Thinking of making a good natured Gnone necromancer.


Advice


Not looking to make a super creepy, death loving worshiper of Urgathoa. I was thinking of a sorcerer, that likes to bring things back from the dead, just undead. Is it possible?


By Pathfinder canon, no. Creating undead is an evil act.

I allow good-aligned necromancers in my games, since I don't really see why negative energy should be any more evil than positive energy is good (it's not). The soul of mindless undead has moved on, and raising the body has been said to have little to no effect on the soul by James Jacobs himself.

Liberty's Edge

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You might also check out the White Necromancer class in the New Paths Compendium: Expanded Edition


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TheGreatWot wrote:
By Pathfinder canon, no. Creating undead is an evil act.

The morality of spells with the evil descriptor has never really been addressed in a satisfactory way. The core rulebook waffles on the issue, and the only source material that takes a hard stance on the subject has a massive loophole that effectively removes all alignment consequences. Depending on how your GM runs things it might cause your character to shift alignment to evil, but it will never actually require you to behave in an evil fashion. You might technically ping as evil on a paladin's radar, but you still have the free will to behave as you will.

As for a build, a Gnome Sorcerer works just fine without anything special. I don't particularly like 20 ft speed races myself, and it is annoying to not have access to the human favored class bonus for sorcerers, but neither of those are deal-breakers. The only catch is that they're slower to get rolling than other necromancy builds. The earliest you can realistically take the Command Undead spell is 5th level, and the earliest you can realistically take Animate Dead is 9th. Once you have them, though, you're good to go. There are no particularly useful bloodlines or archetypes for necromancer Sorcerers, but fortunately vanilla Sorcerer does it just fine so this isn't an issue.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It is of course quite possible to be good natured and not be of a good alignment. A very evil person can be quite pleasant and companionable even though they have a very skewed mentality.

I don't agree that the core rulebook 'waffles' on the issue of alignment and alignment descriptors. It quite clearly states that the spell descriptors interact with alignment among other things. Exactly how that should be adjudicated wasn't spelled out until Horror Adventures (and I agree that it was done quite poorly there) but that it does interact in unambiguous. Without the Horror adventures rule it was left up to the GM, like everything else that interacts with alignment.

If you want to be neutral or good and also make a habit of raising undead you will need to talk to your GM ahead of time, and see how he feels about that. Personally, I could certainly see a neutral as a viable possibility, but good would be a stretch. There is obviously a wide range of opinions on the matter though.


you don't have to worship Urgathoa, you can get substantial benefits worshiping Orcus or Circiatto instead...

But seriously, as others have said you should talk to your DM. As views on the subject vary widely. Personally, animating undead being an evil act makes sense to me, but its because of the way it seems to interact with other spells. These interactions would make animate dead evil even if it didn't have the evil descriptor. It's a contentious subject which honestly doesn't matter once your DM weighs in on how they want to handle it.

As for playing a sorcerer based necromancer there are a couple of interesting options. The undead bloodline lets you use mind affecting spells on undead creatures. This means you can use spells like dominate person on intelligent undead you create in order to maintain control of them.

Alternatively, you might consider the Empyreal bloodline. At 9th level it gives you the ability to channel energy which allows you to qualify for the command undead feat. Sure, it's only once per day but that's still enough to use it to control additional undead that you create via animate dead and it gives you an emergency heal for your undead.


Dave is right about being evil and good natured at the same time. Some of the best villains fit this model. There is no reason a PC cannot do the same. A little subtly and you can be getting people to laugh along with you as you joke about truly horrible things. Use a lot of double meaning in what you say and deliver your lines with a smile. People will often think you are joking about the more horrible stuff, but you are perfectly serious.


I've had a human Oracle of the bones in my back catalogue for ages.

The idea for her was she's haunted by ghosts of people who died when her powers manifested and she was given those powers by Urgathoa.

She rejects the idea of undead as evil and doesn't like the idea of spreading disease, basically spurning the interests of Urgathoa.

She does however think Undead are extremely useful as a free work force, military and self defence tool.

Her final goal would be to make a necropolis where the living can live comfortably, all manual labour and info structure handled by her undead which she would loan out to neighbouring towns and cities and build allies and gain trade and coin whilst also changing the worlds view of undead.

How well this would all work out and the challenges she would face along the way would be fun to roleplay through. I like the idea that the more dark power she used and the more challenges she faced, the more likely she would be to slip into doing unsavery dark things.

Possibly making her behave a little more dark and evil as time went on, despite her own efforts to the contrary.


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

I don't understand why folks continue to post to these forums asking for "permission" to play a good-aligned necromancer. The only person who can give you such permission is your DM.

Personally, I think that any method that leads to creating or controlling undead is inherently and intrinsically evil. I suppose a good-aligned necromancer could be possible, as long as he uses his powers only to destroy undead.

Spells with the "evil" descriptor should little by little change a spellcaster's alignment to evil. How (or if) you choose to play that shift, and how (or if) your DM decides to portray that shift is entirely up to you and your DM.

If I were your DM, I would warn you (before you decide to make this character) of my house rule banning evil characters. Then, if you continued, I would make the shift to evil slow and obvious, giving you many opportunities to amend your ways. But if you continued casting evil spells, at some point I would ask for your character sheet and state that your character had turned evil and was now an NPC, requiring you to make a new character.

Another DM might well do things differently.


Wheldrake wrote:

I don't understand why folks continue to post to these forums asking for "permission" to play a good-aligned necromancer. The only person who can give you such permission is your DM.

Personally, I think that any method that leads to creating or controlling undead is inherently and intrinsically evil. I suppose a good-aligned necromancer could be possible, as long as he uses his powers only to destroy undead.

Spells with the "evil" descriptor should little by little change a spellcaster's alignment to evil. How (or if) you choose to play that shift, and how (or if) your DM decides to portray that shift is entirely up to you and your DM.

If I were your DM, I would warn you (before you decide to make this character) of my house rule banning evil characters. Then, if you continued, I would make the shift to evil slow and obvious, giving you many opportunities to amend your ways. But if you continued casting evil spells, at some point I would ask for your character sheet and state that your character had turned evil and was now an NPC, requiring you to make a new character.

Another DM might well do things differently.

To promote discussions and hear opinions on a subject they're interested in and also be able to contribute to the conversation?

I think that is probably why.


Wheldrake wrote:

I don't understand why folks continue to post to these forums asking for "permission" to play a good-aligned necromancer. The only person who can give you such permission is your DM.

Personally, I think that any method that leads to creating or controlling undead is inherently and intrinsically evil. I suppose a good-aligned necromancer could be possible, as long as he uses his powers only to destroy undead.

Spells with the "evil" descriptor should little by little change a spellcaster's alignment to evil. How (or if) you choose to play that shift, and how (or if) your DM decides to portray that shift is entirely up to you and your DM.

If I were your DM, I would warn you (before you decide to make this character) of my house rule banning evil characters. Then, if you continued, I would make the shift to evil slow and obvious, giving you many opportunities to amend your ways. But if you continued casting evil spells, at some point I would ask for your character sheet and state that your character had turned evil and was now an NPC, requiring you to make a new character.

Another DM might well do things differently.

I am curious, why the ban on evil characters?

It's been my experience that disruptive players tend to be disruptive regardless what alignment they play and conversely, that non-disruptive players continue to be non-disruptive regardless of the alignment of their character.

I've been limited in alignment choices before but often it was to minimize the inherent conflict that arises when you have a paladin or paladin like character in the same group as someone that is overtly evil (like a necromancer).


Dirge Bard might be an option, though it's actual necromantic shenanigans are limited.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dave Justus wrote:
I don't agree that the core rulebook 'waffles' on the issue of alignment and alignment descriptors. It quite clearly states that the spell descriptors interact with alignment among other things.

It doesn't state that anywhere. These are the only places in the core rulebook where they get mentoined:

CRB wrote:

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells A cleric can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity’s (if she has one).

Evil: Spells that draw upon evil powers or conjure creatures from evil-aligned planes or with the evil subtype should have the evil descriptor.
(identical entries exist for chaos/law/good)

That's literally it. There is no mention of alignment-descriptor spells in the alignment chapter, or anywhere else in the book. The core rulebook literally goes out of its way to avoid talking about the subject in sufficient detail.

Player characters have massive amounts of leeway with their alignment. You are not only allowed but expected to kill enemies in combat in the course of this game without alignment infractions. It's the context of the situation that determines the alignment impact (if any). If outright murder murder must be evaluated within its context, then evil-descriptor spells must be as well. However, no reason for them being evil (other than the defacto declaration that they are) is provided, and without a reason there is no way to contextualize what it means. At worst this leads to the Horror Adventures loophole where alignment is meaningless, and at best it makes it very arbitrary. And the more arbitrary the alignment system is, the less meaningful and impactful it becomes.

I feel the fundamental problem with alignment is that it tries to be both a cosmic force and a measure of morality. However, the added spice of free will complicates this. There is nothing stopping the cosmic force of alignment and the moral compass from getting out of sync if a character forces it in-universe. You can intentionally write your adventures to avoid this, but there's nothing stopping a player from thumbing his or her nose at convention and embodying "evil" forces while playing the role of paragon or vice-versa. If you're in the kind of game where such a character is permissible, then at a certain point the GM needs to make a call on how to handle it.

LordKailas wrote:
I am curious, why the ban on evil characters?

Because some players have a habit of playing their characters one step closer to evil than they declare. Their lawful good character really acts more like a lawful neutral character, their true neutral character really acts more like a neutral evil character, and their chaotic evil character is basically the hypothetical offspring of Cruella DeVille and Sauron. Understandably most GM's don't want that last one in their game.

Evil characters can be fine in the hands of a mature player who understands the group dynamic and builds an interesting and nuanced character. Not every player or group has the level of maturity to pull that off.


Dasrak wrote:
Because some players have a habit of playing their characters one step closer to evil than they declare. Their lawful good character really acts more like a lawful neutral character, their true neutral character really acts more like a neutral evil character, and their chaotic evil character is basically the hypothetical offspring of Cruella DeVille and Sauron. Understandably most GM's don't want that last one in their game.

This isn't a trend I've personally experienced but I could see it happening. I have seen CE banned, but all other forms of evil were fine. With the player being told that they needed to come up with a reason their character was working with the group. This seemed to help since it was now on the player to justify why their character is helping out instead of putting the burden on the DM.

Dasrak wrote:
Evil characters can be fine in the hands of a mature player who understands the group dynamic and builds an interesting and nuanced character. Not every player or group has the level of maturity to pull that off.

Also a fair point. I know some players think evil = jerk and just use it as an excuse to justify screwing the party. I haven't felt the need to ban evil characters myself. Which is why I asked.


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

It's one thing if you're playing an "evil campaign". I can understand that option, even if I don't like the idea of running it.

I prefer a "heroic campaign" where PCs are trying to help and protect the innocent. Having evil characters in the mix just doesn't play to the "heroic" vibe.

Currently, we are running a "pirate campaign", so there's a lot more leeway for borderline actions. However, spontaneously, and with no urging on my part, the players naturally gravitate towards the heroic protect-the-innocent side of things. Which works great for me. It just feels more natural.

In the past, I have had one or two players who decided to play the "evil masquerading as good" card. it worked out OK, but if an outside observer looked carefully at the supposedly evil PC and his actions, I don't think they would label them with the evil alignment.

In my book, evil characters simply aren't team players. Even lawful evil PCs really ought to be in it for themselves, and things like splitting loot equally, risking your life for the group and sharing with your team-mates just doesn't feel like it should be in the cards.

I agree that it can be a question of maturity. But so many people have such widely disparate views on the nature of alignment that it usually opens a huge can of worms that nobody really wants to choke down.

So... a good-natured necromancer? The player is really going to have to work at it to convince me it's viable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
I don't agree that the core rulebook 'waffles' on the issue of alignment and alignment descriptors. It quite clearly states that the spell descriptors interact with alignment among other things.

It doesn't state that anywhere. These are the only places in the core rulebook where they get mentoined:

SRD scroll down to [Descriptor]

"Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think we're interpreting that statement in wildly different ways. When I read that, I read it as "these descriptors don't do anything unless there's an explicit interaction stated somewhere", and the only interaction alignment descriptors have with the alignment rules in the CRB is a restriction on spells that are available to clerics based on their deity's alignment.


Little-known fact: casting spells with the death descriptor actually kills you if you cast too many of them!


Wheldrake wrote:


So... a good-natured necromancer? The player is really going to have to work at it to convince me it's viable.

So what does this mean then?

Would you start to dictate how a players character acted if they started using necromancy?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:


So... a good-natured necromancer? The player is really going to have to work at it to convince me it's viable.

So what does this mean then?

Would you start to dictate how a players character acted if they started using necromancy?

No, of course not. The DM doesn't dictate a PC's actions, he merely enforces consequences. As described in Horror Adventures...

Horror Adventures says:

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.

Those who are forbidden from casting spells with an opposed alignment might lose their divine abilities if they circumvent that restriction (via Use Magic Device, for example), depending on how strict their deities are.

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

So, a single instance of raising dead won't cause your alignment to switch, but frequent uses will. For DMs who don't have a house rule against evil characters, this will probably be more of a cosmetic change than anything else. It could easily influence the ways that NPCs react to the character if it became common knowledge, or if the necromancer dragged his undead critters into town, for example.

As said before, it's a question of working out between the player and the DM how the consequences of necromancy will be dealt with. It's not a RAW issue.

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle wrote:
You might also check out the White Necromancer class in the New Paths Compendium: Expanded Edition

FYI ...

White Necromancers are not banned from casting evil necromancy spells, though they tend to do it causiously at low levels because such spells use two slots when being cast.

At 4th level, they get the ability that lends the class its name – white necromancy. Undead creation-spells cast by the White Necromancer no longer count as evil and the resulting undead are free-willed, if intelligent, and of the same alignment as the White Necromancer - and as a crucial difference to regular undead: They are not slaves. To make them perform a task (even mindless ones), requires a Diplomacy-check on behalf of the White Necromancer - interrupting someone's eternal rest should be no laughing matter and requires some finesse. Intelligent undead have a friendly disposition towards the white necromancer, and as such checks to request tasks receive a +2 bonus.

Folks wanting a good (or neutral) necromancer are definitely encourages to check the class out!


Wheldrake wrote:


So... a good-natured necromancer? The player is really going to have to work at it to convince me it's viable.

So what does this mean then?

Would you start to dictate how a players character acted if they started using necromancy?

No, of course not. The DM doesn't dictate a PC's actions, he merely enforces consequences. As described in Horror Adventures...

** spoiler omitted **

So what happens if you've got a player playing an ostensibly good character that uses Animate dead for good purposes. And also consistently uses burst of radiance and Protection from evil?

After all, if "evil" magic effects alignment surely "good" ones should too.

Quote:


So, a single instance of raising dead won't cause your alignment to switch, but frequent uses will. For DMs who don't have a house rule against evil characters, this will probably be more of a cosmetic change than anything else. It could easily influence the ways that NPCs react to the character if it became common knowledge, or if the necromancer dragged his undead critters into town, for example.

As said before, it's a question of working out between the player and the DM how the consequences of necromancy will be dealt with. It's not a RAW issue.

But you just posted a RAW argument about how aligned spells work?


You can animate a corpse without necromancy (Animate Object). I find that the idea of removing the evil aspect of necromancy is fundamentally boring compared to what we have. It is easier, but at a price. Using forces of entropy and dissolution to create is fundamentally at odds with the way the universe should be.

Take that away and you lose something interesting about necromancy that harkens back to a lot of old folktales and myths.


I ran and played an evil campaign. Me and the rest of the players had a blast doing it. It was such a change of pace we all decided we wanted to run more evil campaigns just because. Most of us had over ten or more years playing good guys so evil was refreshing. Now we did some things a GM would cringe at and normally ban. However the group had been together for years so party conflict was all RP and in fun. We didn't include a couple of players for that campaign since we knew they would be disruptive and ruin the campaign.
It's not so much alignment as players. I ban Chaotic Neutral more then evil because that alignment has caused me no end of headaches. The one line I hear after a player does something is. "I'm playing my alignment." What they really mean is I'm a world class jerk I want to screw with everyone. Chaotic Neutral characters cause far more problems then an evil could. I have actually seen an evil rogue work with a Lawful Good Paladin without major problems. Sure the Paladin and Rogue hated one another but it didn't ruin the game. Yet you get a player playing a Chaotic Neutral and I'd be shocked if the campaign actually survived.
Yes it should be the GMs call if you can play an evil Necromancer. The only real issue I had with Necromancers is they tend to create an army of undead making it difficult for the other players to get involved in melee combat. an army of one hit die skeletons can slow combat as well.
Me I like the idea of a Gnome Necromancer. It's different.


Derek Dalton wrote:

I ran and played an evil campaign. Me and the rest of the players had a blast doing it. It was such a change of pace we all decided we wanted to run more evil campaigns just because. Most of us had over ten or more years playing good guys so evil was refreshing. Now we did some things a GM would cringe at and normally ban. However the group had been together for years so party conflict was all RP and in fun. We didn't include a couple of players for that campaign since we knew they would be disruptive and ruin the campaign.

It's not so much alignment as players. I ban Chaotic Neutral more then evil because that alignment has caused me no end of headaches. The one line I hear after a player does something is. "I'm playing my alignment." What they really mean is I'm a world class jerk I want to screw with everyone. Chaotic Neutral characters cause far more problems then an evil could. I have actually seen an evil rogue work with a Lawful Good Paladin without major problems. Sure the Paladin and Rogue hated one another but it didn't ruin the game. Yet you get a player playing a Chaotic Neutral and I'd be shocked if the campaign actually survived.
Yes it should be the GMs call if you can play an evil Necromancer. The only real issue I had with Necromancers is they tend to create an army of undead making it difficult for the other players to get involved in melee combat. an army of one hit die skeletons can slow combat as well.
Me I like the idea of a Gnome Necromancer. It's different.

I think the only reason CN gets disruptive is because its the alignment players will default to when they aren't allowed to play an evil character. As I said before it's really the player that's the issue more then the character. In my present campaign I'm playing a CN character. There has only been one instance where it might have been a problem except that the party didn't back my actions (which they shouldn't of). As a result both the PCs and NPCs were standing next to each other going WTF? My character was corrected and the situation was smoothed out.

if you want details

Spoiler:
The party was concerned about the well-being of a prisoner being held by evil creatures. The prisoner seemed to be under a debilitating mental effect. IIRC the prisoner was enclosed such that anyone outside the prison couldn't hear what was going on inside. my character (a wizard) and the party cleric were were teleported inside (with the teleporters leaving again to observe with the rest of the group). We healed the mental damage that had been done and the prisoner asked us to kill him. My character immediately said "ok" and I flipped a coin to see if she would attempt to coup de grace with her sword or her flame jet ability. I determined she was going to use her flame jet ability and then asked the DM if a coup de grace was even possible with it. He said that it wasn't meaning all I did was set the prisoner on fire.

At this point the cleric told me and so I used my dancing flame ability to make the fire "jump off" of him and go out. We then healed the damage and my character offered to "put him back the way he was". The cleric agreed since we were negotiating his release and so it would only be temporary. I then cast feeble mind on the prisoner to replicate the mental damage he had been previously suffering from.

Once we were telported out of the prison my character claimed that she was just using the fire to "clean" the prisoner.

I have continued to play my character the same and there haven't been any issues.

As for running an undead army. Once you're playing a character who needs to roll more then 2d20 to attack and more then 3d6 to do damage you should really start pre-rolling things when its not your turn. Let your DM know that you're doing it and make sure your dice are sequenced by color and/or design (eg. the opaque black d20 is attack number 1, the opaque red d20 is attack number 2, the translucent blue d20 is my minion's 1st attack). Then when it is your turn streamline your attack rolls

"ok, does a 23 hit? it does? ok that was my lowest roll so I hit 5 times, the damage for attack number 1 is.."

In this way you aren't eating up everyone's time while you roll everything out. Just make sure you roll things where everyone can see so that its obvious you're not cheating. It may mean you have to invest in more dice so that you can leave everything rolled until its your turn so you can be properly audited if there's any questions.

This is also regardless of your class or build. I pre-roll the damage for my 19d6 flame strikes along with any SR rolls I need to make, just as the arcane archer pre-rolls all of his attacks and damage. In both cases sometimes rolls don't get used. But that's far better then the alternative.

I think only inexperienced PC necromancers make armies of 1 HD skeletons that then get brought on adventures. Since you quickly find that with this tactic you're basically just fishing for 20s and when they do hit they do almost no damage. Even then a single AE trap can wipe them all out, much less a monster that can do AE damage. This means they even make poor "meat shields" since it only takes a round or two for enemies to demolish them or to simply start ignoring them. Since an AoO also requires a 20 and does pathetic damage even when it does land.

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