PDA

View Full Version : What the heck are the deathless?



Falconer
2008-10-10, 10:24 PM
From what I understand, the deathless are supposed to be a sort of good/happy-sunshine-and-puppies version of the undead (or at least, a positive energy version).


So, basically, my question be this: am I or am I not completely and utterly incorrect? Any websites I could go to in order to pursue this information in a leisurely manner?


Thanks
-Falconer

Eldariel
2008-10-10, 10:27 PM
Deathless are basically a consequence of Wizards deciding that Undead are powered by negative energy.

Starbuck_II
2008-10-10, 10:32 PM
From what I understand, the deathless are supposed to be a sort of good/happy-sunshine-and-puppies version of the undead (or at least, a positive energy version).


So, basically, my question be this: am I or am I not completely and utterly incorrect? Any websites I could go to in order to pursue this information in a leisurely manner?


Thanks
-Falconer

Deathless are not happy/sunshine: they kill people. Usually evil people, but they kill neutrals too.

There are Ebberon novels that include them and how "evil" they can be.

If the main characters didn't get away: they would have been stuck in that tower forever. She killed the last visitors who left. I daresay she is not good. It was the novels that had the Lord of Blades, Paladins, and that worforged artificer.
I'm at my dorm so I can't recall the name.

Deathless are just what it sounds beyond death like a zombie is just not rotting and full of positive energy (positive energy is not aligned).

Smeggedoff
2008-10-10, 10:34 PM
they're just undead powered by a different battery


Deathless is a new creature type, describing creatures that
have died but returned to a kind of spiritual life. They are
similar in many ways to both living creatures and undead.
However, while undead represent a mockery of life and a
violation of the natural order of life and death, the deathless
merely stave off the inevitability of death to accomplish
a righteous purpose. While undead draw their power from
the plane of Mabar, the Endless Night, the deathless are
strongly tied to the plane of Irian, the Eternal Day, the
birthplace of all souls. In fact, the death less are little more
than disincarnate souls, sometimes wrapped in material
fl esh, often incorporeal and hardly more substantial than
a soul in its purest state.

Sereg
2008-10-11, 12:45 AM
In the book of exalted deeds there is detail on a new creature type known as "Deathless". They are basically a good version of undead powered by positive energy and are created by rewarding a dead good person and allowing them to finish there duties. The paladins who defended the Azure city gate in OOTS were probably deathless.

Fiendish_Dire_Moose
2008-10-11, 12:49 AM
You ask what the deathless are, I ask, "What AREN'T the deathless?"

Like so many said, they're undead with just a different battery. They're like those Elven good alligned lichs. They make for pretty dynamic campaings if you use them right.

Pronounceable
2008-10-11, 01:02 AM
In other words, utter bull****.

Kurald Galain
2008-10-11, 04:25 AM
In other words, utter bull****.

Yes.

One of the goals of the BOED was to give Good all the nice toys that Evil is also playing with, even if that really doesn't make an ounce of sense. Poison is evil? Well, there's now also good poison! Evil uses naughty necromancy? Well, good can do that too! Neener neener neener!

Quietus
2008-10-11, 04:36 AM
I generally don't use deathless in my games - I don't LIKE Good (as an aligned force) having access to all the same tricks that Evil does. That's what makes Evil so dangerous, despite being self-devouring by nature. Two Evil people might work together for a common goal, but when they believe that they'll benefit enough from their companion's death, they won't hesitate to kill them. They're willing to risk playing with dangerous powers, regardless of the consequences, for greater personal gain.

The thing that defines Good characters for me, in many ways, is that they have the strength of will to RESIST that sort of activity. They COULD start dabbling in undead... but to do so, they'd have to ignore the consequences that dabbling has on the world, which I consider a nongood trait at best. It's a fairly common trope, and one I like - the Good-aligned people, generally protagonists, have to work together despite their differences to make up for the sheer power difference that Evil has, as a result of their toys.

Giving Good those same toys invalidates a portion of what I feel makes Evil different. It just makes Evil selfish, and that's less interesting than selfish and more powerful than you.

Tengu_temp
2008-10-11, 06:50 AM
Don't deathless arise more or less spontaneously, instead of being created by good equivalents of necromancers?

bosssmiley
2008-10-11, 07:01 AM
Yes.

One of the goals of the BOED was to give Good all the nice toys that Evil is also playing with, even if that really doesn't make an ounce of sense. Poison is evil? Well, there's now also good poison! Evil uses naughty necromancy? Well, good can do that too! Neener neener neener!


Dear WOTC

Good != Evil x -1

Thank you

Deathless, as people have noted before, are positive energy-powered undead. They actually do have some (small) precedent in D&D. In 1E-2E times Mummies were powered by Positive, rather than by Negative, energy. "Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead" for Ravenloft was a whole book devoted to their odd-man-out status among the undead.

In some respects the Deathless type is actually a good basis for Ghosts, ancestor spirits and suchlike non-hostile undead, not to mention ancient kings under the mountain (Arthur, Barbarossa, that knight from "Last Crusade", etc).

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-11, 07:52 AM
In some respects the Deathless type is actually a good basis for Ghosts, ancestor spirits and suchlike non-hostile undead, not to mention ancient kings under the mountain (Arthur, Barbarossa, that knight from "Last Crusade", etc).

It also sounds like baelnorns and archliches should definitely be deathless rather than undead.

hamishspence
2008-10-11, 07:59 AM
Only if you take the assumption that it is impossible to upgrade an undead from Evil to Neutral. Libris Mortis suggested undead characters of non-evil alignment, Svage Species had eancipated spawn concept, for those freed from the master undead that transformed them.

Greenfaun
2008-10-11, 09:00 AM
For what it's worth, the deathless aren't just in that Eberron novel, they're an integral part of the culture of the elves (well, the Aerenal elves) in Eberron. Basically, they have a culture based on ancestor-worship, but a significant number of those ancestors are still around. They're not particularly good, in fact they're generally ruthless and xenophobic, but they're not really monsters either, they're just positive-energy mummies of heroes and nobles throughout elven history.

AstralFire
2008-10-11, 10:13 AM
I really don't get why people dislike the deathless so much.

- Negative and Positive energy aren't aligned
- Sheer negative energy somehow animating something makes less sense in the first place (it is the energy of decay, after all)

I'm not a fan, but I don't like undead to begin with anyway, and as pointed out it does work better with things like ancestral spirits.

Kurald Galain
2008-10-11, 11:05 AM
I really don't get why people dislike the deathless so much.
Because there's no meaningful difference between them and undead.


- Negative and Positive energy aren't aligned
Some people would argue that negative = evil and positive = good. This is strongly implied by several rulebooks, too.

AstralFire
2008-10-11, 11:10 AM
Strongly implied, yes. Deathless would be them actually deciding to stick to that declaration at some level.

Starbuck_II
2008-10-11, 11:11 AM
Because there's no meaningful difference between them and undead.


Some people would argue that negative = evil and positive = good. This is strongly implied by several rulebooks, too.

Well, majority consensus doesn't make majority smart.

Kurald Galain
2008-10-11, 11:20 AM
Well, majority consensus doesn't make majority smart.

I believe that is what's known on these boards as the "Giacomo Fallacy" :smallbiggrin:

Leon
2008-10-11, 11:30 AM
Long Dead Orgoth Lords, preserved with lost rituals and believing that the empire still rules, hidden under a extensive illusion

Mikeavelli
2008-10-11, 11:57 AM
The idea is that, while you can populate the tombs of long-dead evil folks with zounds of undead and have it make sense, every once in a while the PC's are going to have to ransack the tomb of your neighborhood saint. Utterly evil undead don't make sense here, because WTF would a saint be doing with evil undead guardians? Living, thinking beings also don't make sense for the same reason they don't make sense for evil tombs....

I know he was technically still alive by the magic of the grail rather than being some kind of goody-good undead, but think of the Knight at the end of Indiana Jones and the last Crusade. He's what I would consider a basis for accurately RPing what they're trying to get across with the deathless type.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-11, 11:58 AM
Only if you take the assumption that it is impossible to upgrade an undead from Evil to Neutral. Libris Mortis suggested undead characters of non-evil alignment, Svage Species had eancipated spawn concept, for those freed from the master undead that transformed them.

Baelnorns and archliches are majorly good-aligned. Archliches, in fact, are good-aligned by definition. Baelnorns just because they're elves from good-aligned elven cultures. Baelnorns are where the Eberron elven deathless thing came from, anyway.

Draco Dracul
2008-10-11, 12:05 PM
I would argue that the system should be reorganised so that any reanimated being (that is not truely returned to life) should be considered undead if it is primarily physical especailly if its body is in a state of decay (zombie, etc.), and any reanimated being that is primarily a disimbodied soul (ghost) would be qualified as a deathless. I know this is not a perfect system and there would be some undead that would be hard to classify under this system (notalbely Liches which are similtaniously a decayed body and a disembodied soul).

Project_Mayhem
2008-10-11, 01:07 PM
I get the impression from this and other threads, that people who were introduced to the deathless through the BoED tend to find them an unneccesary good version of undead, while those (like myself) who encountered them in the Ebberon setting tend to find them AWESOME.

Devils_Advocate
2008-10-11, 04:47 PM
The rules don't frequently directly contradict each other, but they are massively inconsistent and incomplete in that there's no real rhyme or reason to them. And the reason for that is that the game's designers never came to a consensus on some fairly basic questions, like exactly what negative energy is and does, and just what Good and Evil, y'know, are. Frank and K tell it like it is:


The rules of D&D attempt to be all things to all people, and unfortunately that just isnít possible if youíre trying to make a system of objective morality. By trying to cater to two very different play styles as regards to the moral quandaries of the use of negative energy, the game ends up catering to neither Ė and this has been the cause of a great many arguments for which there actually are no possible resolutions. Ultimately therefore, it falls to every DM to determine whether in their game the powers of Necromancy are inherently evil, or merely extremely dangerous. Thatís a choice which must be made, and has far reaching implications throughout the game. - Tome of Necromancy (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=632562)


Every action has motivations, expectable results, and actual results. In addition, every action can be described with a verb. In the history of moral theory (a history substantively longer than human history) it has at times been contested by otherwise bright individuals that any of those (singly or collectively) could be used as a rubric to determine the rightness of an action. D&D authors agreed. With all of those extremely incompatible ideas. And the result has been an unmitigated catastrophe. Noone knows what makes an action Good in D&D, so your group is ultimately going to have to decide for yourselves. Is your action Good because your intentions are Good? Is your action Good because the most likely result of your action is Good? Is your action Good because the actual end result of that action is Good? Is your action Good because the verb that bests describes your action is in general Good? There are actually some very good arguments for all of these written by people like Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, and David Wasserman Ė but there are many other essays that are so astoundingly contradictory and ill-reasoned that they are of less help than reading nothing. Unfortunately for the hobby, some of the essays of the second type were written by Gary Gygax.

This is not an easy question to answer. The rulebooks, for example, are no help at all. D&D at its heart is about breaking into other peoples' homes, stabbing them in the face, and taking all their money. That's very hard to rationalize as a Good thing to do, and the authors of D&D have historically not tried terribly hard. - Tome of Fiends (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28828&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=9761cddc9d2f42a6d0b187c4ca1ff46d)