So if creating mindless undead through necromancy is still evil in 2e...


Prerelease Discussion

251 to 300 of 457 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
The Exchange

4 people marked this as a favorite.

old gamer rant

I can remember long ago, when Druids were a monster (and Orcs and goblins and ... other creatures) worked with or where EVIL, and therefore where killed on sight. Anyone actually working with them was an EVIL creature and Paladins and Right Minded Persons would fight them... and the world was a simpler place.

Then we let a few of them into polite society - after all they are NEUTRAL (new alignment), so we let them into "civilization" and Players could actually create Druid PCs and all was Good with the world and life was simpler... After all, we still have evil Orcs and Goblins and... stuff to fight!

Then we let a few of them Half-Orcs into polite society, into "civilization" and Players could actually create Half-Orc PCs.

But that was OK, after all, Goblins were still EVIL and "Paladins and Right Minded Persons would fight them... and the world was a simpler place".

Next thing you know, we'll be letting Players create Goblin PCs and we'll have to let them into polite society, into "civilization" and Players will actually create ... wait... wow...

old guy wonders back to his room to ponder days gone by...

The Exchange

Rysky wrote:
nosig wrote:
Rysky wrote:

It mentions "evil cunning", so just like Zombies, they probably have an in innate sense to kill.

Golems are made differently (but can go berserk).

Interesting scenario, though I doubt you could give them a vague order like "protect the humans". Something simple like do this repetitive thing over and over would probably work.

so, because the word "evil" is used to describe the "cunning" they have that gives them weapon & armor proficiency... they will act like Zombies and attack living creatures (if they have no other orders)?

The flavor text suggests that yes. Nothing in their writeup seems to suggest they simply stand around doing absolutely nothing if they have no one to give them orders.

but... nothing in their write-up seems to suggest that they DON'T just stand around doing absolutely nothing if they have no one to give them orders...

Golem and a skeleton are in a room... Golem doesn't wonder around and get into trouble, but the skeleton does?

I guess.


Rajnish Umbra, Shadow Caller wrote:
Ckorik wrote:

No - channeling energy is a newish part of the game. Clerics didn't care about that stuff in the first two editions.

The roots of the game clerics only cared about being lawful or chaotic - those were the only two alignments. It was generally assumed all monsters were chaotic and everything else was lawful.

I know good and evil was already in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, and channeling with alignment restrictions was around at least since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition from 1988.

If that's "newish" to you, then... thank you, it's just a year younger than I am. It's nice that some people still think that's young.

But sure, channeling and good/evil probably weren't in the Chainmail war game D&D was based on or the original D&D. But the original D&D was released 1974 and the basic set with good and evil was released only three years later, and AD&D 2ed with channeling 14 years later. Good and evil have been with D&D for nearly its entire existence, and alignment-based channeling for easily two thirds of its time.
For me, that's a lot more "ish" than "new".

Channel energy is a Pathfinder thing. In D&D 3.5 and earlier they had Turn Undead (Or Rebuke Undead for the evil clerics). Although it's description says it's done by channeling divine energy. Channel Energy replaced and expanded on that with Pathfinder. It fills the same role, but is more generalized with it being a heal/harm effect instead of being focused on undead. And in fact the turn undead part now requires a feat to use instead of being the default.

I think you're also mistaken with the alignment system. The 1977 version of the basic set introduced the 2 axis law/chaos and good/evil system, and AD&D followed on with it. But the 1981 basic set went back to the one axis Law/Chaos alignment and the BECMI system kept it. I started with the 1983 revised Basic Set, and I know it was an adjustment for me to go from just looking at law-chaos to having good and evil on there when I moved to AD&D (2nd ed).


nosig wrote:


ah... I've been playing for a long time. (40+ years now... sigh), and I can remember how "Channeling" was a new part of PFS. Prior to that Clerics could "Turn Undead" but not "Channel Neg/Pos Energy". So... what are you talking about?

Channeling positive/negative energy has been in the game since 3.0, so for nearly 20 years.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
If you want creating mindless undead to be Not-Evil then you need mindless undead to be Not-Evil. A fantasy world where you can easily create Not-Evil mindless undead will be significantly different from most fantasy settings we know. Also it will make creating Golems mostly unneeded
Golems are still more effective because the materials are easier to come by.

Bodies are pretty common, and animate dead is cheaper than most golems. But Golems don't have a hit die limit for you to control. I always thought that was weird, the classic trope of the necromancer with an army of the undead is basically impossible without some serious mojo. "Behold the mighty 20th level necromancer with his army of 80, 1 Hit Die zombies! That will take a low level cleric at least a couple of rounds to destroy with his channeled energy." At least they gave Tar Baphon a unique mythic ability to ignore the HD limit.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ryan Freire wrote:
nosig wrote:


ah... I've been playing for a long time. (40+ years now... sigh), and I can remember how "Channeling" was a new part of PFS. Prior to that Clerics could "Turn Undead" but not "Channel Neg/Pos Energy". So... what are you talking about?
Channeling positive/negative energy has been in the game since 3.0, so for nearly 20 years.

sort of.

In 3.0 a cleric could "Channel" to "Turn Undead" ... which if the cleric used Positive Energy it caused them to flee (which is a feat now) or (if 2X their level) turned them to dust ("Dusted 'em" was the phrase we used then). If the cleric used Negative energy it caused them to be "Awed" or "Commanded" (something that takes a feat now).

In PFS this was modified to allow the Cleric to effect things in an area - Allowing the cleric to "Burst Heal or Harm" in an AOE, doing a number of d6 dice in HP (healing or harm).

In later PFS splat books Variant Channeling was introduced giving a lot of other effects.

But Channeling positive/negative energy in 3.0/3.5 was a VERY different thing than it became in PFS...

But don't take my word for it, check out Scenario #0-07 Among the Living for how clerics back in 3.5 worked. The evil clerics in that don't have channeling as we know it - they can't "heal" undead or "harm" living creatures with their Channel Energy ability - in fact, I don't even think it is even mentioned in their stat block. OH! and they do have Heavy armor prof.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Are you sure about that ?

Very. Golems don't require dead bodies.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Are you sure about that ?
Very. Golems don't require dead bodies.

Some do. And besides. Corpses are a renewable resource. PCs make dozens of them every day.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It takes a lot longer to grow new ones than to put together some stone.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
nosig wrote:
Rysky wrote:
nosig wrote:
Rysky wrote:

It mentions "evil cunning", so just like Zombies, they probably have an in innate sense to kill.

Golems are made differently (but can go berserk).

Interesting scenario, though I doubt you could give them a vague order like "protect the humans". Something simple like do this repetitive thing over and over would probably work.

so, because the word "evil" is used to describe the "cunning" they have that gives them weapon & armor proficiency... they will act like Zombies and attack living creatures (if they have no other orders)?

The flavor text suggests that yes. Nothing in their writeup seems to suggest they simply stand around doing absolutely nothing if they have no one to give them orders.

but... nothing in their write-up seems to suggest that they DON'T just stand around doing absolutely nothing if they have no one to give them orders...

Golem and a skeleton are in a room... Golem doesn't wonder around and get into trouble, but the skeleton does?

I guess.

Actually the fact that they have an "Evil Cunning" suggests that they aren't apt to be idle, that and paired with the other mindless undead, Zombie, seems to paint that they will go forth and do not nice things if unattended.

Golems are completely Neutral, no evil cunning, no desire to kill. They do what they're told unless they go berserk.

Golem, Bestiary 1 p.159 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.


"Golems don't kill things unless they're ordered to because they're mindless" + "Skeletons are mindless and their fluff doesn't have any mention of them acting without orders" somehow = "Skeleton Are Psychos Who Kill Anything If They Don't Have Orders!"

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Their Alignment, flavor text, and descriptive text suggest otherwise.

The Exchange

Rysky wrote:
Their Alignment, flavor text, and descriptive text suggest otherwise.

Their Alignment, and the Zombies flavor text and descriptive text (which actually doesn't mention Skeletons) suggest otherwise.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Q: "Why do you think they would just go out of their way to kill things?"
A: "Because they are EVIL!"
Q: "Why do you think they are EVIL?"
A: "Because I think they would just go out of their way to kill things!"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Necromancy arcane school wrote:
The dread and feared necromancer commands undead and uses the foul power of unlife against his enemies.
Skeleton wrote:
Skeletons are the animated bones of the dead, brought to unlife through foul magic. While most skeletons are mindless automatons, they still possess an evil cunning imparted to them by their animating force—a cunning that allows them to wield weapons and wear armor.
undead type - five things almost everyone knows about undead wrote:
Undead are invariably evil, as are the means to create such beings.

It really seems to me that this discussion is moot. Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

IDK, a more infused or dusted or whatever PF2 in Golarion will probably generate a bit more arguments than even PF1. Frankly, I like a heavier handed setting in the CRB, but I know lots o' folks wont...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jane "The Knife" wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Their Alignment, flavor text, and descriptive text suggest otherwise.

Their Alignment, and the Zombies flavor text and descriptive text (which actually doesn't mention Skeletons) suggest otherwise.

No?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.

Because it's "foul magic" and the "foul power of unlife".

I agree that a more metaphysical argument for unlife being an extreme an ineluctable form of EVIL would be a bonus. But I also disagree with the arguments comparing creating undead to animating objects, in order to cast it as a neutral act.

It's "foul", so it's evil. Seems self-evident to me. <shrug>

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

"foul" is not "evil". Otyughs are disgusting, but mostly neutral hungry.


Warriorking9001 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Dasrak wrote:

And I certainly don't want to be stuck with rigid alignment rules that fall apart in any campaign that doesn't adhere to an allegorical good vs evil structure.

How about rigid alignment rules that serve as a starting point for subverting and doing interesting things with an entirely literal good vs. evil structure ?

I'm not particularly on board with undead being always Evil, if nothing else because there are memorable ghosts in Pathfinder products who are far from evil. Negative energy being inherently anti-life, fine, but Good applications for that should be trivial (like zapping the nasty parasites infecting the hapless rescue-object villagers du jour with it.) On the other hand, if the moral basis of the universe decrees it as Evil anyway, that's just another way into a campaign about people who heroically disagree with the moral basis of the universe.

My only issue with that is that the rules of the game and the universe of the game are still going to label them as evil, meaning that they cannot 'heroically disagree with the moral basis of the universe' without being smote by every paladin in the land.

That's not a bug. That's a campaign premise.


Rysky wrote:


Golems are made differently (but can go berserk).

Isn't that only flesh and clay golems ?

The Exchange

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.

so, perhaps a better question might be...

So WILL creating mindless undead through necromancy still be evil in 2e...

and if so, will mindless undead still be "Alignment: Always Evil"?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Wheldrake wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.

Because it's "foul magic" and the "foul power of unlife".

I agree that a more metaphysical argument for unlife being an extreme an ineluctable form of EVIL would be a bonus. But I also disagree with the arguments comparing creating undead to animating objects, in order to cast it as a neutral act.

It's "foul", so it's evil. Seems self-evident to me. <shrug>

The disconnect comes from where you to look deeper. Ok, so Undead use the "foul power of unlife". Fair enough. What is this power though?

It's Negative Energy. Okay, that's fair. It sure sounds ominous and Evil.

No it's actually Neutral. Oh, okay. Well that's weird. It's probably something the wizard or cleric does then.

No, actually, Negative Energy itself raises Evil creatures on its own. And the Outsiders made from it are Evil.

Oh, so it's Evil after all then.

No, it's Neutral.

That's the big wall you run into. Intelligent undead are specified as having their soul be "twisted" by Negative Energy into Evil. But only sometimes, not always (which just adds to the problem). And it's hard to explain how a Neutral energy would twist you into Evil. I mean souls are Positive Energy and can be all over the spectrum, but not Negative Energy. And there's no real reason for any of this.

And it gets harder with mindless undead, who don't actually have a soul to twist, so the entire driving thing is Negative Energy, which is Neutral. But mindless undead are Evil. And this happens by default, it doesn't even need spells.

But Flesh Golems, also animated (at least partly) by Negative Energy, and made from corpses, are Neutral. Not Evil.

So it's not actually that clear cut.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.

At some point everything boils down to "because the designers said so"


Isn't the experience of being undead also quite hellish? I thought that for example many undead suffer from endlessly ravenous hunger, and that feasting on flesh doesn't actually satisfy the craving, it just kind of dulls it.

I'm not sure how much of that is canon - what do we really know about the experience of being undead? Could you really morally justify creating something that is doomed to eternal suffering?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Unintelligent critters don't experience anything at all, normally. Thus it is 'animate', not 'create' or 'imbue'.

Golems and constructs are created by forcibly binding an extraplanar spirit into service as its 'power source'. Yet somehow they remain Neutral despite the creation of a slave prisoner with a job. If such a binding is not Evil the extension of the logic is that animating corpses/skeletons is no different.

The inferior material golems (flesh, clay, presumably others) that have a chance to go berserk during combat suggests that the less-than-stable material weakens metaphysically as the spirit within fights against the binding to destroy its prison and eventually be set free once more.

Hopefully PF2e codifies such bindings in a sensible way. Making animate dead Evil because all known ways of doing so are inherited from Urgathoa or [insert Deity/Demon Lord of the Undead here] is excellent.

Making animate object more accessible could solve some problems as well. The 'trope' of the bumbling apprentice repeatedly animating hordes of mops, brooms, buckets et al is impossible as things presently stand.


When did logic start applying to fictional fantasy worlds?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

James Jacobs has talked about reasons why mindless undead are evil quite a bit on the forums. Like here

James Jacobs wrote:

When you make a mindless undead, only a tiny fragment of the victim's soul is used to animate the undead. The soul itself goes on to be judged normally, or if the soul has ALREADY been judged, the fragments of soul left behind in the body (like the scent of one's body in a discarded garment) is what's used. This fragment gives the mindless undead the instinct to kill and ability to follow orders despite being non-intelligent, and while it's not EVIL on the scale of turning someone into a vampire or a ghoul, it's still evil enough that animate dead has the evil descriptor.

The soul itself would suffer in a non-destructive but painful way. Maybe something akin to having a fingernail torn off.

And here.

James Jacobs wrote:

If you're making something more than a mindless undead, the soul is corrupted and housed within the rotting body as part of the transformation into undead; this is why undead are almost always evil; and the retention of the corrupted soul is what grants them their intelligence and self-awareness.

But when you use animate dead to make a zombie or skeleton, the spell only uses a fraction of the soul. Not enough to prevent the soul from moving on to be judged, but enough to prevent the body from being raised from the dead until the undead body is destroyed.

Animate dead is NOT similar to animate object at all, since the creature made by the spell isn't a construct; it's undead. And that's why animate object is its own spell. You can cast animate object on a skeleton or corpse and the result LOOKS undead but is in fact just an animated object. Doing so is creepy and nasty, but isn't on the same scale of evil as creating undead.

And here as well

James Jacobs wrote:
Because when you turn someone undead, they can't be resurrected. It's a perversion of someone into something else. It's a combination of brainwashing, unnecessary surgical modification, slavery, and cruelty. Undeath is a mockery of life AND death. It's playing God. It's torture. It encourages the creation of more undead (since so many undead create spawn). It encourages cruelty (since all undead are evil, and thus spread evil). For starters.

There's plenty more. It's pretty clear it's something he believes very strongly in and has an idea of why. Hopefully the reasoning will make it into the core book.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Orville Redenbacher wrote:
When did logic start applying to fictional fantasy worlds?

The internal logic of a fictional world has always been important, even if that logic is "I can get hit with an anvil and not die because it's funny".


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think Animate Object would be a wonderful candidate for a low level spell. Make it able to animate things like brooms and chairs at 1st tier, up to houses and the like at 8th tier, with a +2 tier heighten effect to make the spell permanent.

As for undead, negative energy, etc - this really comes down to setting consistency. If they want to finally define negative energy as evil and positive energy as good, great, then I don't have a problem with mindless undead being evil. If the energy remains neutral but you have to sacrifice a creature to create undead, ranging from animals for lesser undead to people for greater undead, then I can buy that creating them is an evil act and that the creature might be invested with malice from the sacrifice. If they want to define creating a golem by forcibly binding an elemental spirit into its body against that spirit's will as evil, then great, that also goes a long way toward consistency.

If they leave everything vague and undefined, negative energy is still neutral, binding spirits into golems is still neutral, and yet mindless undead are still evil "just because," we'll have a problem.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Orville Redenbacher wrote:
When did logic start applying to fictional fantasy worlds?
The internal logic of a fictional world has always been important, even if that logic is "I can get hit with an anvil and not die because it's funny".

I see. Like Undead just being evil even though similar things arent?


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Golems are still more effective because the materials are easier to come by.

I wouldn't say easier to come by. Even bottom tier golems require pretty hefty amounts of stuff. A Wax Golem (CR3) needs 7,000 gp worth of stuff and a 1,000 lb block of wax. A Junk Golem (CR4) needs 5200 random material, 250 lbs of rubbish, and 200gp worth of wiring.

Meanwhile Animate Dead needs 25gp per HD in an onyx gem and a corpse.

This has always bothered me. Why would ANYONE in setting create golems when it's such a monumentally expensive process for such a relatively weak creature? Either golems should be much cheaper, or even the weakest golems should be mid-level and fairly powerful.

Shadow Lodge

Orville Redenbacher wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Orville Redenbacher wrote:
When did logic start applying to fictional fantasy worlds?
The internal logic of a fictional world has always been important, even if that logic is "I can get hit with an anvil and not die because it's funny".
I see. Like Undead just being evil even though similar things arent?

Word.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doktor Weasel wrote:

James Jacobs has talked about reasons why mindless undead are evil quite a bit on the forums. Like here

James Jacobs wrote:

When you make a mindless undead, only a tiny fragment of the victim's soul is used to animate the undead. The soul itself goes on to be judged normally, or if the soul has ALREADY been judged, the fragments of soul left behind in the body (like the scent of one's body in a discarded garment) is what's used. This fragment gives the mindless undead the instinct to kill and ability to follow orders despite being non-intelligent, and while it's not EVIL on the scale of turning someone into a vampire or a ghoul, it's still evil enough that animate dead has the evil descriptor.

The soul itself would suffer in a non-destructive but painful way. Maybe something akin to having a fingernail torn off.

And here.

James Jacobs wrote:

If you're making something more than a mindless undead, the soul is corrupted and housed within the rotting body as part of the transformation into undead; this is why undead are almost always evil; and the retention of the corrupted soul is what grants them their intelligence and self-awareness.

But when you use animate dead to make a zombie or skeleton, the spell only uses a fraction of the soul. Not enough to prevent the soul from moving on to be judged, but enough to prevent the body from being raised from the dead until the undead body is destroyed.

Animate dead is NOT similar to animate object at all, since the creature made by the spell isn't a construct; it's undead. And that's why animate object is its own spell. You can cast animate object on a skeleton or corpse and the result LOOKS undead but is in fact just an animated object. Doing so is creepy and nasty, but isn't on the same scale of evil as creating undead.

...

I think the problem with this is what complaint about undead can you not make about golems?


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Golems are still more effective because the materials are easier to come by.

I wouldn't say easier to come by. Even bottom tier golems require pretty hefty amounts of stuff. A Wax Golem (CR3) needs 7,000 gp worth of stuff and a 1,000 lb block of wax. A Junk Golem (CR4) needs 5200 random material, 250 lbs of rubbish, and 200gp worth of wiring.

Meanwhile Animate Dead needs 25gp per HD in an onyx gem and a corpse.

This has always bothered me. Why would ANYONE in setting create golems when it's such a monumentally expensive process for such a relatively weak creature? Either golems should be much cheaper, or even the weakest golems should be mid-level and fairly powerful.

Well they aren't cheap but if it weren't for those pesky adventurers they are quiet the effective longterm investments. Mundane, repetitive tasks are easy for them to do 24 hours a day, without pay, food, sickness, promises of revenge and other worries you might have with hired, enslaved or summoned laborers. If you keep them in an appropiate enviroment you haven't much to worry about repairs and such. Aside from the monthly dusting, but thats what unseen servants are for.

Also if you are making/buying Golems you are either a powerful wizard (who usually have delusions of living eternally) or you a rich enough to invest into something your grandgrandchildren could profit from.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Doktor Weasel wrote:

James Jacobs has talked about reasons why mindless undead are evil quite a bit on the forums. Like here

James Jacobs wrote:

When you make a mindless undead, only a tiny fragment of the victim's soul is used to animate the undead. The soul itself goes on to be judged normally, or if the soul has ALREADY been judged, the fragments of soul left behind in the body (like the scent of one's body in a discarded garment) is what's used. This fragment gives the mindless undead the instinct to kill and ability to follow orders despite being non-intelligent, and while it's not EVIL on the scale of turning someone into a vampire or a ghoul, it's still evil enough that animate dead has the evil descriptor.

The soul itself would suffer in a non-destructive but painful way. Maybe something akin to having a fingernail torn off.

And here.

James Jacobs wrote:

If you're making something more than a mindless undead, the soul is corrupted and housed within the rotting body as part of the transformation into undead; this is why undead are almost always evil; and the retention of the corrupted soul is what grants them their intelligence and self-awareness.

But when you use animate dead to make a zombie or skeleton, the spell only uses a fraction of the soul. Not enough to prevent the soul from moving on to be judged, but enough to prevent the body from being raised from the dead until the undead body is destroyed.

Animate dead is NOT similar to animate object at all, since the creature made by the spell isn't a construct; it's undead. And that's why animate object is its own spell. You can cast animate object on a skeleton or corpse and the result LOOKS undead but is in fact just an animated object. Doing so is creepy and nasty, but isn't on the same scale of evil as creating undead.

...

This is all rather interesting, and it's nice to have it collected here, but all it does is raise more questions.

Like for example, if the Soul of a creature was Good or Neutral, why is the fragment of it in a mindless undead* leading the mindless undead towards Evil? Shouldn't one with a Good soul tend to do good things, a Neutral one to do.....well Neutral things, but probably nothing. I mean why would the soul fragment of a dog turn a skeleton dog Neutral Evil?

Furthermore, his explanation of the differences between animate dead and animate object are entirely baseless. There is no actual practical difference between a skeleton/corpse raised with either of the spells. If Mr. Jacob's claim that a piece of the soul remains in the body is to hold any weight, then by all accounts it should influence the construct as well, yet it doesn't.

His third paragraph holds ground only for intelligent undead, which was never really the point of this thread. None of the mindless Undead create Spawn and they're Evil only by fiat.

The fact that one can have an animated skeleton/corpse that is Neutral Evil and one that is True Neutral, merely because of what spell was used, brings back the question of what the difference is. And the answer is usually "Well one is powered by Negative Energy", but that brings us back to the whole thing I wrote about before.

Also, as a side note, was it ever explained why the resurrection and true resurrection spells can't resurrect undead creatures even though the Undead creature type description specifically says this:

"Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead creatures. These spells turn undead creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming undead."

And this isn't something old, by the way, this is still present as of Bestiary 6.

*

Spoiler:
And I shall accept that there is a small fragment for the purpose of this excersise. Despite Mr. Jacob's claims, none of the material printed so far, either in the form of spells or lore, agrees with this. In fact they are quite adamant in the opposite, that mindless undead are completely and entirely soulless. No fragments or anything of the sort. This is further complicated by the fact that cyclic reincarnation doesn't care about a creature's body being used for creating undead.


vorArchivist wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:

James Jacobs has talked about reasons why mindless undead are evil quite a bit on the forums. Like here

James Jacobs wrote:

When you make a mindless undead, only a tiny fragment of the victim's soul is used to animate the undead. The soul itself goes on to be judged normally, or if the soul has ALREADY been judged, the fragments of soul left behind in the body (like the scent of one's body in a discarded garment) is what's used. This fragment gives the mindless undead the instinct to kill and ability to follow orders despite being non-intelligent, and while it's not EVIL on the scale of turning someone into a vampire or a ghoul, it's still evil enough that animate dead has the evil descriptor.

The soul itself would suffer in a non-destructive but painful way. Maybe something akin to having a fingernail torn off.

And here.

James Jacobs wrote:

If you're making something more than a mindless undead, the soul is corrupted and housed within the rotting body as part of the transformation into undead; this is why undead are almost always evil; and the retention of the corrupted soul is what grants them their intelligence and self-awareness.

But when you use animate dead to make a zombie or skeleton, the spell only uses a fraction of the soul. Not enough to prevent the soul from moving on to be judged, but enough to prevent the body from being raised from the dead until the undead body is destroyed.

Animate dead is NOT similar to animate object at all, since the creature made by the spell isn't a construct; it's undead. And that's why animate object is its own spell. You can cast animate object on a skeleton or corpse and the result LOOKS undead but is in fact just an animated object. Doing so is creepy and nasty, but isn't on the same scale of evil as

...

Where's the corruption of life and death and torture of that elemental spirit. Where's the intelligence of the spirit to understand its confinement? Perhaps the spirit just represents the raw power and destructive ability of the element bound within the golem and its going berserk is not lashing out against confinement but its natural behavior, much like a storm or wildfire?


Ryan Freire wrote:


Where's the corruption of life and death and torture of that elemental spirit?

So forcibly binding a spirit of the elements into a body it can't control isn't torturous to you?

Ryan Freire wrote:


Where's the intelligence of the spirit to understand its confinement?

The dumbest elemental has an int of 4 with 3 being the minimum to be considered sapient in Pathfinder. Enough to learn a class and even have their own language.

Ryan Freire wrote:


Perhaps the spirit just represents the raw power and destructive ability of the element bound within the golem and its going berserk is not lashing out against confinement but its natural behavior, much like a storm or wildfire?

that would only make sense if elementals were innately violent and attacked everything in sight, which is one of the reasons people give to define undead as evil but most elementals are neutral


There's a limited amount of space in bestiaries and nothing says the elemental spirit is an elemental in the same way a Fire or earth elemental is an elemental. There's also no point in them putting them in the bestiary if they're not relevant to becoming a player challenge outside of being in a golem.

You're projecting elemental (as in fire/earth elemental/mephit/etc) nothing actually claims that its one of them, they simply say "elemental spirit" which could literally be a non sentient spirit of an elemental force like a storm or wildfire. Thatd actually make more sense, given that golems are int 0 and the things you reference have an int.


Ryan Freire wrote:

There's a limited amount of space in bestiaries and nothing says the elemental spirit is an elemental in the same way a Fire or earth elemental is an elemental. There's also no point in them putting them in the bestiary if they're not relevant to becoming a player challenge outside of being in a golem.

You're projecting elemental (as in fire/earth elemental/mephit/etc) nothing actually claims that its one of them, they simply say "elemental spirit" which could literally be a non sentient spirit of an elemental force like a storm or wildfire. Thatd actually make more sense, given that golems are int 0 and the things you reference have an int.

The bestiary literally says it's an Elemental in most cases:

"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."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

so your excuse is "there might be a completely different type of elemental not mentioned in any other sections which is what they're really talking about"
and I'd argue the reason why they have 0 int is because you subverted their will to use them as a power source and you're using magic to puppeteer the body.

also this section found under golems states that the most commonly used "elemental spirit" is an earth elemental which is an actual int 4 minimum creature

"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."

EDIT:Ninja'ed by TheFinish


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Binding an intelligent elemental into one's constructs as a battery is worth discussion as to whether or not it is a greater Evil than what equates to a magical T-virus injection via animate dead, especially when the latter is not performed in conjunction with a desecrate effect. This latter I can see being warranted as automatically conferring an Evil alignment upon the carcasses and/or bones so animated as it strengthens the undead with explicit mechanical benefits.

Almost all binding rituals/spells have an escape clause of some sort. Creating a construct does not save for the destruction of the shell. It is a guaranteed success unlike every other binding spell in the current game. This binding always succeeds in sending the long-enraged spirit whence it came rather than unleashing it at the location of its binding shell's destruction with a preference towards seeking out the scumbag who bound it into service without any payment or reward and attempting to kill them and take their stuff.

One wonders what the PF2 take will be keeping these considerations in mind come this and next August.


TheFinish wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Creating undead is evil, full stop.

Oh, we all know that. The problem is that it has never been explained beyond "because the designers decided so".

Adding a concrete reason behind it in 2E would go a long way to settling these arguments.

Because it's "foul magic" and the "foul power of unlife".

I agree that a more metaphysical argument for unlife being an extreme an ineluctable form of EVIL would be a bonus. But I also disagree with the arguments comparing creating undead to animating objects, in order to cast it as a neutral act.

It's "foul", so it's evil. Seems self-evident to me. <shrug>

The disconnect comes from where you to look deeper. Ok, so Undead use the "foul power of unlife". Fair enough. What is this power though?

It's Negative Energy. Okay, that's fair. It sure sounds ominous and Evil.

No it's actually Neutral. Oh, okay. Well that's weird. It's probably something the wizard or cleric does then.

No, actually, Negative Energy itself raises Evil creatures on its own. And the Outsiders made from it are Evil.

Oh, so it's Evil after all then.

No, it's Neutral.

That's the big wall you run into. Intelligent undead are specified as having their soul be "twisted" by Negative Energy into Evil. But only sometimes, not always (which just adds to the problem). And it's hard to explain how a Neutral energy would twist you into Evil. I mean souls are Positive Energy and can be all over the spectrum, but not Negative Energy. And there's no real reason for any of this.

And it gets harder with mindless undead, who don't actually have a soul to twist, so the entire driving thing is Negative Energy, which is Neutral. But mindless undead are Evil. And this happens by default, it doesn't even need spells.

But Flesh Golems, also animated (at least partly) by Negative Energy, and made from corpses, are Neutral. Not Evil.

So it's not actually that clear cut.

Its simpler if you factor in that different designers work on different things.

The guy who decided that negative energy twists undead to evil is different from the guy who decided that negative energy is neutral.


Whichever 'came first' should have set the precedent for what came afterward.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
If you want creating mindless undead to be Not-Evil then you need mindless undead to be Not-Evil. A fantasy world where you can easily create Not-Evil mindless undead will be significantly different from most fantasy settings we know. Also it will make creating Golems mostly unneeded
Golems are still more effective because the materials are easier to come by.

I wouldn't say easier to come by. Even bottom tier golems require pretty hefty amounts of stuff. A Wax Golem (CR3) needs 7,000 gp worth of stuff and a 1,000 lb block of wax. A Junk Golem (CR4) needs 5200 random material, 250 lbs of rubbish, and 200gp worth of wiring.

Meanwhile Animate Dead needs 25gp per HD in an onyx gem and a corpse.

Easier, quicker, the dark side is.

You are talking about a mechanically superior option to the other potential options. Think about it. Of course there is a downside.


HWalsh wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
If you want creating mindless undead to be Not-Evil then you need mindless undead to be Not-Evil. A fantasy world where you can easily create Not-Evil mindless undead will be significantly different from most fantasy settings we know. Also it will make creating Golems mostly unneeded
Golems are still more effective because the materials are easier to come by.

I wouldn't say easier to come by. Even bottom tier golems require pretty hefty amounts of stuff. A Wax Golem (CR3) needs 7,000 gp worth of stuff and a 1,000 lb block of wax. A Junk Golem (CR4) needs 5200 random material, 250 lbs of rubbish, and 200gp worth of wiring.

Meanwhile Animate Dead needs 25gp per HD in an onyx gem and a corpse.

Easier, quicker, the dark side is.

You are talking about a mechanically superior option to the other potential options. Think about it. Of course there is a downside.

Uh, the point of my post is that a rotting corpse/pile of bones from the local graveyard and a 25gp gem is easier to get than 1,000 pounds of wax and 7000 gp in wibbly materials. That said the real downside to animate dead isn't the whole ravenous face eater thing but rather you're getting a pure garbage minion out of the exchange unless you bother hunting down druids for their tiger companions.


yeah, just gota complete skeleton, and argue with the DM that animate object should work on it as it is an inanimate object and thus could be animated as such.

thus a really cheap bone golem.... that would not last long for anything except look intimidating as an army of them....


I think the game designers should back slowly away from their logic on undead. It's not really logic. What if I die and come back in ghost form to tell a Cleric they have no choice but to animate my corpse to break down the door of the cell? They animate my corpse and it hurts me a little ("like tearing out a fingernail"), but the plan goes flawlessly. If that was evil, then there should be somebody who gets the blame for it. Is it me for offering myself up? The Cleric for doing as I bade? What if the Cleric refused, so I somehow found the power to Animate Dead on my own corpse, thereby torturing myself, then saved the day with my evil animated corpse? Is that evil of me for having saved innocent people by animating my own corpse? If it doesn't make sense to label a person as evil when they did evil, then the labeling process is flawed.

Undead need to have the Evil descriptor (I guess), but the creation of undead should be neither good nor evil because what matters is *why*. Indeed, this is already in Golarion; it is the basis of the economy of a largely neutral nation. (Whether a nation should actually have an alignment as opposed to a "predominate alignment" is another question.)

I believe the logical approach is to define creatures with free will as governed by intent and to define things that are "just evil" as just evil. All logic other than "I think therefore I am" begins with assumptions/definitions. The specialness of creatures with free will is their intents determine where their souls go when they die, at which point their bodies actually match their alignments, because their bodies are imbued with the essence of their planes. A person who intentionally chose evil will, in death, actually be evil in both mind and body. If, in death, they retain free will, it should be possible to eventually have an alignment in mind that is different than in body. A fallen angel could very well fit this paradigm.

As to undead, they are undead in body but, lacking free will, they cannot have a mind that conflicts with their evil (bodily) taint. Accordingly, they remain evil no matter who controls them. Some undead are apparently capable of becoming good (I am taking folks at their word on this because I don't recall reading any core material that says as much). If so, that necessarily means some undead are capable of free will. That causes a conflict between the tainted body and the good mind, but it doesn't result in contradiction; it only results in confusion when you cast Know Alignment to find they are both Evil and Good.


totoro wrote:

-Whether a nation should actually have an alignment as opposed to a "predominate alignment" is another question.

-Some undead are apparently capable of becoming good (I am taking folks at their word on this because I don't recall reading any core material that says as much).

Nation alignment is indeed just a predominant alignment, just like with towns. Neutral nation means "most people are Neutral" not "everybody in here be Neutral". Not that it matters much besides giving you an idea of how it functions. Though casting magic circle against Evil on Cheliax might be a good idea.....I'm gonna need a lot of salt.

AFAIK this only applies to Ghosts (the Bestiary 1 Ghost is True Neutral, and there's a few Good Ghosts areound. Certainly plenty of Neutral ones) and some very unique edge cases, like a Shadowdancer's Shadow (which shares their alignment). Mostly Undead are Evil.

251 to 300 of 457 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / So if creating mindless undead through necromancy is still evil in 2e... All Messageboards