Why do people presume undead template means evil template?


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It's rather obvious that when you become a ghoul through ghoul fever you "retain none of the abilities you had in life". So I don't think they keep their experience total. Especially since, if they did, then default ghasts would be ghouls with class levels rather than default ghasts.


I agree that ghouls and other undead can gain levels, but the loss of all abilities strongly indicates a blank slate.

I.e., if someone with 60,000 XP somehow manages to get turned into a ghoul, what's getting back up the next morning is a ghoul with 0 XP.

The new ghoul is a completely new and separate creature from the original entity.

I'm about 99% certain that's been the intent behind the transformation pretty for as long as getting turned into ghouls (or similarish undead) has been a thing in D&D.

Granted, I'm very much in the "if your PC got turned into a ghoul, you are rolling up a new PC" camp.

(Aside: And if you kill the ghoul and then raise the person, you'd get the original person back, who doesn't reflect anything the ghoul did or obtained. Because they are functionally separate entities.)

(Aside: Pathfinder generally ditched all explicit XP loss mechanics. Prior editions used to have them - things that give you negative levels in pathfinder actually stripped you of levels in 1E and 2E. 3.X had XP loss by spell casting, item crafting, etc., but IIRC you had to actually die to lose a level.

But Ghouldom and similar things strip you of everything, so I don't think the rules writers needed to spell out that the newborn critter doesn't inherent the victim's XP total.)


You lost me on this one Ashiel.

When a person becomes a ghoul, they become a ghoul. Straight out of the bestiary, nothing extra. Aside from some remnants of personality and appearance the person they were before is gone. They are, in effect, a new creature.

That new creature could gain new experience, but it doesn't get to keep its old experience. That much is pretty clear in the rules you quoted earlier.

Becoming a ghoul isn't a template that gets applied over the abilities of an existing creature. It is the effect of a disease (or spell) that creates an entirely new creature.

I kinda wish it was a template. That would make for some cool variance and some connection with who they were before, but right now that isn't how it works. If your PC got turned into a ghoul you might be able to convince a GM to ignore all that and let you keep class levels so you could still play with the big kids, but that would be a house rule (a cool one, but still not the norm)

What you are describing is true of something like a Mummy though.


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Milo v3 wrote:
It's rather obvious that when you become a ghoul through ghoul fever you "retain none of the abilities you had in life". So I don't think they keep their experience total. Especially since, if they did, then default ghasts would be ghouls with class levels rather than default ghasts.

That's a good argument. I think you're right! The text from ghoul fever is lifted directly from 3.5, where ghasts had 4HD. For some reason Paizo just decided that tossing their new advanced template onto a standard ghoul was a good idea and I forgot that ghasts didn't have 4HD (I don't use ghasts very often :P).

My conclusion came from the fact I don't know of any game effect that removes accumulated experience and I'm not sure that experience points qualify as an ability.

In either case, I do think that ghouls are probably among the most likely examples of PCs turning into undead at early levels and being pretty easy to incorporate as PCs thereafter.

I digress though. Poor Mr. Goalpost's ankles are probably killing it and I'm not helping since this is more about the ease of including undead PCs rather than alignment and stuff. XD

Shadow Lodge

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In my mind
Vampires, litches, ghosts, all intelligent undead that are specifically mentioned as keeping all their old abilities
Same person, new body. To claim otherwise is simply racism perpetuated by pharasma or a result of the unreliable narrator inherit in being a part of the world
I recently had in a game I had that I failed a know(religion) check to know that vampires are harmed by sunlight
I had something like a 17-19 on my roll
The average commoner has literally no chance of making that kind of roll unless they put one of their very few skills into know (religion)
If that kind of knowledge is so hard to come by, what does that say about the subtle nuances of "occasionally not evil"
The most visible sort of vampire is the sort that is going through town hunting people and draining them dry. That's evil.
The least visible are the sort that leave their victims a little anemic and attack with stealth, preferably on animals, away from civilization and/or with a "modify memory" spell afterwards. Aka the only NPC ways to be a good guy vampire.
Likewise the most visible and most evil litches are one in the same as they're the ones amassing an army and terrorizing people
The guy who just wants extra time to study magic or guard something or another, no one has ever seen him, and that's by design.

On the other hand: ghouls, probably ghosts, and any undead type that specifically states you loose your class powers, he's just an echo of you unless something weird's going on


I think the 'ghouls lose all class abilities' thing is very much one of those separations between mechanics and fluff. Every ghoul described in Golarion remembers their life unless they have a reason not to, the best example being the Skinsaw man, who retains not just memories but all class levels and his life time obsession with one of the PCs.

Feast-o-Marrow from the Zolurket mine is the same, fully remembering his life.
If I were a cynical man (Which I am) I'd venture to guess that the reason this is, is to avoid PCs becoming ghouls while NPCs keep all their nice things due to plot, but that's an entirely different topic.

It's just one of those areas where there's a gap between fluff and mechanics.


Nearyn wrote:
...since there is no ghoul template...

Since one of your GMs is a huge fan of 3PP material, that's not quite true. ;)


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BLloyd607502 wrote:
the Skinsaw man, who retains not just memories but all class levels and his life time obsession with one of the PCs.

That follows the rules, since the Skinsaw man didn't get ghoul fever he doesn't auto-lose his abilities.

Shadow Lodge

Gah, just noticed that ghast autocorrects to ghost on my phone. The mention next to ghoul was supposed to be ghast not ghost.

I'd also like to point out that examples of ghasts with the same class as before could simply a) be an example of some "echoes" being "louder" than others, to continue the metaphor or b) yet further exceptions, there's even a prestige class with this as a capstone


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Grey.

All around, no matter where I turned, grey seemed to dominate. The landscape itself resembled an uneven wilderness, the ground jutting up one place, and drastically sinking another place, forming an impomptru, low-walled valley. Making up these walls, were rocky outcroppings and crags, appearing simultaneously weirdly spiked and jutting, yet softly rounded as if by the hands of someone of ungleanable artistic purpose. As my gaze travelled between the rocks, I saw a similar landscape stretching for as long as I could see, in all directions, all of it seeming to have been molded by the same alien hands that had touched the cliffs around me. And suffusing the world, as if dipped in a pale, completely saturated light – grey. Someplaces darker, a dark sometimes so deep, my eyes almost couldn't distinguish it from black. Someplace brighter, virtually indistinguishable from white. It lent an unsettling quality to the landscape – the grey of the sky, and the grey of the horizon matching perfectly, meshing togeter, seeming to bend the horizon up over the dome of the sky itself.

For the first time, I realized I was moving forward. I also realized I wasn't alone – not in the least. All around me, moving in the same tempo and direction as I, was the disembodied spirits of the departed, their bodies willowy and insubstantial, but their expressions terribly pained or confused. Most of them seemed to be caught, as I had just been, staring out into the grey expanse, moving forward inexorably, not seeming to know where they were going. Fear gripped me – wherever these spirits were drawn, so unwaveringly that most of them seemed not to realize they were even moving, I was not too intent on heading there myself.

I strained against my own movement, and through a considerable mental exertion, brought my pace to a halt. The world seemed to shift and become more clear around me, as if I'd been looking at it through the bottom of a glass. The clarity hurt my eyes, I turned my gaze from the horizon, and suddenly recoiled in shock. Next to me, standing within arms-reach, stood the form of a female human woman, but her visage was one of death – her form had long since lost any skin it once had, and perhaps it never had had any skin to begin with. From the skull-head of the skeleton lady, long locks of curly hair fell down over her beautifully embroidered dress. She seemed amused, her expression perfectly readable despite being completely unmoving, and she raised a hand as if trying to calm a wild doe.

”Why have you stopped?”

Her voice was almost like a pearly laugh, reverberating slightly in the noiselessness of the landscape – devoid of accusation, but filled with sympathy and curiosity. I didn't answer, my eyes were transfixed on her colourful dress, stading out against the grey as clearly as a house on fire. I tried to tear my gaze away, and repay her words with something more than slackjawed gawking.

”I don't want to go where they're going” I finally said, my gaze flickering briefly to the souls who had never stopped moving past me, like autumn leaves, slowly sailing down a forest brook.

”I know you feel uneasy, but you must not stop. You must follow your path to its end. This journey has been laid out before you, since the day you were born. It is time to see it to its end. Do not be frightened, for at the end of this path, lies only a new beginning. The cycle must continue”

Her voice was comforting, reminding me of a mother tucking in her child before blowing out the lantern. I felt myself not wanting to disappoint her, but my mind was racing, and I had so many questions.

”What will I find at the end? What will happen to me? I am sorry miss, but please tell me what is going on. I should not be here, I remember… I remember my companions. They still need me. Are we going to them. What will happen to them without me. What will happen to Kasey?”
She shook her head slowly, extending a bone-fingered hand, and closing it on my shoulder. It felt warm.

”You must keep going. Staying here will not help you, the clarity you are feeling will bring you nothing but pain. It is time to stop worrying about others. It is time to accept what cannot be avoided. You feel where you have to go. Don't resist it, let it carry you, and cease your worries, little one”

Her words resonated within me, for I indeed felt compelled to let my legs carry me on. Standing here, my mind felt clearer, but the landscape strained against the inside of my head with every passing moment. I wanted to know more, but her voice made it clear she would not tell me. I thought, perhaps, if I let myself get carried along, I would find my answers at the end of my path. Perhaps there, I could learn what had happened to my friends.

I looked up at her and nodded my silent agreement. She nodded comfortingly, and took a step closer as if to hug me. I wanted to give her a proper farewell, as well, but as I extended my arms towards her, it was her turn to recoil in horror. As she jerked back away from me, I was filled with confusion, for I saw in her eyes a horror so deep and so profound, that it almost drowned out the loathing with which she now regarded me, holding her hands between us, as if shielding herself from some vile smell. Then the pain happened. As if struck by the clawed fingers of invisible hands, burning gashes of white-hot agony opened across my being. I looked down myself, and saw the object of her horror – for my body was suffused with black, crawling tendrils. Small darts and flickers of reddish energy, danced across my frame, like tiny bolts of lightning, and the grainy, unidentifiable blackness, coalesced into more black tendrils and continued their uninterrupted crawl about my shape, wrapping me in their blackness. Another pang of pain cut through me, and I finally screamed through the shock. Panic had my heart in a vise, and I reached desperately for the woman, who seemed to want to reach for my hand with a mixture of rage and deep sorrow painted on her face. She didn't reach, instead she raised her hands, shielding her eyes from me, and hissed.

”Sacrilege. Sacrilege! The cycle must continue!!”

If she had any more words for me, I did not hear them. The claws of the unseen hands had embedded themselves in me, and despite not moving, I felt myself being pulled backwards. Grey turned to black, and the noiselessness of the world was replaced with an altogether different silence.

The blackness receeded as I opened my eyes, and I awoke, though I had not slept. My mind grabbed hold of something, something tangible, something that belonged to me, and instinctively, I pushed it forward. The world shifted before my gaze, and I sat up. As I did so, the roaring noise of the world slammed into me, and I closed my eyes reflexively, as the booming roar of the material plane replaced the noiselessness of the boneyard. For an unknowable length of time I sat there, whereever I was, as my mind adjusted, and the roar of moving air, falling dust, and shifting fabric, slowly died to nothing, and my senses readjusted to the physical. The time that passed, truly was unknowable to me, for my attempt to count my heartbeats was met only with cold nothing.

”Is she going to be okay?”

”Of course she is not! Look at her!”

”Be silent, both of you. She will be fine, she is adjusting”

The voices all rang with familiarity, and joy washed over me. I opened my eyes again, now recognizing the inside of Adwyn's chapel. I turned, looking for my companions, and felt claws dig into stone. My claws. I gazed at the faces of my friends, but their looks were worried, matching the confusion I knew was visible on my face. My body moved under my will, fast, strong, and with none of the heavy slowness I expected, what with my recent… waking.

”It is you” I cried, though I felt no tears. My lungs felt weird.
”It is you! You are all okay. You are all okay!” I shifted, wanting to move closer, and immediately felt gravity's merciless hold, as I shifted my weight from the altar my body had been placed on, out into thin air, and fell. My form shifted swiftly in the air, my reflexes, a concious effort, my body completely at my command. As I landed nimbly on all fours, shocked horror gripped me, and I beheld the grey-skinned, hook-clawed hands I knew to be my own. I looked up, confused, wanting to ask questions, but it wasn't necessary. There they were: Kasey, my love, looking at me with a combination of elation and deep worry, burning in her blue, expressive eyes. Jorrik, my sword-brother looking more grim-faced than ever, one hand tugging worriedly at his magnificently combed beard, the other one in a white-knuckled irongrip around the hilt of his short-sword. And there, finally, was Rymn. The Halfling's expression was what had stiffled the questions in my throat. I had seen that look in his eyes many times before. Pride and caution. But this time it was not directed at his man-sized glass containers, or a circle of powdered silver – this time, that gaze was solely for me, and I knew from that look, that my unique awakening had been at his hand. And for all Rymn's power, he had never been able to bring the dead back to life. Not to life.

I willed my body to stand, and as it did, I felt a deep, black lump form in my stomach. A sucking feeling of emptiness - and unquencable appetite. A longing, previously unknown to me, shot through me, riding on the pangs of hunger-pains, rolling out of that black lump inside me. I looked back up at my friends, and following their gaze, saw that I had unknowingly placed a clawed hand over my grey-skinned stomach. My body was elongated, and deform. A rattling sound made itself known at the edge of my hearing, something I had never heard before – Jorrik's blade, clattering against the inside of the scabbard, his sword-arm shaking. It was then I realized that the dwarf was afraid. That I was the object of his fear. And I knew then, with certainty, that whatever I had now, was not a continuation of what had been, but the beginning of something altogether different. A warmth snaked up my arm, and my eyes darted away from Jorrik to find the source. Kasey. She was holding my hand in both of hers. Confused, I caught her gaze, and in her big blue eyes, I saw determination and elation slowly pushing away fear. Her grip on my hand tightened.

I cried. Though I felt no tears.

-Nearyn

Shadow Lodge

interesting story.

Was that create undead or reiencarnate?


Lord Foul II wrote:

interesting story.

Was that create undead or reiencarnate?

Thank you very much ^^

Create undead to raise her as a ghoul.

-Nearyn


Milo v3 wrote:
I do think undead have too many immunities personally, especially mind-affecting... I mean... why... vampires still have minds, ghosts still have minds.... It's easier to manipulate the mind of a superpowerful eldritch being formed from thousands of damned souls condensed into flesh than it is to manipulate the mind of a ghoul? You can't feint skeletons? You cannot be a badass paladin who intimidates shadows?

Most things immune to mind affecting that have minds are super alien and presumably don't think anything like humanoids. Undead, robots, awoken constructs, particularly weird aberrations, plants, oozes, etc.

Or some of these might just be lazy because a lot of the type doesn't have minds, and they don't bother with exceptions for the rarer creatures that do think.


Should have first raised her with reincarnate then used full body to create ghoul so you get two Nearyn's.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had one comment that I think got lost in the ghoul debate rather than being dismissed. The options in the second sentence were your (Ashiel's in case somebody sneaks in the middle) list of reactions/attitude shifts to someone being changed into a ghoul:

Berinor wrote:

Do you think it's unreasonable for a GM to say the transformed character is now an NPC? What about leaving the character as a PC but ruling out some of these options?

If your answer to the second one is that it's reasonable, I have no fundamental disagreement with your perspective. If it's that the GM is unreasonable, just one more question to elucidate the differences in our perspectives. When a PC is charmed by a villain, would you bat an eye at them killing that villain in their sleep if the PC had previously been a team player? I ask because I see the transformation, the forced alignment shift, and charming as ways that a character's perspective can change without the player's deciding to do so.

All of this is setting aside a GM's authority to change rules in Rule Zero.

I omitted an aside from the same post about what I think is the root of our different interpretations on the mace of blood and some subsequent hand-wringing from me. :-)

And I hope Mr. Goalpost will forgive me for my shifts in focus.


Milo v3 wrote:
BLloyd607502 wrote:
the Skinsaw man, who retains not just memories but all class levels and his life time obsession with one of the PCs.
That follows the rules, since the Skinsaw man didn't get ghoul fever he doesn't auto-lose his abilities.

To be fair that could equally just imply that its the Ghoul Fever, not becoming a ghoul that reduces them to a base ghoul.

Kind of like Amnesia makes you forget things, so on.
Anyway that's widely off topic, but to bring it on back to the main point of the thread; because in Golarion, in the majority of cases, undead means evil. It's a sad situation and I personally think its boring, but that's the Canon, because James Jacobs isn't fond of non-evil undead by his own word of god and I doubt that will change in the forseeable future.

As for 'if we change it now everyone will want to play one for a bit'? Well, yeah, the same way people would want to play sorcerers or wizards if Paizo had come out and gone 'Pulp rules everyone, all wizards are NPCs and evil', having an embargo on something makes people more interested in it, doesn't mean everyone wanting to play it just wants to be special, just means they hope to play with different themes to those of the creators, for example a world where not all mages are Geb/Nex/The Tyrant.

Personally in our home game, my GM ruled that all undead are evil and hungry because Urgathoa, the first undead was evil and hungry and in her 'birth' she both tainted and defined what it means to be undead, same way the first daemon defined what it is to be a daemon.
So, necromancer undead creating spells are tainted by her power, all of them, since her priests suppress and assassinate any research/necromancers that work outside of her versions and thus things continue on with horror and pain generation after generation.
Which kind of fills in all the gaps neatly.


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Berinor wrote:
Do you think it's unreasonable for a GM to say the transformed character is now an NPC?

No, but I wouldn't want to and I think that it should be made clear at the beginning of a campaign what sort of things will cause a character to no longer belong to a player. Especially since there is nothing in question that actually causes a PC to no longer belong to a player, including being turned into an undead creature. This places it in the realm of house rules. I also believe that it's a missed opportunity.

Quote:
What about leaving the character as a PC but ruling out some of these options?

House rules should be declared at the beginning of the game. If the GM is going to force people to act certain ways, everyone needs to get that laid down first and decide whether or not that's acceptable. Personally, I have never found a good GM that says "Oh but you're X alignment, you wouldn't do that so you don't" to be a good GM and it actively goes against the whole point of alignment.

Quote:
If your answer to the second one is that it's reasonable, I have no fundamental disagreement with your perspective. If it's that the GM is unreasonable, just one more question to elucidate the differences in our perspectives. When a PC is charmed by a villain, would you bat an eye at them killing that villain in their sleep if the PC had previously been a team player?

Yes, but whether or not they were a team player is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the PC is charmed and being charmed has certain conditions, including being friendly towards the charming character. Mind-control is a completely different ballgame from alignment.

Quote:
I ask because I see the transformation, the forced alignment shift, and charming as ways that a character's perspective can change without the player's deciding to do so.

Charming and dominating abilities do a thing to a character that has specific mechanics that detail what they do and do not do. However, alignment also has specific mechanics that detail what it does and does not do.

Comparing the two is misguided as they are apples and potatoes.

Quote:
All of this is setting aside a GM's authority to change rules in Rule Zero.

Being charmed or dominated force characters to do certain things, or allow the charmer/dominator to force characters to do certain things, in much the same way fireball forces characters to take fire damage. These are things that are explicitly part of being affected by those abilities. However, alignment does not work that way and it is a house rule for a GM to force a character to do, or to prevent them from doing, anything due to their current alignment.

Because of this, I would have no issue with a vampire dominating my PC and making them do things they wouldn't normally do because that is an effect of that ability (and as a bonus it doesn't take the creative control away from the player) but I would assuredly have an issue with the GM suddenly saying that a character turned by a vampire suddenly can't do altruistic things because that is not a part of the effect and it definitely removes creative control of the character.

If a PC was turned by a vampire, for example, the vampire has control over the PC in most cases, so they can force the PC to do things they wouldn't normally do until the vampire is slain. Once the PC has been returned to being "free willed", their choices are theirs again because that's the way the game works.

Community Manager

Removed some posts and their responses. In addition, let's keep this thread on-topic, and leave the alignment discussion as it pertains to non-undead elsewhere.


Slithery D wrote:

Most things immune to mind affecting that have minds are super alien and presumably don't think anything like humanoids. Undead, robots, awoken constructs, particularly weird aberrations, plants, oozes, etc.

Or some of these might just be lazy because a lot of the type doesn't have minds, and they don't bother with exceptions for the rarer creatures that do think.

Actually most undead are sentient and I'd imagine even if you go with the explanation of something like planar energy from the negative energy plane warps their personalities and minds so they function too different.... then why don't outsiders possess such an immunity, they are much more eldritch beings than undead. They're immortal beings made from belief, concepts and souls. Even outsiders from the negative energy plane, effectively bits of the plane sealed in negatively powered flesh made from pure entropy itself lacks the protection that humans have when charged with negative energy.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Slithery D wrote:

Most things immune to mind affecting that have minds are super alien and presumably don't think anything like humanoids. Undead, robots, awoken constructs, particularly weird aberrations, plants, oozes, etc.

Or some of these might just be lazy because a lot of the type doesn't have minds, and they don't bother with exceptions for the rarer creatures that do think.

Actually most undead are sentient and I'd imagine even if you go with the explanation of something like planar energy from the negative energy plane warps their personalities and minds so they function too different.... then why don't outsiders possess such an immunity, they are much more eldritch beings than undead. They're immortal beings made from belief, concepts and souls. Even outsiders from the negative energy plane, effectively bits of the plane sealed in negatively powered flesh made from pure entropy itself lacks the protection that humans have when charged with negative energy.

Oddly enough, you can just drop a thanatopic spell or be an undead sorcerer and suddenly that gap is crossed as well.

Though my vote is "sort of laziness", stemming from what I imagine was probably the same sort of issues that lead to elves being immune to ghoul paralysis (it's a funny story). Undead were likely giving blanket immunities to mind-affecting things because of wargame roots or the fact the initial undead were all mindless skeletons/zombies, then it was continually grandfathered in.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Simplified Undead Template wrote:
Undead are harmed by positive energy and healed by negative energy.

Easiest way to implement undead creatures in the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok. I think that at this point I'll list what I think are our fundamental disagreements. If you like, we can discuss but I think it's almost differences of definition. I want to be especially clear that just because I view things this way doesn't mean I think your perspective is wrong. It's just approaching the game with slightly different definitions like Euclidean geometry vs. projective geometry.

I think you're right that the shape of what will make you no longer a PC belongs before it happens to you. If your goals no longer align enough with the group, that's probably a reasonable line. Specifics don't have to be there (e.g. "become a monster" is probably enough whether it's ghoul, spectre, chaos beast, vampire, etc.)

I think that you view a forced alignment shift entirely at face value. That's not the way I view it because alignment reflects values combined with actions. I think it's a derived statistic, if you will, not an inherent one. That means that unless your values change or you took actions that indicate as much, your alignment can't change. Since it's instant, that must mean it's your values that changed.

In general I agree that mind control is different from alignment, but charm is similar to my perspective on forced alignment shift because liking this person is a value (ok, calling it that is a stretch, but you get the point) that the player didn't decide on. If they don't act on those values, they are improperly nullifying a condition that was applied to them.

I chose charm instead of dominate because the control isn't absolute and so the way it manifests still allows a lot of player agency. That team player bit was just to head off the possibility that the character would, in fact, kill a close friend in his/her sleep since charm doesn't stop you from doing that if it's your personality.

The way being turned into a vampire would affect a character in my campaign would take some thought, but if I decided they had the same soul, I would work with them to figure out what's different between vampires and mortals. I don't think I would do an immediate alignment change since that indicates to me that it's probably either not the same soul or they have something controlling them which would not be good for long-term vampirism. I think it's worth calling out that there is a lot of middle ground between "you're you but with powers" and "you can't do anything altruistic" that I think better represents the transformation. I believe that determination was deliberately left to the GM rather than the omission indicating that there's no change.

If there are rules issues with what I have said here, I'd be happy to be corrected. I'm also happy to talk about problems this could cause. What I'm not trying to do is say that because I think it should be this way I think your perspective is wrong. I hope you can approach my perspective the wrong way.

tl;dr: I see it differently and I think that difference is interesting and helps me refine my view!

Edit: I was composing this when Liz came in. I might be able to rephrase this without the forced alignment aspects, but I'm lazy. Plus, it serves as a reasonable stripped-down version of what is relevant to the OP's point since the OP's point was about how becoming undead shifts your personality, not diet, schedule, or raw game mechanics.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Easiest way to implement undead creatures in the game.

I've written that as one of my houserules to the creature types, just turn undead into a subtype that has count as undead rather than living and swap energy for healing. Then make things like skeletons and zombies constructs with the undead subtype... *mumbles* I also removed fey... because those things make no sense.... Should be native outsiders...


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Berinor wrote:
I think that you view a forced alignment shift entirely at face value. That's not the way I view it because alignment reflects values combined with actions. I think it's a derived statistic, if you will, not an inherent one. That means that unless your values change or you took actions that indicate as much, your alignment can't change. Since it's instant, that must mean it's your values that changed.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works within the rules. Everything has an alignment because alignment is a mechanical effect. You are interjecting the entire notion of values where it just doesn't exist, perhaps because it's more comfortable to you or you like the idea. However, everything in the game has an alignment even if it's incapable of having values in the first place. Neutral, for example, is not the state of having no alignment it is the state of having a Neutral alignment.

Quote:
In general I agree that mind control is different from alignment, but charm is similar to my perspective on forced alignment shift because liking this person is a value (ok, calling it that is a stretch, but you get the point) that the player didn't decide on. If they don't act on those values, they are improperly nullifying a condition that was applied to them.

But again, the difference is charm effects have specified effects. Effects that alignment does not. This is the key difference and I feel like I'm repeating it over and over and over again. It does not say that it does, so it does not do.

Charm and domination effects do control characters and in specific ways and force characters to do things they wouldn't choose to do otherwise. It is more comparable to using telekinesis to hurl someone around against their will than it is to alignment. As I said earlier, you're comparing apples and potatoes.

Quote:
I chose charm instead of dominate because the control isn't absolute and so the way it manifests still allows a lot of player agency. That team player bit was just to head off the possibility that the character would, in fact, kill a close friend in his/her sleep since charm doesn't stop you from doing that if it's your personality.

Charm effects do far more than make you treat your charmer as if you were friendly to them. The charmer can also force you to do things that you wouldn't do by overpowering your force of personality with their own, no skill checks or negotiating involved. A succubus can look at her charmed minion and say "Give me the key to your father's vault" and even if they wouldn't do that for a friend, she crushes his Charisma with her own and he hands over the key.

Again, the agency comes from the player being free from anything except what charm explicitly entails. A charm cannot make a player turn into a rabbit if it's something they cannot do. A charm cannot render them helpless. A charm doesn't make them suddenly want to rabidly kill all of their allies. A charm doesn't make them suddenly share your politics. It only does what it says it does.

That's where the player's agency while charmed comes from. Because outside of the control explicitly mentioned the player is otherwise completely free. Alignment is the same way. Alignment does not control player agency and thus players have total agency.

Quote:
The way being turned into a vampire would affect a character in my campaign would take some thought, but if I decided they had the same soul, I would work with them to figure out what's different between vampires and mortals.

Well we know what's different between vampires and mortals...

Adapting to those differences can be good roleplaying fuel. However, the differences are exactly what it says they are.

Quote:
I don't think I would do an immediate alignment change since that indicates to me that it's probably either not the same soul or they have something controlling them which would not be good for long-term vampirism.

Okay, for clarity, even though I would agree with that it's also a house rule. Which is fine, I think in general the template's pretty dumb. However, in Pathfinder their alignment does suddenly change to evil. How this is explained is up to the player and GM. It could just be that they have been tainted by the same [Evil] that's apparently involved in animate dead and similar things at the moment of their transformation, or it might be that they wake up on the reeeeaaaallly wrong side of the bed.

Point is, there's nothing that prevents them from returning to their usual mode of operations. They still have their free agency. Anything beyond that is not Pathfinder.

Quote:
I think it's worth calling out that there is a lot of middle ground between "you're you but with powers" and "you can't do anything altruistic" that I think better represents the transformation. I believe that determination was deliberately left to the GM rather than the omission indicating that there's no change.

Oh of course there is. There's the sudden need to figure out everything about being something other than what you were. It's like saying someone gets reincarnated as a halfling when they were a human. Suddenly they have to deal with figuring out what it's like to be a halfling and having to get a step-stool to use the toilet. There's a lot of RP potential there.

Quote:
If there are rules issues with what I have said here, I'd be happy to be corrected. I'm also happy to talk about problems this could cause. What I'm not trying to do is say that because I think it should be this way I think your perspective is wrong.

Nah, it's cool. I think I've pointed out all the rule issues here and elsewhere in the thread. What I would like to add is that there's nothing wrong with your perspective either as far as I think it's a good idea.

Notice, it's a great starting point for coming up with an interesting way to roleplay, as long as we remember that it's an idea and not a rule. It was an interesting idea for me to roleplay my Paladin as mentally unstable when she was Wisdom drained. It was not a rule to roleplay my Paladin as mentally unstable when she was Wisdom drained. And I wouldn't want it to be a rule either because it doesn't need to be. There is more room for creativity without it being and trying to "force" people to be creative isn't cool.

Quote:
I hope you can approach my perspective the wrong way.

Well, I'm hoping to approach it the right way actually. I have no issue with the themes you're talking about, merely the issue that it's not the rules and as it's not the rules it shouldn't be pressed onto anyone, player, GM, or whatever. If you had a character who was turned into a vampire, you now have a choice of how you want to handle that, and from there you can decide how you want to roleplay your condition.

Quote:
tl;dr: I see it differently and I think that difference is interesting and helps me refine my view!

It's definitely interesting. I'm just advocating that it's not and shouldn't be the only way and that even in the same game the impact could affect characters differently. It's your prerogative.

Quote:

Edit: I was composing this when Liz came in. I might be able to rephrase this without the forced alignment aspects, but I'm lazy. Plus, it serves as a reasonable stripped-down version of what is relevant to the OP's point since the OP's point was about how becoming undead shifts your personality, not diet, schedule, or raw game mechanics.

S'cool. :)


Milo v3 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Easiest way to implement undead creatures in the game.
I've written that as one of my houserules to the creature types, just turn undead into a subtype that has count as undead rather than living and swap energy for healing. Then make things like skeletons and zombies constructs with the undead subtype... *mumbles* I also removed fey... because those things make no sense.... Should be native outsiders...

Wouldn't that make it impossible to heal skeletons and zombies with inflict spells, given that constructs are immune to necromancy effects? Also, I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to cure spells...weird.


Ashiel wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Easiest way to implement undead creatures in the game.
I've written that as one of my houserules to the creature types, just turn undead into a subtype that has count as undead rather than living and swap energy for healing. Then make things like skeletons and zombies constructs with the undead subtype... *mumbles* I also removed fey... because those things make no sense.... Should be native outsiders...
Wouldn't that make it impossible to heal skeletons and zombies with inflict spells, given that constructs are immune to necromancy effects? Also, I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to cure spells...weird.
Cure Light wrote:
When laying your hand upon a living creature,

No, they aren't immune, but it doesn't do anything.

They aren't living.


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Ashiel wrote:
Wouldn't that make it impossible to heal skeletons and zombies with inflict spells, given that constructs are immune to necromancy effects? Also, I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to cure spells...weird.

It would still effect them because those spells have specific rules for effecting undead, and those skeletons and zombies are undead. Specific verse general and all that.

Quote:

No, they aren't immune, but it doesn't do anything.

They aren't living.

Umm... "Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell deals damage to them instead of curing their wounds. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage." There is a reason the target line of the spell is creature not living creature.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Wouldn't that make it impossible to heal skeletons and zombies with inflict spells, given that constructs are immune to necromancy effects? Also, I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to cure spells...weird.

It would still effect them because those spells have specific rules for effecting undead, and those skeletons and zombies are undead. Specific verse general and all that.

Quote:

No, they aren't immune, but it doesn't do anything.

They aren't living.

Umm... "Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell deals damage to them instead of curing their wounds. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage." There is a reason the target line of the spell is creature not living creature.

Yeah I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to positive energy by virtue of their type. The type only bars healing on their own. Weird. Likely an oversight.


Milo v3 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Wouldn't that make it impossible to heal skeletons and zombies with inflict spells, given that constructs are immune to necromancy effects? Also, I just noticed that constructs aren't immune to cure spells...weird.

It would still effect them because those spells have specific rules for effecting undead, and those skeletons and zombies are undead. Specific verse general and all that.

Quote:

No, they aren't immune, but it doesn't do anything.

They aren't living.

Umm... "Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell deals damage to them instead of curing their wounds. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage." There is a reason the target line of the spell is creature not living creature.

I was referring to this line, actually.

And constructs aren't living creatures.


bigrig107 wrote:

I was referring to this line, actually.

And constructs aren't living creatures.

I sincerely think you have misunderstood what I'm talking about. I have not suggested at all the constructs are living creatures..... I said that skeletons under my houserules are constructs with the undead subtype, and being undead the spell functions under the line in the spell that says how it works on undead.


Milo v3 wrote:
bigrig107 wrote:

I was referring to this line, actually.

And constructs aren't living creatures.
I sincerely think you have misunderstood what I'm talking about. I have not suggested at all the constructs are living creatures..... I said that skeletons under my houserules are constructs with the undead subtype, and being undead that function under the line in the spell that says how it works on undead.

I think you're misunderstanding what I was responding to.

I said that back to Ashiel when she said that constructs weren't immune to cure spells, and I pointed out that they just didn't do anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First, oops on the "read mine the wrong way". It's a side effect of editing and I meant to say "same way". You figured it out, though. :-)

Other than non-intelligent undead, every creature that is incapable of having values is Neutral. Because all creatures must have an alignment, it needs a default setting. That's one of the roles Neutral serves, but not the only one.

Charm has specified effects, but they're actually pretty limited.

1.) You treat the charmer as a close friend or ally (treated as "friendly")
2.) You view the charmer's words and actions in the best possible light
3.) The charmer can issue you commands with an opposed Charisma check

Reactions and diplomacy don't affect PCs, but even in the world of RAW in PFS, I would wager the number of GMs who would let you attack your charmer out of the blue is pretty small. The only part of that explicitly listed in the spell is that if they command you to stop and win an opposed Charisma check, you have to stop killing them.

I say this principally to show that there are many places in the rules where there are role-playing aspects that are not explicitly listed, but that doesn't mean that expecting people to follow them is house rules.

Ok, that's it for the part of this post that's not explicitly about becoming undead.

The rules don't actually say that when you become a vampire. They say that most vampires are evil. Allowing a vampire to be non-evil is no more a house rule than allowing a goblin that isn't chaotic evil. It's generally accepted that the norm is stronger for undead, but it's not universal.

PRD wrote:
The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign. Only in the case of relatively unintelligent monsters (creatures with an Intelligence of 2 or lower are almost never anything other than neutral) and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind) is the listed alignment relatively unchangeable.

Since not all vampires need to be evil, a new vampire doesn't need to be evil. Determining how strong that alignment norm is and by what mechanism it arises or is enforced is another of the RP aspects that's deliberately left to the GM or the table's social contract.

You could call that a house rule, also, but considering the section talking about what alignments mean explicitly calls out GM adjudication, the way to sort that out doesn't really have a RAW answer. Figuring out how that works is the GM's responsibility and calling anything other than laissez-faire as a house rule isn't accurate. There's a whole spectrum that's consistent with the RAW.

And in case it isn't clear, this response is only partially for you, Ashiel. You have a solid grasp of the rules and a strong model of what they should look like and that's great. But when you make assertions that are consistent with the rules but not the only way that's consistent with the rules, it's important to have a counterpoint so people with a less confident view can decide for themselves what the rules say as a jumping off point to how it'll work in their group.

Note: because of the device I'm using to type this, copy-pasting is onerous, so I'm being lazy about that and restating some of your points instead since all of our posts are too long to quote wholesale. If any part is unclear, let me know.


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Berinor wrote:
Reactions and diplomacy don't affect PCs, but even in the world of RAW in PFS, I would wager the number of GMs who would let you attack your charmer out of the blue is pretty small. The only part of that explicitly listed in the spell is that if they command you to stop and win an opposed Charisma check, you have to stop killing them.

Gonna pause you here...

Dictionary.com [Friendly] wrote:


adjective, friendlier, friendliest.
1. characteristic of or befitting a friend; showing friendship:
a friendly greeting.
2. like a friend; kind; helpful:
a little friendly advice.
3. favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support:
a friendly bank.
4. not hostile or at variance; amicable:
a friendly warship; friendly natives.
5. easy to use, operate, understand, etc. (usually used in combination): a consumer-friendly instruction manual;
a friendly food processor.
6. able to coexist with something without harm or trouble (usually used in combination): environmentally friendly building materials;
a child-friendly restaurant.

Again, this is a mighty awesome potato patch. Yessir.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
Berinor wrote:
Reactions and diplomacy don't affect PCs, but even in the world of RAW in PFS, I would wager the number of GMs who would let you attack your charmer out of the blue is pretty small. The only part of that explicitly listed in the spell is that if they command you to stop and win an opposed Charisma check, you have to stop killing them.

Gonna pause you here...

Dictionary.com [Friendly] wrote:


adjective, friendlier, friendliest.
1. characteristic of or befitting a friend; showing friendship:
a friendly greeting.
2. like a friend; kind; helpful:
a little friendly advice.
3. favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support:
a friendly bank.
4. not hostile or at variance; amicable:
a friendly warship; friendly natives.
5. easy to use, operate, understand, etc. (usually used in combination): a consumer-friendly instruction manual;
a friendly food processor.
6. able to coexist with something without harm or trouble (usually used in combination): environmentally friendly building materials;
a child-friendly restaurant.

Again, this is a mighty awesome potato patch. Yessir.

You know better than this. The spell says parenthetically, "treat the target's attitude as friendly." "Attitude" is pretty clearly the game term on the spectrum of hostile, unfriendly, indifferent, friendly, helpful.


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Yes, and friendly is not hostile.
EDIT

Charm and Compulsion wrote:
A charm makes the subject a friend of the caster;

Words have meanings. Charms make you treat them as a friend. Being hostile and attacking and/or murdering them is not treating them as a friend.

Again, you continue to compare two things that are not even close to the same.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:

Yes, and friendly is not hostile.

EDIT
Charm and Compulsion wrote:
A charm makes the subject a friend of the caster;

Words have meanings. Charms make you treat them as a friend. Being hostile and attacking and/or murdering them is not treating them as a friend.

Again, you continue to compare two things that are not even close to the same.

I don't see why magic that makes you "regard you as its trusted friend and ally" must affect the way you're allowed to act based on the meaning of the word and how friends treat each other but magic that makes you "become chaotic evil" cannot based on the meaning of that term and the way evil creatures act.

As I look through the undead, though, the way they're evil doesn't come up often. I agree that any enforcement of that is house rules, but PCs as any of these monstrous races is outside the normal assumptions. The closest I have seen to specific guidance along these lines say cursed lycanthropes should be treated as NPCs while transformed and statements in the CRB that GMs should seriously consider not allowing evil PCs. <-- attempt to give a nod to the thread topic


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Berinor wrote:
...and statements in the CRB that GMs should seriously consider not allowing evil PCs. <-- attempt to give a nod to the thread topic

The wording you're thinking of, is as follows:

CRB: Alignment wrote:
The first six alignments, lawful good through chaotic neutral, are standard alignments for player characters. The three evil alignments are usually for monsters and villains. With the GM's permission, a player may assign an evil alignment to his PC, but such characters are often a source of disruption and conflict with good and neutral party members. GMs are encouraged to carefully consider how evil PCs might affect the campaign before allowing them.

While this does not permit a GM to take away a character, it does let them disallow the creation of evil characters. Naturally, talking about the right to take away a character could be a moot point, as a sufficiently determined GM can just declare that rocks fall and you die.

I would probably react to a GM who assassinated my character, because they disapproved of him, in much the same way I'd react to a GM who intends to take away control of evil characters, and then introduces elements in his campaign that forcefully changes alignment to evil. That is to say I'd inform the GM of their collossal conceit, and then leave the table.

On a note related not to taking away characters, but related to the disruptive quality of evil characters in good parties, I maintain that this is a myth, born of disruptive players.

A little slice of my own experience with evil characters and how disruptive they are:
When I mastered a Rise of the Runelords campaign, the monk and the rogue were effective LE and CE, but they were mechanically LN and CN because neither player was comfortable declaring their characters were evil. These characters worked in perfect tandem with the rest of the group, the chaotic good bard, the neutral good witch, and the lawful good paladin. The influences of the party even made the rogue change alignment during play, culminating in her change to CG, following the death of the group's Paladin.

In my present Jade Regent game, I'm playing half of a twin duo of chaotic evil ulfen Gorum-worshippers, and what conflict there is in the party stems not from their alignment, but from the neutral good gnome spiritualist being a racist who disapproves of their religion. The one time my character almost caused trouble for the party, was when he attacked a sexist dockworker who was cowing his wife - the attack happened after offering the dockworker the chance to run away and not fight. In a recent twist, the group's ratfolk alchemist, who likes the twins quite fine, saw them get hit with unholy blight, and realized they were unaffected. Realizing this made them evil, the player is now putting her character through a bit of a personal crisis, where she's wondering about the meaning of evil, and whether she should be judging the twins on this information, or on her friendship with them. It's fun watching her acting with cautious wonder, whenever my character does something, her character's does not equate with evil.

-Nearyn


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Nearyn wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Being the person running the game Nearyn is referring to in his spoiler, I can only say that yes, it works well. There were a few issues early on, but the main issue isn't with the characters in question running around butchering people wholesale for the fun of it ... but the fact that they wouldn't see a moral problem in doing so.

They don't do it because it'd lead to more problems than it's worth, and because they don't want to see their comrades get into trouble, but to them, life is cheap, even worthless, by its own merit, but also that life can have value if it is lived for a reason and with purpose.

Nearyn once explained their take on life as this:

Imagine two similar situations, where either of the twins have an city guard disarmed, down on his knees and begging for his life.

The first guard pleads for his life, saying "don't kill me, I don't want to die", and the PC asks him "Why shouldn't I kill you?". The guard replies to this: "I'm not ready to die yet. I've got so much life left to live".

That guy's dead the very next second. There's no immediate reason for him to live on.

The second situation plays out identically, but the guard replies to the "why not?"-question by saying "Because I have a wife and three children, who have no way of sustaining themselves if I don't provide for them."

That guy would be allowed to run. Because the twins' beef with HIM does not extend to his family.

Of course, if their beef with the guard was bad enough, they'd still kill the second one too ... Chaotic and all that ... but that's the general gist of it.

Evil characters can certainly work in a party. It depends entirely on the exact outlook. A CE or NE murder-hobo would not work well in a group of LE paladins, that goes without saying ... although I'm sure Nearyn, cheeky sod that he is ;), would still argue that he could make that work, because he's like that.


The Alkenstarian wrote:
Evil characters can certainly work in a party. It depends entirely on the exact outlook. A CE or NE murder-hobo would not work well in a group of LE paladins, that goes without saying ... although I'm sure Nearyn, cheeky sod that he is ;), would still argue that he could make that work, because he's like that.

That sounds great actually. In comparison, the same Paladin that got Wisdom drained ended up with a bit of a romance with the party's Lawful Evil Hellknight.


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Berinor wrote:
I don't see why magic that makes you "regard you as its trusted friend and ally" must affect the way you're allowed to act based on the meaning of the word and how friends treat each other but magic that makes you "become chaotic evil" cannot based on the meaning of that term and the way evil creatures act.

I'm going to try this one more time.

Altering a characters actions is an explicit function of a charm, specifically causing a character to act a certain way in certain situations based on certain circumstances.

Alignment does not force you to act in any way.

I'm having a hard time breaking it down any more than this.

One does a thing.
One does not do a thing.

One does.
One doesn't.

Does.
Doesn't.

Charm explicitly makes the recipient act as a friend of the caster. Attacking and/or murdering the caster is clearly in direct conflict with being a friend or friendly to them and outside of the limits of what charm enforces.

Alignment, however, explicitly makes it clear that it does not control or limit your actions. It doesn't do anything to your character that is not purely mechanical and has no control over your actions.


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Chaotic evil creatures can have friends they like and trust.

Think, Darth Maul, Alex from Clockwork Orange, Top Dollar from The Crow, or Loki from Avengers.

Now imagine they think you are their closest friend. They're still all dangerous psychopaths, but they aren't going to attack you without very good reason.


This is a very refreshing topic, and I'm glad to see the consensus is overwhelmingly to the fact that "undead = evil always" is wrong, and that those who pass on and retain their free will may choose to be good or evil, or retain their previous alignment.

Reminds me of my long standing concept for a "Good" Necromancer class, that I call "Bone Dwellers". Bone Dwellers are a branch off of most common necromancers, the main differences are they do not enslave spirits, good, evil or otherwise, nor do they make pacts with eldritch beings or dark gods.

This begs a little long winded explanation, bare with me here; (spoiler tags are for your viewing comfort and to avoid WALLS OF TEXT!)

Spoiler:
On any battlefield their will be the dead, and the dying. In war as in life, people must die, sooner or later. Many things compel a soul to leave their broken mortal vessel after death; ultimate faith in their religion, promises of a warrior's promised afterlife (think Valhalla), agents of their god coming to claim their souls personally (ala Valkyries), or just the quiet content to drift to other side with the winds of the great cycle of life, death and rebirth.

But for some souls, it isn't easy, or even possible. Such earthbound souls for reasons known only to themselves or even obscured to them entirely cannot pass on, something or someone keeps them locked to mortal plane, prisoners in their own lifeless corpses, screaming for release with no one to hear them.

Few are the souls who can endure this kind of unearthly agony, and the questions it brings "Has by god(dess) abandoned me?", "Was I not faithful enough?", "Has my life as bandit back to haunt me?", "Have I not earned my place in the Warrior's afterlife?", the eventuality is all but certain, for the blackest hearts in death are often those most valorous and selfless in life.

All too often the unholy imprisonment is too much and such souls break free, broken of morality they rise as terrible, tormented spirits of unthinking vengeance against all mortals; Wraiths, Poltergeist, Banshees formless horrors one and all are often born this way.

Worse still is those dammed who bring their own rotten corpses back to unlife, drawing on some sort of latent ability or energy preeminent around them, or even being visited by hellspawned demons or a sinful necromancer offering them unlife in exchange for the token service of some unobtainable goal to bind them forever to their service, or simply raising them against their will entirely, if such a will still even exists.

Spoiler:
So where am I going with this? Well the fact the above happens is why the Bone Dwellers exists in the first place. They actively seek out such trapped souls, seeking to free them from endless suffering before before they turn, and become unredeemable.

Such souls will find themselves suddenly pulled from their wailing corporeal imprisonment, to wake up in a skeletal body fully under their control, sometimes their own body if bones where all that remained, though not always.

When first awakening into this new form the soul will gasp for breath to realize they have no lungs with which to breath with, they may try to blink their eyes and feel as if they are in fact blinking yet reach into their eyeless sockets to realize they have no eyes at all.

This sudden shift can be thought of as unsettling, but it is a wondrous change for the better for which no words can actively describe for those who endured weeks, months, or in the case of the very strong willed years of imprisonment in a jail of their own rotting carcass.

After a few minutes to acclimate themselves, to remember how to stand and walk again, which like riding a bicycle is something no one never truly forgets how to do, the Bone Dweller then explains their intentions to the newly risen soul; The body they inhabit in there's, to do with as they please with no strings attached or lofty obligations, not even to the Bone Dweller who spent all the time and effort of assembling a skeletal body for them to inhabit.

The intent of this, as explained to the soul by the Bone Dweller is to give them the ability to act out or find whatever it was that kept them from finding peace in the first place, so they might at long last do so; never saying goodbye to a loved one, apologizing to a life long friend or military leader they admired or served under for some wrong they never got the chance to write, or even to avenge the death of themselves or someone they cared for, perhaps also wanted to redeem their now lost soul in doing so, though for many even they know not what kept them bound to the earth.

Though a scant few choose to go off on their own, the overwhelming majority offer themselves sword and soul to the Bone Dweller, swearing fealty to them, as a loyal soldier or righteous paladin would to their superior or great cause. No longer fearing death these skeletal beings make for powerful allies, and Bone Dwellers are often found in the company of several such beings.

These skeletal ones, thanks to having their own free will and a spectral mind with which to think with retain most if not all of their memories and abilities they held in life, and often choose weapons which they knew well in life, sometimes holding onto the very same weapons they died clutching, and banding themselves in the armor they wore in life, even if it is tattered and a little rusty.

Such keepsakes, even non functional ones such as necklaces, rings or a lucky pair of boots are common among these redeemed undead, things that remained them of from their living lives, such trinkets keep them focused on their ultimate goal of finding peace, or remind themselves even in this state of undeath they are still themselves in spirit, and they musten give into the prejudice they and their Master will undoubtedly face, and turn from redeemable to unredeemable.

Spoiler:
In truth these fears of prejudices are often well founded, they are their beholden savior are rarely treated any better at first contact with others not aware of the differences between a common necromancer and the enlightened Bone Dweller.

But in time and in more open minded cultures and lands the Bone Dwellers make a name for their vocation as redeemers and enabler of lost sprites, who would otherwise be plaguing the living in one unspeakable way or another.

With time and many great and selfless sacrifices by themselves and their skeletal cohorts Bone Dwellers often can sway the hearts of even lawful good organizations, a righteous paladin who spends his time with a Bone Dweller may change his opinion of her and her followers over the course of their time together.

He may at first recite a pray of undead slaying before attacking the Bone Dweller and her skeletal party just to have one of the undead interrupt him and continue the pray word for word right until the end, following up with the appropriate finishing salute or gesture, then proceeding to introduce themselves as the Paladin's long lost battle brother who fell on the battlefield years before.

More so after allying with the Bone Dweller will the Paladin first hand see the selflessness of the her comrades, one may push him out of the way of a lethal blow of some giant abomination, having his skeletal form shattered so that the Paladins' own fleshy body is spared the death blow and be allowed the chance he needs to slay the beast.

Such selflessness as well as spending many a long nights conversing with them will enlighten the Paladin of just how much in common they are, despite the gap of life between them. Such Paladins will often grow to stand by their allies even against their own short minded superiors, and help with word and action to cemented a place for the Bone Dwellers in society at large.

Although true acceptance is long and hard fought it is often worth all the effort placed into it, Bone Dwellers who find such acceptance for their vocation are often seen as serving an importance equal to those lawful authorities, keeping the damned from rising in the first place means fewer undead to be smited and fewer still to mass under a necromancer or Death Knight's banner of unholy conquest.

Spoiler:
The skeletons themselves often act much differently from the norms of a undead pile of bones, they do not chatter and creak, nor gaze around menacingly, they hold themselves and act as if flesh and blood still wrapped their bleached bones.

In fact the subtle differences between genders are often discernible as well. For example a female soul in an equally female skeletal body will walk "from the hips" as a woman would, while a male soul inhabiting a suitably masculine body will walk "from the shoulders" as man would, though it is not unheard of a soul who felt out of place in the born gender associated body to request a skeleton of the opposing sex, for the comfort of their charges is their undead state is always the top responsibility for a Bone Dweller.

Some females will also choose to wear feminine breastplate, even if they no longer have the curves to fill them, preservation of their outward gender identity is often very important to them.

The possibility also exists for a skeleton in full covering clothing or armor to fully hide their undead existence from the rest of the world, either by the donning of full plate (with extra padding to make for their thinner, muscle lacking forms) complete with full face helmet or voluminous cloaks with see though face wraps that cover ever exposed inch of their gaunt fleshless bodies.

This allows they to accompany their master in places they would otherwise not be welcome or openly attacked.

Other nuisances of the living with bleed over into their undead existence as well, things like the rattling of fingers on a table in idle boredom, whistling a tune as one walks, somehow able to do so without lips, or even being bothered by a "bum knee" they no longer possess, or no longer has the aching musculature that one bothered them so.

So is that things that might disable a normal person's abilities will affect them as well. Such as having their lower jaw removed or destroyed will prevent them from speaking until their jaw is reattached and/or repaired or a new one is found. Attempting to speak without a lower jaw will produce the unintelligible garble like one attempting to speak with the case of the mumps.

A head injury likewise would disorient them greatly until it is repaired or the skull replaced, a chest injury to would be uncomfortable as that is where their soul lies same as the living.

Skeletal Souls may in fact, "close their eyes" to avoid being blinded or just to focus on their other sense as the living would, for they can still hear and feel as well, even if smell and taste are lost to them for obvious reasons. It is near impossible to tell when they have their eyes open or closed unless one is extremely preemptive or flat out asks them.

Speech is also something they retain, if not speaking with a somewhat hoarse and slightly unnerving version of their in life voice, including the retain of cultural word play and accents they possessed in life.

Spoiler:
Bone Dwellers are never of the Evil alignment, as to walk hand and hand with Evil is to shun everything it means to be a Bone Dweller.

Most often Bone Dwellers are Neutral or Chaotic Good, but can also be Lawful or Chaotic Neutral so long as they don't slip into the Evil side of Neutrality.

Those who find places openly in society as an accepted occupation or "guild" will some times choose the Lawful side of Good to better mesh with their mundane to holy allies.

One thing a Bone Dweller is forbidden to do is known in their order as the "Profaning of the Flesh", which forbids them from the use of undead servants, even willing ones who still possesses flesh on their bones.

To do so without damn good reason is subject one to summary discipline, and to do so willingly and frequently for long periods of time, or worse, using unwilling or subjugated spirits is a sin punishable by death and having one's soul banished to a blackness never to see the light of life again, or until such time their souls are considered redeemed and allowed to return to the great cycle, often such a decision is made by the formless, faceless benevolent godly being that watches over them.

The ligaments connecting bones are not counted as flesh, for obvious reasons, as they are necessary for the skeleton to remain a functional vessel.

Few, that's a lot of lore so far, what does everyone think? Any suggestions, compliments or complaints? If this is too off topic to the thread I can post this as it's own thread, but I think it's very relevant.

Also Loki is by definition True Neutral, Loki does what he wants, to who he wants, for whatever reason he wants, to call Loki evil is to forget who he is.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
JakeCWolf wrote:

This is a very refreshing topic, and I'm glad to see the consensus is overwhelmingly to the fact that "undead = evil always" is wrong, and that those who pass on and retain their free will may choose to be good or evil, or retain their previous alignment.

It is only the consensus among those who have all been clamoring for such while dissenting voices left it in dismay. I would not see it as quite representative.

Also, doing what you wish regardless of consequences for innocent people is NOT Neutral in PFRPG. It is Evil.

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