Non-Evil undead?


Advice

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I'd like to spice up my campaign with the moral dilemma of neutral or good aligned undead. Do these exists?

Perhaps some Twilight-esc vampires?


Ghosts can have any alignment.
And any undead with a head could be wearing a Helmet of Opposite Alignment.


There's not really a moral dilemma if they're good aligned... Unless you trick one of your PCs into attacking it. Then you're just being mean.


Undead exist in a state that is in defiance of nature. It is difficult to maintain Goodness when so cut off from the natural order.

It would be interesting to portray someone who started off Good but was slowly loosing their grasp on their moral compass.


Mulet wrote:

I'd like to spice up my campaign with the moral dilemma of neutral or good aligned undead. Do these exists?

Perhaps some Twilight-esc vampires?

Flagging this for advice or homebrew. VRMH gave some examples of the rare (very rare) exceptions but in official PF/Golarion they really, again with rare exception, do not. It's part of the core morality, and way neg. energy as it applies to undead, works in that setting. Will of the gods and all for that world.

However despite that, and the fact you invoked :finger in throat gagging motion: Twilight ;) and thus we probably shouldn't help, it's YOUR Golarion. Unless you're PFS have some fun with it and go for it! Make Neutral skeletons and Good vampires.

Edit: ... though I recommend if you do so you also tell your players or let them knowledge: religion roll to know your world has the possibility of good undead.

If this is in the house rule forum I'm sure it won't be the first time someone asked for/did what you're wanting. I've seen several posters over the years address how they want negative energy to be more a neutral force, one of them has to have done what you want before and can offer guidance or links to pevious threads on the matter.


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Democratus wrote:
Undead exist in a state that is in defiance of nature. It is difficult to maintain Goodness when so cut off from the natural order.

Only if you assume that nature is Good.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

there is aclass of good aligned elven liches (in 3,5) called (iirc) baelnorn or similar.


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1. It's your game, whatever you want to have in it is in it.

2. Any free-willed creature can choose its own path in life. Those that lack the intellect to do so cannot be evil, because they cannot make that choice.


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Democratus wrote:
Undead exist in a state that is in defiance of nature. It is difficult to maintain Goodness when so cut off from the natural order.

*blows whistle*

Logical fallacy, appeal to nature, 15 yard penalty, loss of down.


I think Eberron had this thing with good aligned or neutral aligned undead.

The elves worshipped undead ancestors or smth.


Shadowdancer prd wrote:
Summon Shadow (Su): At 3rd level, a shadowdancer can summon a shadow, an undead shade. Unlike a normal shadow, this shadow's alignment matches that of the shadowdancer, and the creature cannot create spawn.

It is a special case, but an example of non-evil undead in pathfinder.

Also

p69 Serpent Skull 3: City of the Seven Spears wrote:
Spirit Vessels (Su): You can channel wendo spirits into lifeless bodies, reanimating them to aid you. Necromancy spells that create undead lose the evil descriptor when you cast them. Mindless undead created by your magic are of neutral alignment, while thinking undead possess your alignment. When using the animate dead spell, you can control 6 HD worth of undead creatures per caster level rather than 4 HD. In addition, any zombies or juju zombies you create using animate dead, create undead, or similar spells possess maximum hit points.

The later revision of the mystery removed this revelation, but it was a pretty cool way to have non-evil undead and explain why they are non-evil within the Golarion setting.


Ok, so I have the following to work with:

1) Spirit Vessels
2) Summoned Shadows
3) Ghosts
4) Anything else wearing a Helmet of Opposite Alignment

That's a lot more than I expected. I'd rather work with in game assets and rules, than house rules.


While I might be convinced to bargain with a vampire in Golarion (depending on the character I was playing), if I encountered a Twilight-brand vampire I would try to kill it on sight.

Seriously, on Golarion necromantic magic taints almost everything it touches with evil. Ghosts are not necessarily evil, but then they are not normally created through necromancy.

If you are playing in your own campaign world this need not be the case. One could certainly make a case for unintelligent undead being neutral, just like vermin or animals.

You could also create a vampire that was not undead. As an example, a Yellow Musk Zombie is not an undead, but rather a plant. I could envision a process (a disease perhaps) that would turn a person into a creature that gained special abilities but required them to drink blood to survive. You would have to create a template for this, which would possibly change the person to a monstrous humanoid or aberration, but neither of those categories require the creature to be evil.


Peet wrote:

While I might be convinced to bargain with a vampire in Golarion (depending on the character I was playing), if I encountered a Twilight-brand vampire I would try to kill it on sight.

Seriously, on Golarion necromantic magic taints almost everything it touches with evil. Ghosts are not necessarily evil, but then they are not normally created through necromancy.

If you are playing in your own campaign world this need not be the case. One could certainly make a case for unintelligent undead being neutral, just like vermin or animals.

You could also create a vampire that was not undead. As an example, a Yellow Musk Zombie is not an undead, but rather a plant. I could envision a process (a disease perhaps) that would turn a person into a creature that gained special abilities but required them to drink blood to survive. You would have to create a template for this, which would possibly change the person to a monstrous humanoid or aberration, but neither of those categories require the creature to be evil.

Before I build a template, I'd like to work with what's in the book first. That yellow musk creeper looks like fun for my Druid PC.


Yeah carrion crown has an undead that is CE but basically spends its time killing other undead and cultists while he bids his time to find the leautenant that killed him and raised him. Hes intelligent and even can try to befriend players if they are going around killing cultists and whatnot.
made me scratch my head on that one seeing how its basically a good guy but labeled CE.
im guessing they just take on the evil descriptor of the spell and keep the other alignment.
maybe undead are always ping evil even if their actions are actually good because of the spell being labeled evil that is keeping them moving around and overtakes all other alignments because its pinging the hardest?


The White Necromancer by Kobold Press creates neutral mindless undead and intelligent undead that match his alignment (which can be any non-evil).

The Exchange

You can get some mileage out of dhampirs, undead-related Sorcerer Bloodlines, and stuff without going full-undead, if that helps at all?

Liberty's Edge

Navarion wrote:
The White Necromancer by Kobold Press creates neutral mindless undead and intelligent undead that match his alignment (which can be any non-evil).

Thanks Navarion!

You can find the White Necromancer class, as well as 2 white necromancer archetypes (the grave-bound white necromancer and the necrotic healer) in the New Paths Compendium


Redneckdevil wrote:

Yeah carrion crown has an undead that is CE but basically spends its time killing other undead and cultists while he bids his time to find the leautenant that killed him and raised him. Hes intelligent and even can try to befriend players if they are going around killing cultists and whatnot.

made me scratch my head on that one seeing how its basically a good guy but labeled CE.
im guessing they just take on the evil descriptor of the spell and keep the other alignment.
maybe undead are always ping evil even if their actions are actually good because of the spell being labeled evil that is keeping them moving around and overtakes all other alignments because its pinging the hardest?

Frankly the idea of alignment being a tangible thing is rather hard for people of the real world like us to grasp, as in Golarion it is not mere semantics or morality but an actual thing. Most undead are evil, because of reasons of magic and such, exceptions exist, as a gm you can do whatever you like with that, it's not normal nor common, and morality does not exclude actions as evil people have friends and evil people kill a lot of evil people.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mulet wrote:

I'd like to spice up my campaign with the moral dilemma of neutral or good aligned undead. Do these exists?

Perhaps some Twilight-esc vampires?

What is your idea of a moral dilemma in this context?


Note: as the New Paths Compendium is primarily open gaming content, you can also view the White Necromancer here.


Alignment is descriptive of the race overall. It is not prescriptive of all members of the race.


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Why is Paizo so, so, so tenaciously clinging to the "non-ghost undead are evil" shtick? They removed Spirit Vessels, the summoned shadow is irrelevant because nobody takes prestige classes anymore, and the helm of opposite alignment is a rarely-encountered booby trap for the PCs.

Given that Golarion has friggin robots and space aliens on top of wizards and alchemists and guns, why would this one thing make their kitchen sink setting overflow?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Why is Paizo so, so, so tenaciously clinging to the "non-ghost undead are evil" shtick? They removed Spirit Vessels, the summoned shadow is irrelevant because nobody takes prestige classes anymore, and the helm of opposite alignment is a rarely-encountered booby trap for the PCs.

Given that Golarion has friggin robots and space aliens on top of wizards and alchemists and guns, why would this one thing make their kitchen sink setting overflow?

Why shoud Paizo remove the classic undead trope? And from the rest of your text, you seem to believe that opposite alignment helms should be hanging from every coat rack. When Golarion mixes its tropes it does them in restraint, not as a setting wide smorgasbord. That's an important distinction.

BTW, most ghost undead are evil as well, becoming a ghost is usually a result of trauma and the centuries of no-resolution frequently make them insane and evil.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Redneckdevil wrote:

Yeah carrion crown has an undead that is CE but basically spends its time killing other undead and cultists while he bids his time to find the leautenant that killed him and raised him. Hes intelligent and even can try to befriend players if they are going around killing cultists and whatnot.

made me scratch my head on that one seeing how its basically a good guy but labeled CE.
im guessing they just take on the evil descriptor of the spell and keep the other alignment.
maybe undead are always ping evil even if their actions are actually good because of the spell being labeled evil that is keeping them moving around and overtakes all other alignments because its pinging the hardest?

He remains chaotic evil because of the reasons he wants to achieve his goals, and I would imagine that their isn't a line he won't cross to do so. A desire to slaughter undead doesn't make you a goody two shoes, especially if his motives are revenge motivated.


LazarX wrote:


Why shoud Paizo remove the classic undead trope?

Because it is needlessly restrictive, even though far more fans would be more tolerant of non-evil undead than they are of robots and guns?

For the genre-blending they do, it usually has the feel of "hey, remember when you were young and you hadn't had your creativity stomped out of you by people saying your ideas were stupid? Here's that piece of your soul back!"

While with the undead thing, they're just saying "nope. If you want that, you'll have to make it up yourself."

LazarX wrote:
And from the rest of your text, you seem to believe that opposite alignment helms should be hanging from every coat rack.

Nein, fraulein. It reeks of 1e, "screw-the-player," adversarial DM antiquity and should stay that way.


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Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Why is Paizo so, so, so tenaciously clinging to the "non-ghost undead are evil" shtick? They removed Spirit Vessels, the summoned shadow is irrelevant because nobody takes prestige classes anymore, and the helm of opposite alignment is a rarely-encountered booby trap for the PCs.

Given that Golarion has friggin robots and space aliens on top of wizards and alchemists and guns, why would this one thing make their kitchen sink setting overflow?

Several of the creative staff in charge of Golarion like "always" evil undead, and think things like good vampires or liches should be special, used sparingly, and preferably as major story elements/focus in modules and AP volumes.


Blood of the Night says vampires can be non-evil. It's rare, but it can happen. See pages 5 and 14.


JaC381 wrote:
Blood of the Night says vampires can be non-evil. It's rare, but it can happen. See pages 5 and 14.

any intelligent creature can change its aligment, that has ben established plenty in the thread. its just that a lot of people don't like the idea of that being an exception. no-one is debating it could never happen.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JaC381 wrote:
Blood of the Night says vampires can be non-evil. It's rare, but it can happen. See pages 5 and 14.

What some folk can't seem to accept that a non-evil vampire rare is RARE, not 1 out of every 100 vampires, but something a lot more closer to 1 ever.

The more morally ambiguous vampires of modern gothic fiction are a lot more weaker than the classic Stoker monster.


It's not just that way with vampires but also demons and most other 'evil' races.


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Given that the core of the post seems to be about potential moral dilemmas, and not really alignment, have you considered using Revenants?

Where there is a Revenant, there is a murderer.

Do you help them gain revenge? Put them down to stave off more bloodshed? Let it do its thing, but try to keep innocent people out of its way? Kill it and then take up the investigation yourself?

The possibilities are numerous.

Revenants are neat.


I think Paizo had two reasons to keep undead as unilaterally evil.

1. As a family-oriented or kid-friendly game, they wanted to keep the raising of the dead in the evil "offside" region of play. I don't entirely agree but I can understand this justification.

2. They wanted a Paladin's smite evil ability to work on all undead. It's kind of a classic D&D trope so I basically agree here too.

Number two though could have been achieved through a more specific detail in the smite evil ability instead of a blanket alignment assignment. I personally think that a way to approach it would have been to make the magic evil rather than the being, and that smite evil works against creatures that are created through evil magic. Thus, a skeleton could be neutral in intent but evil in nature.

Peet


Lazarus from the Bible was a holy zombie perhaps......


Curse of the Crimson Throne begins with a "benevolent" ghost who has her own designs of revenge, and recruits the party...

But I'll agree with others here, and say that you can make your undead any way that you want. Democratus has the right of it: undead are evil by nature, but just like Louis de Point du Lac in Interview with a Vampire, an intelligent being can struggle against the dark forces that have made him, and try to live a noble un-life.


Peet wrote:

I think Paizo had two reasons to keep undead as unilaterally evil.

1. As a family-oriented or kid-friendly game, they wanted to keep the raising of the dead in the evil "offside" region of play. I don't entirely agree but I can understand this justification.

2. They wanted a Paladin's smite evil ability to work on all undead. It's kind of a classic D&D trope so I basically agree here too.

Number two though could have been achieved through a more specific detail in the smite evil ability instead of a blanket alignment assignment. I personally think that a way to approach it would have been to make the magic evil rather than the being, and that smite evil works against creatures that are created through evil magic. Thus, a skeleton could be neutral in intent but evil in nature.

Peet

I think Smite could have just had an extra line about how it works against undead because being undead is 'an abomination against life and nature' or something like that.


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The worst thing about evil undead is that they break all the rules.

Mindless undead are mindless and all mindless creatures must by definition be true neutral. But zombies are evil because screw you white necromancers.

Undead are powered by perfectly neutral negative energy and don't impinge upon the souls of the departed unless they're intelligent undead.

Golems, on the other hand, are powered by enslaved, lobotomized elementals. Elementals are sophonts. Golems are neutral in spite of the apalling evil inherent in their construction. Creating a golem is the vilest and most evil thing it is possible to do to a single victim.

The ethical mage should use safe, morally pure necromancy for his mindless automaton needs. They're actually soulless unlike the tortured, enslaved outsider souls that power golems.

If a low-ish level wizard is crossing the desert and his camel dies and he reanimates it he's evil. If he enslaves an intelligent, non-evil elemental spirit into a camel shaped golem -- destroying not only its free will but its mind -- to carry him across the desert he can be neutral or good.

I have serious reservations about the morality of the devs who chose to violate their own alignment rules regarding mindless creatures to punish morally neutral uses of necromancy for fluff reasons that contradict the other negative energy fluff but not to violate the alignment rules regarding mindless creatures for golems whose fluff is unambiguously evil.


Hm. I don't think the spirits used for golems are usually sapient, except where it is called out otherwise, like with aluums or clockwork familiars.

Take this quote from the colossus description in Bestiary 4:

Colossi are constructs of great stature, the smallest of them towering ten times the height of a human, bigger than even the tallest giants. Though superficially similar to golems, they are distinguished not only by their greater size but also by their greater magical powers. A golem is given a semblance of life by an elemental spirit, sealed within the body by a magical barrier that also serves to keep out other magical inf luences. A colossus is likewise given life by an elemental spirit, but this spirit is much closer to being a true soul, and requires no such magical barrier to prevent it from fleeing the body and leaving behind only inert, dead matter. Like a proper soul, it provides will and impulse rather than power alone. It controls its artificial body via a magical physiology of potent and eldritch spellcraft, just as a living being commands its muscles, nerves, and blood.

Which is to say, colossi spirits are comparable to souls, but the sparks in most golems aren't. They're probably mindless already, elemental insects or something like that.


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Golems wrote:
Golems are magically created automatons of great power. They stand apart from other constructs in the nature of their animating force—golems are granted their magical life via an elemental spirit, typically that of an earth elemental. The process of creating a golem binds the spirit to the artificial body, merging it with this specially prepared vessel and subjecting it to the will of the golem's creator.

So, here we see that elementals, typically earth elementals, are being forced into slavery, bound to the will of the golem's creator.

Golems wrote:
Being mindless, golems do nothing without orders from their creators. They follow instructions explicitly and are incapable of complex strategy or tactics. A golem's creator can command it if the golem is within 60 feet and can see and hear its creator. If uncommanded, a golem usually follows its last instruction to the best of its ability, though if attacked it returns the attack. The creator can give the golem a simple command to govern its actions in his absence, or can order the golem to obey the commands of another, but the golem's creator can always resume control by commanding the golem to obey him alone.

So, here we learn that an elemental that used to have a mind, becomes a mindless machine subject to his creators will. He can't think, he can't plot, he can't dream.

Infusing energy into a body so that it rises and serves the creator = evil.

Enslaving and wiping away the thoughts and feelings of a sentient being for the express purpose of a mindless killing machine subject to the creators every will = not evil.


Tels wrote:
Golems wrote:
Golems are magically created automatons of great power. They stand apart from other constructs in the nature of their animating force—golems are granted their magical life via an elemental spirit, typically that of an earth elemental. The process of creating a golem binds the spirit to the artificial body, merging it with this specially prepared vessel and subjecting it to the will of the golem's creator.

So, here we see that elementals, typically earth elementals, are being forced into slavery, bound to the will of the golem's creator.

Golems wrote:
Being mindless, golems do nothing without orders from their creators. They follow instructions explicitly and are incapable of complex strategy or tactics. A golem's creator can command it if the golem is within 60 feet and can see and hear its creator. If uncommanded, a golem usually follows its last instruction to the best of its ability, though if attacked it returns the attack. The creator can give the golem a simple command to govern its actions in his absence, or can order the golem to obey the commands of another, but the golem's creator can always resume control by commanding the golem to obey him alone.

So, here we learn that an elemental that used to have a mind, becomes a mindless machine subject to his creators will. He can't think, he can't plot, he can't dream.

Infusing energy into a body so that it rises and serves the creator = evil.

Enslaving and wiping away the thoughts and feelings of a sentient being for the express purpose of a mindless killing machine subject to the creators every will = not evil.

Giving an elemental something to do is not an evil act, because it fits within the elemental's nature. If anything, it ought to be grateful that it can serve a sentient's purpose on the Prime Material plane. A petroleum elemental (for example) would enjoy operating an engine.

A camel that dies in the desert has served its purpose. It has lived its life and its suffering (from the desert) has ended. To reanimate its corpse is unnatural and a hideous violation of natural law. To do so is evil, whether or not its rider is stranded in the desert or not. It doesn't make the caster evil in and of himself, it just means he's committed an evil act. That's life.

Moral philosophy is not difficult.


Owly wrote:
Moral philosophy is not difficult.

Apparently it is for you.

An animated corpse is no more the person or animal it once was than you are the chicken you ate for dinner last week. The matter may still be there, but the soul is gone.

An elemental is a thinking being. Giving it purpose by enslaving it is just as immoral as giving an African purpose by kidnapping him, shipping him across the Atlantic in a ship as crowded as a coffin, and working him to death in a sugar plantation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mulet wrote:

I'd like to spice up my campaign with the moral dilemma of neutral or good aligned undead. Do these exists?

Perhaps some Twilight-esc vampires?

In both the plain-vanilla Pathfinder rules, and in the official Pathfinder campaign world, pretty much all undead are evil-- including mindless ones like zombies and skeletons. Exceptions are ghosts, which can be of any alignment, and a tiny number of individual intelligent undead creatures with interesting stories that are worthy of being plot elements in their own right. (e.g. There's a lawful good ghost paladin that can become an ally of the party in the latest chapter of the Mummy's Mask AP.)

However, you're the GM, so feel free to run your campaign as you see fit. Just keep in mind that you're not going to get much, if any, official product support for those kinds of stories.

Good luck!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
Mulet wrote:

I'd like to spice up my campaign with the moral dilemma of neutral or good aligned undead. Do these exists?

Perhaps some Twilight-esc vampires?

In both the plain-vanilla Pathfinder rules, and in the official Pathfinder campaign world, pretty much all undead are evil-- including mindless ones like zombies and skeletons. Exceptions are ghosts, which can be of any alignment, and a tiny number of individual intelligent undead creatures with interesting stories that are worthy of being plot elements in their own right. (Heck-- there's a lawful good ghost of a paladin that can become an ally of the party in the latest chapter of the Mummy's Mask AP!)

However, you're the GM, so feel free to run your campaign as you see fit. Just keep in mind that you're not going to get much, if any, official product support for those kinds of stories.

Good luck!

That's wrong. You have all the product support you need to run the games you want. The hullabaloo about non-evil undead has NOTHING to do with mechanics, but with pointless complaints that the default story of the default game world is written in a certain way. Or possibly PFS players who want to have their coterie of mindless undead following them around and expecting it to be a norm wherever they go.

You want your vampires and werewolves and ghouls to be default Lawful Good? You want to remove the Evil descriptor from Animate Dead? Guess what there is absolutely NOTHING stopping you from doing so, and you have all the mechanics support you need to make that change.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Haladir wrote:

However, you're the GM, so feel free to run your campaign as you see fit. Just keep in mind that you're not going to get much, if any, official product support for those kinds of stories.

That's wrong. You have all the product support you need to run the games you want. The hullabaloo about non-evil undead has NOTHING to do with mechanics, but with pointless complaints that the default story of the default game world is written in a certain way.

I beg to differ.

I know from previous discussions that you downplay alignment, but there are a bunch of both built-in storyline elements and game mechanical elements that generally assume that all undead are evil.

If you change that assumption of the game, you'll have to make other adjustments in, say, plotlines of published modules and Campaign Setting books. Some game mechanics also get weird if non-evil undead are commonplace. (e.g. detect evil as written pings all undead as evil.)

Many of these points are moot if you're running in a campaign world that doesn't use or downplays alignment. But if you're running in Golarion (i.e. what I meant by "product support"), you're going to need to make more changes.

But if that's what you want to do, go for it! I hope your players love what you write!


Tels wrote:
Golems wrote:
Golems are magically created automatons of great power. They stand apart from other constructs in the nature of their animating force—golems are granted their magical life via an elemental spirit, typically that of an earth elemental. The process of creating a golem binds the spirit to the artificial body, merging it with this specially prepared vessel and subjecting it to the will of the golem's creator.

So, here we see that elementals, typically earth elementals, are being forced into slavery, bound to the will of the golem's creator.

Golems wrote:
Being mindless, golems do nothing without orders from their creators. They follow instructions explicitly and are incapable of complex strategy or tactics. A golem's creator can command it if the golem is within 60 feet and can see and hear its creator. If uncommanded, a golem usually follows its last instruction to the best of its ability, though if attacked it returns the attack. The creator can give the golem a simple command to govern its actions in his absence, or can order the golem to obey the commands of another, but the golem's creator can always resume control by commanding the golem to obey him alone.

So, here we learn that an elemental that used to have a mind, becomes a mindless machine subject to his creators will. He can't think, he can't plot, he can't dream.

Infusing energy into a body so that it rises and serves the creator = evil.

Enslaving and wiping away the thoughts and feelings of a sentient being for the express purpose of a mindless killing machine subject to the creators every will = not evil.

I think that "elemental spirit" just means "the spirit of something from the Plane of Earth", not necessarily one of these Earth Elementals. Binding something to your will doesn't mean that thing ever had a will of its own - I can cast Dominate Monster on a Gray Ooze without that being slavery. And yet oozes do have spirits.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Haladir wrote:

However, you're the GM, so feel free to run your campaign as you see fit. Just keep in mind that you're not going to get much, if any, official product support for those kinds of stories.

That's wrong. You have all the product support you need to run the games you want. The hullabaloo about non-evil undead has NOTHING to do with mechanics, but with pointless complaints that the default story of the default game world is written in a certain way.

I beg to differ.

I know from previous discussions that you downplay alignment, but there are a bunch of both built-in storyline elements and game mechanical elements that generally assume that all undead are evil.

If you change that assumption of the game, you'll have to make other adjustments in, say, plotlines of published modules and Campaign Setting books. Some game mechanics also get weird if non-evil undead are commonplace. (e.g. detect evil as written pings all undead as evil.)

Many of these points are moot if you're running in a campaign world that doesn't use or downplays alignment. But if you're running in Golarion (i.e. what I meant by "product support"), you're going to need to make more changes.

But if that's what you want to do, go for it! I hope your players love what you write!

The problem with that argument is that you still haven't defined the goalposts. There HAVE been singular examples of good aligned vampires, and at least one PFS scenario that has a ghoul has a tragic figure... both with in the rules and story set as is.

What is your goal? To define the creation of undead as at least a neutral act by default? If that is so, then you are right that you are moving considerably away from the default story setting. Which means little more than you'll have to make a few changes from the default text. How much and how often are the two key factors in how much work you need to do.


LazarX wrote:


What is your goal? To define the creation of undead as at least a neutral act by default? If that is so, then you are right that you are moving considerably away from the default story setting. Which means little more than you'll have to make a few changes from the default text. How much and how often are the two key factors in how much work you need to do.

Preferably this would be the default IN the ruleset. It makes no sense why Animate Dead (and most other [Evil] spells) are always evil. The rules are highly inconsistent as to when "Inherently evil" and "Evil in certain circumstances" collide.

Torture, for example, is always evil, with the justification that causing unnecessary harm to a creature to meet your own goals is evil.

Okay, fine, that explains why something like Agonize of Fleshworm Infestation are evil.

But then you have stuff like Horrid Wilting, a spell which wrings every drop of moisture from the victim's body, "causing flesh to wither and crack and crumble to dust"...which is perfectly fine for anyone of any alignment to cast.

There's a reason I say alignment descriptors are arbitrary. Because they are. There's no rhyme or reason to any of them.


Rynjin wrote:


Preferably this would be the default IN the ruleset. It makes no sense why Animate Dead (and most other [Evil] spells) are always evil.

Because you are digging up dearly beloved Uncle Frank and causing the family untold heartbreak?

Because now Bob can't be Raised?

Because it's slavery of a sort?

Look, guys, I know some of you have issues with alignment. Fine. But Alignment is part of D&D and has been so for forty years. Get used to it.

Plenty of FRPGs without Alignment and the PF rules support houserules.


Atarlost wrote:


Undead are powered by perfectly neutral negative energy and don't impinge upon the souls of the departed unless they're intelligent undead.

G

"Raise dead: A creature who has been turned into an undead creature or killed by a death effect can't be raised by this spell."


DrDeth wrote:


Because you are digging up dearly beloved Uncle Frank and causing the family untold heartbreak?

Which is a potential consequence of grave robbing, and not necessarily necromancy.

DrDeth wrote:
Because now Bob can't be Raised?

Sure he can. Kill the zombie first.

DrDeth wrote:
Because it's slavery of a sort?

Which again goes back to the idea that creating a golem (also slavery of a sort, and one actually involving a sentient creature and not a mindless corpse) is neutral, the circumstances surrounding it making it good or evil, but raising a corpse (even, say, if you get consent from the family of the person, and the person's spirit itself, and use it for altruistic means) is always evil.

DrDeth wrote:
Look, guys, I know some of you have issues with alignment. Fine. But Alignment is part of D&D and has been so for forty years. Get used to it.

This isn't an issue with alignment in general, this is an issue with CONSISTENCY. It's the same issue as "Drinking blood is fine, cannibalism is fine, but only if you do it for fun...if you do it for some sort of benefit, it's evil. Because."

I don't like alignment mechanics but what really gets under my skin is that they're all over the f@!~ing place. Pick a set of morals and stick with it all the way through, don't flip flop all over the place and then say "It's obvious why to anyone with a set of morals" when someone goes "But why is this evil and this other extremely similar thing isn't?".

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