Magic And Alignments


Rules Questions

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I Have a Question, Does The Spells you cast defines your alignment?.

F/E: A wizard cast Ray Of Enfeeblement. The Wizard Necessarily becomes Evil, because it's a Necromancy spell?.

Another Example:

A Paladin cast on himself Bed Of Iron, Does he loss all his Paladin powers because it's a Necromancy Spell?.

I've been arguing about it for a couple of days with a friend because of that, i really appreciate the help.

Thank You.

Vildrean The Bard.


Neither ray of enfeeblement nor bed of iron have the (evil) descriptor, so neither of them would alter your alignment in any way.

Note also that casting an (evil) alignment spell doesn't automatically change your alignment in the first place, unless your GM decides that's how the rules function in his/her game.


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In the Pathfinder system, Necromancy is not inherently evil. As Are said, only spells with (evil) in the descriptor are. Create Undead is an evil necromancy spell, Command Undead is not.


Are wrote:

Neither ray of enfeeblement nor bed of iron have the (evil) descriptor, so neither of them would alter your alignment in any way.

Note also that casting an (evil) alignment spell doesn't automatically change your alignment in the first place, unless your GM decides that's how the rules function in his/her game.

And if your GM does, just cast Protection from Evil until you're good again. Or Protection from Law, until your Chaotic enough. Or really just play hopscotch with the whole damn system (Hey it works in Devil Summoner!) until your GM sees how silly it is and lets you animate dead for a good reasons without being a pain about it.


Well casting an evil spell is a decidedly evil act which a GM can use to change your alignment. Casting protection from evil with the intent of changing your alignment is not a good action so you'd stay evil.

There are necromancers who choose not to create undead so there is the option to be a good necromancer if you need proof necromancy is not inherently evil in this setting. See also the necromancy arcane school for the wizard. There is a life subschool.

Another note: clerics are physically incapable of casting spells that are diametrically opposed to their alignment. "A cleric can't cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity's (if she has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful descriptors in their spell descriptions." I would *very* surprised if there were any evil or chaotic spells on the Paladin list.

Inquisitors could be ruled that they could cast an opposed spell. I would use this line as my justification: " Although not as tied to the tenets of the deity as a cleric, an inquisitor must still hold such guidelines in high regard, despite that fact she can go against them if it serves the greater good of the faith." If you really have to cast an evil spell to further the greater good (the greater good. Shut it!) of the faith then your deity, your church, and your GM should give you some wiggle room.

Oracles aren't necessarily tied to a god so I'd lump them with the arcane casters for this debate. For them, I'd play it on a case-by-case basis. Did you cast Interrogation (an explicitly evil spell) to learn something that you could have learned in a better way? Or did you cast it when there was no other option and lives were at stake? Sometimes heroes have to get their hands dirty to save the day. Paladins may be inflexible about these kinds of things but other classes can suffer one evil action with an alignment shift. If the character goes off the deep end or finds themselves "having" to do evil hings more and more, then an alignment shift should occur.


Under your logic if casting Protection from Evil with the intent of changing your alignment is not a good action, then casting Animate Dead with the intent of changing your alignment is not a evil action (Logic. Coming to a post near you!). Either way, you can play hopscotch with alignment until your GM decides to just let cast evil spells with good intent and not mess with your alignment.


Anzyr wrote:
Under your logic if casting Protection from Evil with the intent of changing your alignment is not a good action, then casting Animate Dead with the intent of changing your alignment is not a evil action (Logic. Coming to a post near you!). Either way, you can play hopscotch with alignment until your GM decides to just let cast evil spells with good intent and not mess with your alignment.

That's not my logic at all. Casting protection from evil with the intent to change your alignment is a selfish action and you're not seeking to really be good or atone for past actions. It's a cynical attempt to be seen as good and the gods and goddesses that grant divine spells will no better (as will the GM.) Casting Animate Dead is still mocking and perverting the cycle of life and death and is thus evil. If you intend to do it just to become evil then you might skip neutral in the alignment shift and go straight down to evil (assuming you're starting at good.) Remember rule zero here. The GM can see what you're doing. If your evil character says "I cast protection from energy until the paladin reads me as good and thus cannot smite me," the GM will laugh in your face and say you're still evil. You want an in-universe reason? The god(dess) you worship who gave you the spell or gave the cleric who made the scroll you're casting from the spell sees what you're doing and prevents it from working. You're still evil and you have no protection from evil.

Really at this point you'd be trolling the GM by trying to cheat the alignment system. The only reason to do so is to cheat at the game like being able to have an army of undead without being smashed by the paladin or cast Vision of Hell without losing your cleric powers. Alignment is a guideline not a straitjacket. If you have a real, in-character reason for doing this evil act, then the GM will generally work with you. If you just want to powerbuild your character then expect to be rule zero'd.


Quote:


I Have a Question, Does The Spells you cast defines your alignment?.

if (you are the GM) you decide;

else ask your GM;


Larkos, you're missing the point of the argument.

If you say that casting a [good] spell with intent to change your alignment makes it selfish, and thus not really good, then casting an [evil] spell for some reason other than malice is selfless, and thus not really evil.

If "casting a spell with the [evil] descriptor is always an evil act", then "casting a spell with the [good] descriptor is always a good act". They don't use different rules.

In short: Your analysis of why casting protection from evil until it turns you good is excellent. It also applies to why casting protection from good won't turn you evil. If you want to argue that animating the dead turns you evil, you need to do it based on something other than the descriptors in the spell.


It's not about whether the GM can see what you are doing. It's about applying a consistent logic. If merely casting animate dead makes you evil, then merely casting Protection from Evil makes you good. If casting Protection from Evil with the intent of changing your alignment is not a good action, then neither is casting Animate Dead with the intent of changing your alignment. This is extremely straightforward. And if the GM is going to be a jerk and not operate logically, they can always be replaced.


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Larkos wrote:


Really at this point you'd be trolling the GM by trying to cheat the alignment system

Or, demonstrating just why alignment is a totally stupid thing.


But then by the same token even if you only cast Protection from Evil to change your alignment you are still doing Good (and hey Protection from Evil is more then it's spell descriptor, you are actively inhibiting Evil an all around good act). So no your argument is not consistent or logical.


You keep including the spell descriptors selectively. That's unpersuasive. If your argument is that the actual act is what matters, you don't need the spell descriptors.

Furthermore, changing an evil thing to a good thing is clearly a Good Act, and ought to count as intent to perform a good act.


"Furthermore, changing an evil thing to a good thing is clearly a Good Act, and ought to count as intent to perform a good act."

Are you referring to Animate Dead? That turns something lifeless and therefore without alignment into something inherently evil.

The Spell descriptors are there as guidance. It tells you that casting is bad thing. It's up to the GM to decided if what you do with the spell outweighs it's evil nature. An inherent evil monster like a Red Dragon or an Orc can do a good thing after all. The descriptors are also there for gameplay reasons as well. If you have an ability that gives you +4 against evil spells, you now know what spell is evil and which aren't.

"But then by the same token even if you only cast Protection from Evil to change your alignment you are still doing Good (and hey Protection from Evil is more then it's spell descriptor, you are actively inhibiting Evil an all around good act). So no your argument is not consistent or logical."

I said multiple times that casting protection from evil to change your alignment is not a good thing. It is neutral at best. I don't think I can be any clearer. I examined specific cases to show how casting it can be self-serving and not for the greater good. If it were a filed used to protect others and yourself, that would be a different argument.

If you two want an example of a good spell not being used for good, how about Spear of Purity. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/spear-of-purity. If you hurl it at a demon, it's usually a good thing. If you do it when the demon was about to save your comrade, even it was for its own selfish reasons? That's bad. Using it to kill a villain that already surrendered to you and could be safely transported to prison? Also bad. Using it to kill a peasant (default alignment TN)? Very bad.

tl;dr version. Casting spells with spell descriptors of good or evil do not inherently change your alignment. The effects of these spells can. Descriptors, like alignments themselves, are guidelines, not straitjackets.


Larkos wrote:

"Furthermore, changing an evil thing to a good thing is clearly a Good Act, and ought to count as intent to perform a good act."

Are you referring to Animate Dead? That turns something lifeless and therefore without alignment into something inherently evil.

The Spell descriptors are there as guidance. It tells you that casting is bad thing. It's up to the GM to decided if what you do with the spell outweighs it's evil nature. An inherent evil monster like a Red Dragon or an Orc can do a good thing after all. The descriptors are also there for gameplay reasons as well. If you have an ability that gives you +4 against evil spells, you now know what spell is evil and which aren't.

"But then by the same token even if you only cast Protection from Evil to change your alignment you are still doing Good (and hey Protection from Evil is more then it's spell descriptor, you are actively inhibiting Evil an all around good act). So no your argument is not consistent or logical."

I said multiple times that casting protection from evil to change your alignment is not a good thing. It is neutral at best. I don't think I can be any clearer. I examined specific cases to show how casting it can be self-serving and not for the greater good. If it were a filed used to protect others and yourself, that would be a different argument.

If you two want an example of a good spell not being used for good, how about Spear of Purity. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/spear-of-purity. If you hurl it at a demon, it's usually a good thing. If you do it when the demon was about to save your comrade, even it was for its own selfish reasons? That's bad. Using it to kill a villain that already surrendered to you and could be safely transported to prison? Also bad. Using it to kill a peasant (default alignment TN)? Very bad.

tl;dr version. Casting spells with spell descriptors of good or evil do not inherently change your alignment. The effects of these spells can. Descriptors, like alignments...

So you're saying that casting Animate Dead won't necessarily change your alignment.


No I'm not. I saying that Animate Dead is probably a bad example for your argument because that is inherently evil. I gave better example of an evil spell that might be able to achieve a good end before.

"Did you cast Interrogation (an explicitly evil spell) to learn something that you could have learned in a better way? Or did you cast it when there was no other option and lives were at stake? Sometimes heroes have to get their hands dirty to save the day. Paladins may be inflexible about these kinds of things but other classes can suffer one evil action with an alignment shift. If the character goes off the deep end or finds themselves "having" to do evil hings more and more, then an alignment shift should occur."


I think you might want to go rethink your entire argument Larkos. Casting Animate Dead isn't "inherently" any more evil then casting Protection from Evil is "inherently" good. In fact, the only thing that makes Animate Dead evil at all is the [evil] tag, that's it. Your claim that there is some other evil involved is to put it bluntly, outright wrong. Similarly, the only reason Protection from Evil is a good action is because of it's [good] tag, there isn't any other "good" involved. Your argument that these differ in some way is not very logical, which is why it is being rejected. If you composed a more logical argument it would be more readily accepted.


Anzyr wrote:
I think you might want to go rethink your entire argument Larkos. Casting Animate Dead isn't "inherently" any more evil then casting Protection from Evil is "inherently" good. In fact, the only thing that makes Animate Dead evil at all is the [evil] tag, that's it. Your claim that there is some other evil involved is to put it bluntly, outright wrong. Similarly, the only reason Protection from Evil is a good action is because of it's [good] tag, there isn't any other "good" involved. Your argument that these differ in some way is not very logical, which is why it is being rejected. If you composed a more logical argument it would be more readily accepted.

QFT

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Removed a post. Please do not use the word "rape" in that fashion.


I was not talking about animate dead. Look, if you say that casting an "evil spell" makes you evil, then casting a "good spell" should make you good. But wait, you say, you have no good intent!

But you do, because converting a character from an evil alignment to a good one would be a good act in and of itself. So if you do something with intent that it should change your alignment from evil to good, then yes, that is by definition a good act.

And I think you're missing a key point about the reason the descriptors are there. They are not there to tell you that it's a good thing or a bad thing. They are there for game mechanics, because they tell you which spells detect a given way.

Look at what holy word does to neutral characters. Now, consider whether babies are usually aligned. Hint: They're not.

So, cast holy word in a nursery full of neutral babies. What happens? They all die. But the action will still detect strongly as "good", because the spell has the [good] descriptor.

Alignment is not quite the same thing as morality.

If you want to argue that casting animate dead ought to change someone's alignment towards evil, you need to argue in terms of what the spell does, not use the descriptor. The descriptor only tells you about the game mechanics. It's not about the alignment of the caster.


True casting an animate dead spell is not an inherently evil act, but creating an undead is. If you cast the spell and did not for some reason create an undead your alignment would not change. Casting the spell is not what changes your alignment, what changes it is what you do with the spell.

Also keep in mind that the clerics are the only class that is restricted in being able to cast spells of opposing alignments. The wording on druids is a little unclear, and paladins do not have any evil or chaotic spells on their lists. All other classes have absolutely no restrictions on casting spells of an opposing alignment. A lawful good inquisitor for example can cast protection from good, which is normally an evil spell.

Magic like any tool can be used for both good and evil. The alignment description on spells only really matter to clerics as they cannot cast a spell opposed to either their own, or their deity’s alignment. So if you are a lawful neutral cleric of a lawful good deity you cannot cast any chaotic or evil spells. If your deity was lawful neutral then you would only be restricted from casting chaotic spells, and could freely cast evil spells. Casting the evil spell would have absolutely no effect on your alignment unless it was used to perform an evil act. Casting protection from evil to keep a demon from touching you would not turn you good, it would simply protect you from the demon.


Want to point out where creating an undead is an inherently evil act (besides the fact that casting animate dead is evil)? Because that's not why casting Animate Dead is evil. Casting animate dead is evil because the spell has the evil descriptor. The same is true of Protection from Evil. Using Protection against Evil to prevent Evil from harming people is not an inherently good act. Casting Protection from Evil is a good act because the spell has the good descriptor. Remember if you cast Holy Word and wipe out a village of non-good people, you've committed a good action. And this is why alignment is incredible lulzy.


There have been multiple threads on this topic. James Jacob was the developer who stated the creation of undead is an evil act. He is also the one who stated that casting an evil spell is not an evil act.

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A cleric can't cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity's (if she has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful descriptors in their spell descriptions. Nowhere in the rules does it say casting a spell with an alignment descriptor is an act of that alignment.


"Characters using spells with the evil descriptor should consider themselves to be committing minor acts of evil."

So wiping out a village of non-good individuals is a minor act of good. Once again, the alignment system being lulzy.

Would you care to try again?


Anzyr wrote:

So wiping out a village of non-good individuals is a minor act of good. Once again, the alignment system being lulzy.

Casting the spell may be a minor act of good. Wiping out the village (regardless of method) is a major act of evil. The first doesn't, in any way, cancel out the second.


That's the effect of the spell that counts as minor good. If what you are saying is true then the spell can't be good in the first place, since it's discriminatory by its very nature.


Anzyr wrote:
That's the effect of the spell that counts as minor good. If what you are saying is true then the spell can't be good in the first place, since it's discriminatory by its very nature.

And if you use that effect against your enemies in combat, rather than against (presumed) innocents in a village, then the results would probably also be a good act. You're somehow trying to claim that the results of the caster's actions are tied completely to the spell's alignment, which simply isn't the case.


Whether is a spell is an act of X or Y alignment isn't based on "possible results". You are trying to say that an act of good is an act of evil, which does not compute.


Anzyr wrote:
Whether is a spell is an act of X or Y alignment isn't based on "possible results".

No, and I never said it was. I'm saying the results will be judged on their own, regardless of the method. The caster is in full control of how he uses his spells.

Anzyr wrote:
You are trying to say that an act of good is an act of evil, which does not compute.

When did I say that? I said "casting the spell" may be a minor act of good. But "wiping out the village" is a major act of evil. They're not the same act. You can easily cast the spell without wiping out the village (for instance, by leaving the village before casting it), meaning the two are separate. The second is only a result of the first because of the caster's decision to perform the first act in such a way as to make it so.

If you use a holy weapon to massacre a dozen paladins, you've performed an evil act, regardless of how "good" the weapon was.


So then its fine to use animate dead, since the results are judged on their own. I'm really not sure what you are trying to argue here.


Anzyr wrote:
So then its fine to use animate dead, since the results are judged on their own. I'm really not sure what you are trying to argue here.

Yes? Why do you suppose I disagree with that?

In the first reply to this thread, I stated that casting a spell with the (evil) descriptor doesn't automatically make you evil..

What I'm arguing is your statement that the alignment system is wonky, and your example situation. In particular, I'm saying that when applied properly, it isn't so wonky that wiping out villages with good spells would be an ultimately good act.


Hi Vildrean.

There are three answers to your question.

The Answer according to the Core Rules (Which I assume is what you are here for, since you're in the rules section)

The Answer according to the Golarion Setting.

and The Answer according to your GM.

By the Core Rules casting any form of magic, no matter which school or descriptor (the descriptor is the little tag saying [good], [evil], [fire], [mind-effecting] and so on in the different spells) is not an aligned action. By the Core Rules, the alignment of an act is based on a mixture of your motivation for doing it, and the immediate result of the act. The traits that define a good, evil and neutral act can be found in the alignment chapter, and are pretty simple, since there are alignment dependent classes in the game.

The answer according to the Golarion Setting is different, though. As stated in the book Champions of Purity (a Golarion specific book), casting spells with the [evil] descriptor is at best a minor act of evil, while casting certain spells (such as Animate Dead) is more grievous acts of evil. Exactly which spells are worse than the others is not pretty well defined, and is basically up to your GM. Which brings us to the last answer.

The answer according to your GM. This is really the only answer that matters at your table. Check with your GM and ask if he runs alignment by RAW, or if he's got his own ideas. It's alwasys good to know the house-rules. Many are the sad tales of players who've posted on these board after a clash of understandings between player and GM.

Hope it helps :)

-Nearyn


"Characters using spells with the evil descriptor should consider themselves to be committing minor acts of evil."
Notice it does not say "Characters using spells with the evil descriptor are committing minor acts of evil."

This is like saying that giving someone who is hungry something to eat should consider themselves to be doing a good act. Except that you are knowingly giving someone with a severe allergy to nuts something made with nuts. Your act of good is an act of evil.


The justification typically presented is that casting evil spells invites corruption into your soul, and it taints you, REGARDLESS of intent.
Conversely, good spells will only change your alignment if you harbor the genuine desire to atone, REQUIRING intent.

Good respects your opinion, evil messes with your soul.


Larkos wrote:
Well casting an evil spell is a decidedly evil act which a GM can use to change your alignment.

Rules citation or this is just a houserule.

Its a ridiculous assertion, as is casting protection evil spell on my PC allies would make someone good. Its good the good descriptor yes?


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The aligned spell rules are some of the dumbest things ever put on paper.

And inconsistent. If casting Protection From Good makes me Evil, casting Proection From Energy (Fire) should slowly convert me into a Fire Elemental. Or at least an Ifrit.

Same logic. Same STUPID logic, but same logic. And it's not applied anywhere.

Maybe we need an Ultimate Guide to Changing Your Alignment And Race Via Unrelated Acts.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

"Characters using spells with the evil descriptor should consider themselves to be committing minor acts of evil."

Notice it does not say "Characters using spells with the evil descriptor are committing minor acts of evil."

This is like saying that giving someone who is hungry something to eat should consider themselves to be doing a good act. Except that you are knowingly giving someone with a severe allergy to nuts something made with nuts. Your act of good is an act of evil.

It does indeed say that. Although I get the feeling that since Champions of Purity is essentially a paladin book, that phrasing is to prevent paladins from using ye olde "unknowingly committed an evil act"-mumbo.

Nevertheless, I see the validity of what you are pointing out.

-Nearyn


I'd note that there's a long history of 3E/Pathfinder rules which, combined, produce things which are both-evil-and-good. An outsider with the [evil] subtype always detects as evil. If that outsider is converted (which, according to official words, can happen, even though it's extremely rare), and becomes a paladin, then they can detect strongly as good and strongly as evil. Similarly, undead always detect as "evil" because unholy magic, even if they are strongly good-aligned.


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Firstly, it's inferred that when you cast a spell associated with an alignment, that you are syphoning power from whatever source is required to create that spell. Casting an "evil", "good", "lawful" or "chaotic" spell is using those powers and you are bringing those enegies into the world. Thus, when you cast an aligned spell it is a minor act of that alignment because you bringing in those energies. Which is why cleric types are barred from casting opposed alignment spells, they are using their deities power and if the deity has no evil, good, whatever, in them... there is nothing the feul the spell. What you do with that power once the spell is formed is another matter.

Bringing those energies into the world has an effect on your being, even if it is slight. You are, afterall, channeling said forces through your body to produce an effect. Can you make undead to protect a town? yes. But you are still inviting evil into your being when you do so. It's kinda like calling on the dark side of the force to defeat a Sith. Your intent was pure, but your method leaves you open to corruption.

Secondly, the alignment system isn't robust enough to handle the dilemas posed by many of these types of threads. It's meant as a guidline, not as a railroad.


Cardinal Chunder wrote:
Larkos wrote:
Well casting an evil spell is a decidedly evil act which a GM can use to change your alignment.

Rules citation or this is just a houserule.

Its a ridiculous assertion, as is casting protection evil spell on my PC allies would make someone good. Its good the good descriptor yes?

I agree I was being too general when I said that. Casting protection from good shouldn't automatically make you evil. I said that because I was thinking of spells like Visions of Hell, Hellfire ray, whatever they renamed Waters of Lamashtu into, and others that do pretty evil things when there are usually better alternatives. You could conceivably cast protection from good for a non-evil reason (for example, your LG party fighter which been bewitched and you need to fight him so you cast protection from good to buff your AC until you can knock him out with non-lethal damage.) If you cast Interrogation which is basically torture on someone when there is an alternative then that is a decidedly evil act which I would at least give the player a warning about if I were GM.

"I think you might want to go rethink your entire argument Larkos. Casting Animate Dead isn't "inherently" any more evil then casting Protection from Evil is "inherently" good. In fact, the only thing that makes Animate Dead evil at all is the [evil] tag, that's it. Your claim that there is some other evil involved is to put it bluntly, outright wrong. Similarly, the only reason Protection from Evil is a good action is because of it's [good] tag, there isn't any other "good" involved. Your argument that these differ in some way is not very logical, which is why it is being rejected. If you composed a more logical argument it would be more readily accepted."

I know this is old but it was directed at me so I want to respond to it. I am saying that under the rules of D&D that were carried over to Pathfinder creating undead is evil regardless of method. "Characters using spells with the evil descriptor should consider themselves to be committing minor acts of evil, though using spells to create undead is an even more grievous act of evil that requires atonement." If my alchemist character decided to build a machine that somehow created zombies without casting a spell, it would be evil too. I have explain in detail why the creation of the undead is wrong and why casting protection from evil, despite its good descriptor, is not enough to change your alignment from evil to good or neutral. My argument as to why they differ is really very simple: Animate Dead is always evil whereas Protection from Evil is sometimes not good.

There are rules (well guidelines I suppose) about becoming good and argue my point that intention and action both matter. "The notion of good is as much about intention as it is about action. Simply committing a series of good acts is not enough to change a creature's alignment—it must want deep down within itself to be good. As such, finding true redemption involves the creature passing through a number of stages on its path to goodness." Here is the link to those interested: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/alignment-description/additional-rules

The same page also saying that someone who wants to keep hopping around the alignment should just play CN.


I am not taking any alignment advice from a page which says that someone who just wants to hop around should play CN, that's horrible advice and betrays a fundamental failure to understand D&D alignment.

And I think I get what you're saying now. What it seemed like you were saying was that animate dead should be considered a seriously evil, alignment-changing, act simply because of the descriptor, because you kept referring to the descriptor. But the descriptor is actually completely irrelevant to your argument. If the spell didn't have that descriptor, you'd still have just as good an argument that using the spell was inherently evil...


seebs wrote:

I am not taking any alignment advice from a page which says that someone who just wants to hop around should play CN, that's horrible advice and betrays a fundamental failure to understand D&D alignment.

And I think I get what you're saying now. What it seemed like you were saying was that animate dead should be considered a seriously evil, alignment-changing, act simply because of the descriptor, because you kept referring to the descriptor. But the descriptor is actually completely irrelevant to your argument. If the spell didn't have that descriptor, you'd still have just as good an argument that using the spell was inherently evil...

I'm sorry if you got that impression. What sounds perfect in my head may not always be so clear when I write it down. To clarify: yes, even without the descriptor telling me Animate Dead, Visions of Hell, Interrogation, etc. are evil, I would still consider them to be evil acts if they have evil consequences and/or evil intentions.

The exact wording is "Players who frequently have their characters change alignment should in all likelihood be playing chaotic neutral characters." I probably misread that the first time through 'cause I thought it might answer the previously suggested strategy of jumping around the alignment system. What they are saying is that if someone wants to play a wild card like Jack Sparrow then they should be play CN without having to change alignments in accordance with his most recent action. I would make it clear to the GM that this was my intention and the alignment system wouldn't be much of a bother again (unless some used a spell like Arrow of Law on me.)


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Anzyr wrote:


Want to point out where creating an undead is an inherently evil act (besides the fact that casting animate dead is evil)? Because that's not why casting Animate Dead is evil. Casting animate dead is evil because the spell has the evil descriptor. The same is true of Protection from Evil. Using Protection against Evil to prevent Evil from harming people is not an inherently good act. Casting Protection from Evil is a good act because the spell has the good descriptor. Remember if you cast Holy Word and wipe out a village of non-good people, you've committed a good action. And this is why alignment is incredible lulzy.

I think you're missing a simple point: Good and Evil actually mean something. It's not just a "Red vs. Blue" thing.

I subscribe to the "Good is Hard" philosophy: Being good means that you value others more than you value yourself; that you are willing to make sacrifices solely for the benefits of others.

I see the morality of an action having two components: MOTIVE (i.e. intention) and MEANS (i.e. acts).

In order for an action to be Good, both motive and means must be Good. If either motive or means is Evil, then the action is Evil. (Other combinations would be neutral).

When you cast a spell with an alignment descriptor, you are harnessing the supernatural/extraplanar forces of that very real force to do something. When you cast an [Evil] spell, you are invoking the Power of Evil. So, casting an [Evil] spell, even for a good reason, is still always an evil action, regardless of the motive.

The reverse is NOT true. Casting a [Good] spell could be a Good, Neutral, or Evil action, depending on the motive.

Good motive, Good means: Good action.
Good motive, Neutral means: Neutral action.
Good motive, Evil means: Evil action.
Neutral motive, Good means: Neutral action.
Neutral motive, Neutral means: Neutral action.
Neutral motive, Evil means: Evil action.
Evil motive, Good means: Evil action.
Evil motive, Neutral means: Evil action.
Evil motive, Evil means: Evil action.

Nine combinations. One is Good; three are Neutral; five are Evil.

Good is hard.


Agree with Haladir. It seems that all arguments that alignment restrictions on spells are illogical are based on a premise that requires Good and Evil to be perfectly symmetrical in terms of how they work in the world. This is an appealing premise, aesthetically speaking, but one for which you might provide proof or otherwise dismiss.


"Good Versus Evil

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master."

From the CRB.

Says nothing about casting spells makes you good or evil. Considering that section deals with alignment I would assume if the intent was for that to happen it would be alluded to here, but it doesn't.
Keep spell casting out of ridiculous alignment rules.

"Changing Alignments
Alignment is a tool, a convenient shorthand you can use to summarize the general attitude of an NPC, region, religion, organization, monster, or even magic item.

Certain character classes in Classes list repercussions for those who don't adhere to a specific alignment, and some spells and magic items have different effects on targets depending on alignment, but beyond that it's generally not necessary to worry too much..."

Again nothing about casting Team Evil spells and making you change alignment. And once more I would suggest if the intent was if you cast spells with the Evil descriptor then you become part of Team Evil it would say so here. It doesn't anything else is a houserule.

The Exchange

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Zhayne wrote:
...demonstrating just why alignment is a totally stupid thing.

You know, Zhayne, I don't like butterscotch, but I don't feel the need to mention it every time people on these boards discuss butterscotch. And, to be frank, discussions about alignment are a little more common. We all know how you feel, dude. You don't have to say it every time. It's a given. When I see any question about alignment, I say to myself, "Umbriere and Zhayne and Kirth Gensen and certain others feel that this thread is unnecessary."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nearyn wrote:


It does indeed say that. Although I get the feeling that since Champions of Purity is essentially a paladin book, that phrasing is to prevent paladins from using ye olde "unknowingly committed an evil act"-mumbo.

Nevertheless, I see the validity of what you are pointing out.

-Nearyn

Unless you're of the opinion that Paladins are the only class that needs to be concerned of matters of Good, and that neutral and chaotic goods have no possible issues, I'd highly disagree.


Larkos wrote:
The exact wording is "Players who frequently have their characters change alignment should in all likelihood be playing chaotic neutral characters."

EDIT: Turns out that IS in the Paizo books, but not in the book I got from my initial search.

That's... Not a very good bit of verbiage, and I don't consider it coherent advice. On the other hand, I'm not totally surprised to see it still floating around in D&D-derived systems.


Went and looked. 3E had a thing in the DMG section on alignment changes pointing out that if you change alignment a lot, it means you've never really decided and are neutral. That wasn't in the SRD, so when Paizo rewrite the changing-alignment material, they adapted it, and stuck in a reference to the "chaotic and random are the same thing" meme which was so annoying in 2nd edition.

In principle, they can write any text they want, but the 3E alignment system is pretty clearly not intending to consider "indecisive" to be chaotic; if you're chaotic neutral, you should be strongly and consistently aligned with chaos. If you're not consistent, you're not really chaotic.

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