesn't cast any evil spells. Then at level 3 their number resets to 0.
Lvl 1 casts 2 evil spells thruout the whole level 1 of playing. Lvl 2 casts 2 evil spells thruout of playing. Doesnt cast any evil spells at lvl 3. At lvl 4 their number is reset from 4 to 2.

If ur going to do so, keep it a low soft cap with a bit of room to be used as a last resort for "good" characters.
Granted it should be apllied to good spells as well. Evil seems a bit easy to track of, whereas good can be easily tracked as well but seems to have heavy consequences. That could be good though because it will strengthen the alignment scenario in that nuetral or evil wouldn't be casting "good" spells as much. It can still be used by them but as a last resort type thing, not something for them to rely on all the time. Can be a good way to enforce playing ur alignment and make characters pay closer attention and actually caring about their alignment outside of being paladins and whatnot.

5/5

Michael Brock wrote:

Currently, the Aug. 6 clarification still applies. However, John and I are going to discuss further when I am back in the office. I am aware of the rules team advising that any casting of an evil descriptor spell is considered an evil act.

Any change of spells with the "evil" descriptor being an evil act when cast would only be changed in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, and probably not until the beginning of a new season, though that is not set in concrete since we usually update the Guide in January or February.

Thanks!


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"?

Hmm... 2? He did it after I told him to quit.

More seriously, its a variable and you can't really measure every spell in the book or every consequence and use. Worse, it can lead to something truly dreaded... Accounting!

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

MrSin 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"?

Hmm... 2? He did it after I told him to quit.

More seriously, its a variable and you can't really measure every spell in the book or every consequence and use. Worse, it can lead to something truly dreaded... Accounting!

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.**

Dark Archive 2/5

I've seen (and used) spells of the evil descriptor for the kinds of things one would expect a good aligned character to do, despite my character having been neutral to facilitate the use of such spells. That being said, there are some character concepts (such as the diabolist) that would, in fact, be quite well up the creek without a paddle if spells of the evil descriptor began causing alignment shifts again. Now I won't say there is a tremendous percentage of necromancers and/or diabolists in PFS, but I will say that I have seen a lot of characters casting a lot of spells with the evil descriptor, so much so that I might say they rely upon them.

Sovereign Court 1/5

I know in our region, the VC has stated that evil spells are not permitted. I wanted to build a Necromancy Wizard (anti Conjuration/Evocation), and the ability to create undead aside there are quite a few different spells that can be used for damage or utility that have the [Evil] descriptor.

I could change my anti Evocation for something like Divination or Illusion, but that would actually destroy not only the conceptual backstory that I was imagining, but also certain utility that I had been planning on relying upon from those schools.

I know that most people wouldn't want to give up Conjuration and Evocation, which some would say are the most powerful damage dealing schools, but I don't enjoy playing so-called "cookie-cutter" builds. I thought the Necromancer who couldn't cast Magic Missile, Fireball, or Summon Monster would be an unique and flavorful addition to a party.

And as long as I'm (ex.) using negative energy to command one of the undead attacking us to destroy another, then allowing the group to finish them off, I don't believe that that is the same as (ex.) using negative energy to eviscerate an NPC who I'm irritated with. The means, while important, is not the end. They may share importance, but they're not equivalent to one another.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Well if evil and its associated game mechanics are such an ongoing issue that action needs to be taken, then the 'ol "sh*t or get off the pot" perspective may be required. Just ban evil in its entirety. That means no evil alignments, no worshiping evil aligned deities, no use of spells with the evil spell descriptor, ban negative channeling, and maybe even ban the use of blackmarket goods like poison, barbarian chew, etc.

I'm NOT a supporter of that position, but if a majority of players are demanding more rules to govern the minutia of alignment, then ya gotta do what ya gotta do. IMO, more stringent rules governing an aspect of the game that even the industry's most intelligent and accomplished designers cannot agree on is not in the campaign's best interest.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Anafa wrote:
I know in our region, the VC has stated that evil spells are not permitted

I encourage you to send an email to Mike Brock so he can follow up with this claim. There are no rules banning the use of spells with the evil descriptor and to do so could be a violation of the rules.

Please, let's not start using innuendo to attack any local organizers or GMs. If you have an issue with any of your local membership, take it off the forums and work with Mike directly. Thanks

Dark Archive 2/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:

Well if evil and its associated game mechanics are such an ongoing issue that action needs to be taken, then the 'ol "sh*t or get off the pot" perspective may be required. Just ban evil in its entirety. That means no evil alignments, no worshiping evil aligned deities, no use of spells with the evil spell descriptor, ban negative channeling, and maybe even ban the use of blackmarket goods like poison, barbarian chew, etc.

I'm NOT a supporter of that position, but if a majority of players are demanding more rules to govern the minutia of alignment, then ya gotta do what ya gotta do. IMO, more stringent rules governing an aspect of the game that even the industry's most intelligent and accomplished designers cannot agree on is not in the campaign's best interest.

You know the sad thing? I'm so tired of that anti-necromancy argument, as an example, that I almost wish they would get rid of being able to use a lot (or all) of the evil aligned spells just to put it to rest. Obviously I am pro-evil spell usage, and even pro-necromancy builds. However, I can only assume it is disruptive in some areas considering the amount of rage it appears to induce on these forums. I can say that the people I play with are in no way, shape or form bothered by the use of evil descriptor spells, but that open mindedness doesn't appear to be shared by all. It would be nice if it was, but it is not.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Anafa wrote:
I know in our region, the VC has stated that evil spells are not permitted

I encourage you to send an email to Mike Brock so he can follow up with this claim. There are no rules banning the use of spells with the evil descriptor and to do so could be a violation of the rules.

Please, let's not start using innuendo to attack any local organizers or GMs. If you have an issue with any of your local membership, take it off the forums and work with Mike directly. Thanks

^^This please^^

5/5

Mike Brock wrote:
What I would like is to hear a civil discussion on the topic. If it will "ruin" your character, then discuss it with civility and like an adult. I can almost guarantee any rants will be ignored.

It is my belief that this should not be changed.

This would present a problem for anyone who wants to use Animate Dead. (I think that's a bad thing; YMMV.) It will lead--I'm not saying it should lead, I'm saying it will lead--to debates about the morality of the Oracle of Bones' ability to summon and control undead that don't require dead bodies right in front of them. Either way, this will effectively constitute a campaign decision to choose a side in the "Paladin vs Necromancer" debate, which you have studiously avoided doing to date.

Daemon-Spawn Tiefling get Death Knell as an SLA once a day. Using it once a day definitely constitutes "a pattern," so either they would have to be banned, or they would have to get a different SLA. If they're banned, we'll be rebuilding from scratch (because that affects everything from my abilities on up), which is something I know you like to avoid. If you change their SLA without allowing a rebuild, that will be pretty rough, but I know I personally will survive, as long as they get something good in exchange. However, people will lose their minds, and it will be a big hassle for you. (Also, I'm given to understand that one of the reason PFS tries not to fiddle with stuff like that is because it's a pain for everyone to keep track of which tidbits aren't RAW; this is one that could cause endless confusion.)

Infernal Healing is the go-to healing spell for almost every arcane caster in PFS. (It's also useful for anyone who has positive energy issues, come to think of it.) I have many wands of it on many different characters, and go through a lot of charges. That constitutes "a pattern"--could I swap the wand for a CLW wand with the same charges remaining? What if that leaves me up a creek because I can't use it anymore, and I never put points in UMD because I didn't need them? Do I get to sell it back, since if it's going to have to be handed off to another caster, it might as well be something else? Again, hassle, drama, etc.

Finally, Protection from Good and Circle of Protection from Good both have the evil descriptor. Neutral characters should have no more trouble casting those than they should Protection from Evil. But we can declare that GMs should watch for both Good and Evil actions until we're blue in the face, it doesn't change the fact that they mostly don't, and almost certainly won't.

As for the design team clarification, I don't know what to say to that, because I don't understand why they're doing it. I'm going to ignore it in my home game, because I enjoy moral flexibility. But my preference is already established. As is the preference of every GM out there--morality is, and always has been, subject to the whims of the GM. Establishing mechanics for alignment isn't going to do ... anything, I suspect.


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Nefreet wrote:
Where was it that the Design Team posted that casting an Evil descriptor spell constitutes an Evil act?

Here, before the PDT user was made.

If the spell's descriptor, the thing that describes it, is evil, then it's evil. It uses evilness, which is a real, tangible thing in this world.


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).

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Bob Jonquet wrote:

Well if evil and its associated game mechanics are such an ongoing issue that action needs to be taken, then the 'ol "sh*t or get off the pot" perspective may be required. Just ban evil in its entirety. That means no evil alignments, no worshiping evil aligned deities, no use of spells with the evil spell descriptor, ban negative channeling, and maybe even ban the use of blackmarket goods like poison, barbarian chew, etc.

I'm NOT a supporter of that position, but if a majority of players are demanding more rules to govern the minutia of alignment, then ya gotta do what ya gotta do. IMO, more stringent rules governing an aspect of the game that even the industry's most intelligent and accomplished designers cannot agree on is not in the campaign's best interest.

Let's not forget to include dhampir racial class option in the list. They are, after all, a creature affiliated with negative energy.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Please do not ban the necromancers.

While I do not play necromancers, I love playing with them. When everyone is the same nothing happens, there's no quandary, and there's nothing to discuss. I love the concordant opposition of people that don't necessarily agree with each other working against someone they hate just a little less than each other.

The way I've always justified the "its evil but its not evil in PFS" is to treat casting [evil] spells like [evil] arsenic exposure: its just a little bit evil. Over the course of a regular campaign channeling that much corruption through your body MIGHT be enough to turn you evil, or tip you over the edge but only if you did it habitually over a long period of time. Since PFS has no mechanism for tracking any long term effects to your soul from one game session to the next the very minor evil act is simply hand-waved as non-existant.

Dark Archive 2/5

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One concern I would have over having the spells actually count as evil again actually is in the necromancy department. The various undead spawning spells get veeeerrrryyy expensive, and some people have chosen to go down that path. They've built their entire characters around mitigating the price to the best of their abilities. No longer being able to cast such a spell, or any spell with an evil descriptor for that matter, could legitimately invalidate quite a lot of people's preexisting characters.

5/5

The Beard wrote:
One concern I would have over having the spells actually count as evil again actually is in the necromancy department. The various undead spawning spells get veeeerrrryyy expensive, and some people have chosen to go down that path. They've built their entire characters around mitigating the price to the best of their abilities. No longer being able to cast such a spell, or any spell wit an evil descriptor for that matter, could legitimately invalidate quite a lot of people's preexisting characters.

This is a very good point. If I built a character around a spell option that suddenly becomes an inherently evil act, how much of my character do I get to rebuild? All of it, because the whole build is screwed? Or none of it, because it's just a spell, meaning I retire the character and throw away all the credit that was on it?

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

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.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
The Beard wrote:
One concern I would have over having the spells actually count as evil again actually is in the necromancy department. The various undead spawning spells get veeeerrrryyy expensive, and some people have chosen to go down that path. They've built their entire characters around mitigating the price to the best of their abilities. No longer being able to cast such a spell, or any spell wit an evil descriptor for that matter, could legitimately invalidate quite a lot of people's preexisting characters.
This is a very good point. If I built a character around a spell option that suddenly becomes an inherently evil act, how much of my character do I get to rebuild? All of it, because the whole build is screwed? Or none of it, because it's just a spell, meaning I retire the character and throw away all the credit that was on it?

Yep, already something on my list of notes for John and I to discuss.


I play a necromancer who is not evil- more a scientist-type. He does not exhume graves, but does control encountered undead and will one day animate fallen foes to the betterment of the party. How would one regulate Evil pings to his alignment for casting these spells versus Good pings for saving the orphans, sparing lives, killing the BBEG with his zombies, etc., etc.

Also, think of the narrow path Chelaxians will have to walk if this ruling is made- the fact that they can DO evil without BEING evil is the only thing saving them from sharing the hotseat with necromancers in the numerous threads it's been brought up in.

In summation, I feel that this ruling would eliminate "dark dabbler" character concepts altogether and alienate many players like myself.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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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.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

quoting myself from the other thread:

DM Beckett wrote:
Something I also want to point out is that being a Necromancer is not the same as creating Undead. A Cleric or Wizard Necromancer is someone that focuses in utilizing the School of necromancy, not necessarily someone that raises Undead. Nor does it mean that a non-Necromancer can not also raise undead. And actually someone that cast Speak With Dead is more of a necromancer than someone that raises the dead to unlife. Using Necromancy usually is not Evil. Creating undead universally is, and is also why every case of creating non-Evil Undead has been removed.

In relation to Death Knell, it is one of the few Necromancy spells that is specifically called out a evil. In 3E Deathwatch was also, because it specified using dark energy and flavor, but PF changed that, (and Negative Energy is specifically not evil). No one is arguing that using the school of Necromancy should be banned, or that those truly morally iffy things should be cut. Only those things that are actually Evil. 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.

2/5

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I am so tired of the argument that only casting evil spells or doing evil actions changes your alignment. I have gotten flack for my neutral Tiefling Oracle and witch using Infernal healing.

Literally I've been told that one evil spell taints your soul but saving tons of lives, like pathfinders tend to do, doesn't make you good. My only defense has been to say that this was ruled to be OK by Mike brook, at which point they tend to get huffy but eventually drop it.

Honestly I am extremely tired of feeling like actively neutral, mixed motives, and morally flawed characters aren't welcome.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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I haven't put any credit towards my Dhampir Cruoromancer yet, but I've set aside 3 or 4 other boons I've been saving just for him when I do commit him to paper.

I'd be super sad if he became illegal =(.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Furious Kender wrote:
Literally I've been told that one evil spell taints your soul but saving tons of lives, like pathfinders tend to do, doesn't make you good

IMO, this stems from a real-life application of morals/alignments to the game. You can spend your whole life doing works of good, but if you commit one act of evil, you are damned. Being good is perceived as a life-long struggle, while evil is an immediate reward. You can tell the truth your whole life, but get caught in one lie and you are branded a liar. That may not be "right" but it seems to be how people think. And that is being projected into a fantasy game where the borders between good/evil, law/chaos are even more muddled. It is why trying to make alignment into a balance weighing one action vs. another is a fallacy. It just doesn't work because most players do not place the same weight to the same action.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Furious Kender wrote:


Honestly I am extremely tired of feeling like actively neutral, mixed motives, and morally flawed characters aren't welcome.

Well people don't like goody two shoos messing up their mission, costing them prestige points over moral clauses, or wasting actions stabilizing the bad guys either...

So I think the problem that a lot of people have is that other people aren't them.


Furious Kender wrote:
Literally I've been told that one evil spell taints your soul but saving tons of lives, like pathfinders tend to do, doesn't make you good.

I believe we call that a confirmation bias. What really hurts is if someone gets it in their head that you are evil, then your doomed from the start and always on the edge.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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.

2/5

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I would rather have a legal style system that says to be a pathfinder agent, you cannot murder, sabotage pathfinder missions, or intentionally incite the public against the Pathfinder society. Then we can do away with the alignment requirement all together.

Dark Archive 2/5

One old proverb does come to mind to describe the topic of this thread: "The path to hell is paved with good intentions." Honestly, from a purely mechanical standpoint, the use of those spells (even to do good) probably should slowly turn someone evil. That being said, Pathfinder Society is appealing to the masses largely due to how open it is to such a wide array of things. Sure, there are some alignment restrictions, but that's there for good reason. It would be hard to explore and cooperate while that antipaladin in the corner makes a contract with a nightmare, knowing full well it will kill the rest of the party for looking at it wrong.

Anyway, back on topic now. The removal of evil descriptor spells as a option will be adding additional constraints that quite frankly, we probably don't need to have. It will also make the diabolist prestige class (and presumably at least a couple others) completely inaccessible unless you start out lawful good or something.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

The Beard wrote:
diabolist...lawful good

my head just exploded :-D


The Beard wrote:
Honestly, from a purely mechanical standpoint, the use of those spells (even to do good) probably should slowly turn someone evil.

From a purely mechanical it shouldn't. Can't use non mechanical arguments to make mechanical claims. Evil is just a label really, remove it from infernal healing and you've got a really benevolent looking spell for instance.

Dark Archive 2/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
The Beard wrote:
diabolist...lawful good
my head just exploded :-D

I know, right? It was merely a little observation on how to use the necessary spell without winding up being actually evil in the event of a rules change.

And for you MrSin: 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.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

That may be true, but we're not just talking pure mechanics. Most evil spells are labeled as such because of the source of the affects. If, thematically, the healing provided by infernal healing comes from an infernal source, then it is evil. We have mitigated that by deciding to allow it in PFS regardless of the normal rules.

I don't think it helps the discussion to use PFS exceptions to the normal PFRPG rules as a support for how things are supposed to be

Dark Archive

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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.

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