spells with alignment tags

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Is casting an {evil} spell and evil act and vice versa? That would make sense, however, it opens some weird loopholes (e.g could a demon lord really turn good by just casting summon monster I to summon good monsters enough times? That seems pretty silly to me.)

Horror Adventures, Page 110:


Casting an evil spell is an evil act, but for most characters simply casting such a spell once isn’t enough to change her alignment; this only occurs if the spell is used for a truly abhorrent act, or if the caster established a pattern of casting evil spells over a long period. A wizard who uses animate dead to create guardians for defenseless people won’t turn evil, but he will if he does it over and over again. The GM decides whether the character’s alignment changes, but typically casting two evil spells is enough to turn a good creature nongood, and three or more evils spells move the caster from nongood to evil. The greater the amount of time between castings, the less likely alignment will change. Some spells require sacrificing a sentient creature, a major evil act that makes the caster evil in almost every circumstance.

Though this advice talks about evil spells, it also applies to spells with other alignment descriptors.

So sure, a demon lord could theoretically turn non-evil by casting a bunch of good spells, in theory. But this is a GM call, and the GM also is the one controlling all the demon lords, so they're only going to change if the GM wants them to. It's generally preferable if "redemption" is more involved than "cast a bunch of spells."

I think it functions to strongly disincentivize classes with alignment requirements, who don’t want to eat an atonement. For others, they might temporarily ping pong around until their usual pattern of behavior drags them back to normal, leading to temporary vulnerabilities. And maybe uncertainty about judgment if you dies during that period of flip flop.

Your behavior drives the scoreboard status of your alignment. Your alignment doesn’t dictate your future actions. If you’re fundamentally good, a few evil spells might lead you to fall, but you’ll spring back soon. You should reflect on why/whether you really neede to cast that many evil spells, though. If you’re sincerely dedicated to your alignment you shouldn’t want to frequently or casually ask for help from opposed outsiders.

This, as everything else, is under the call of the GM and often GMs won't have this happen.

Even casting many of the evil spells won't affect you either.

Now, if start to use necromancy, expect a swift fall to the evil side.

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*looks at my new Scroll of Animate Dead* ... *looks at my spellbook* ... I'm a true neutral wizard... Three strikes... And I do save my friends frequently at great risk to myself.

See, in the long run I think the Horror Adventures rule on this one was trying to quantify something that really didn't need it. The rules of certain casters not being allowed to cast spells of their opposed alignment was fine. This felt more like a GM tool to say "I don't want you casting X, so I'm going to punish you for it." There's a handful of spells with the good and evil descriptors that really have no business shifting someone's alignment. Cloak of Shadows being an example.

If characters in general are acting one way, that's going to be their alignment. I've made a bunch of neutral characters who end up acting more good than not. I've had players make good characters that do very explicitly evil things. I've played evil characters who arguably never commit evil but are just selfish in their goals.

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"3 strikes and you're out" from Horror Adventures is a guideline not a rule. People who are using it as a hard and fast rule are misinterpreting the point, I figure.

I mean it says the thing about "amount of time between castings" and that's impossible to really make a hard rule about.

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