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Thread: Animate Dead

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Animate Dead

    Do you have to be an character with an Evil Alignment (CE, NE, etc.) to cast the spell Animate dead?, because it is listed as a Necromancy (Evil) spell

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    No, but by RAW, casting the spell slowly turns you evil. I'd talk to your DM, because it's one of the dumber things about the alignment system that Dominating people to fight and die for you isn't Evil, but raising undead is.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    As an arcane caster? Not really. But as a cleric at least, if you are of good alignment the spell is not considered to be on your class list, I think.

    Not sure about Archivists and Favored Souls.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Kind of depends on what your DM rules... but if they're a rules lawyer, they'll likely say it will turn you evil.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    You can be a LG wizard and cast the spell.
    But once you travel with your skeleton majordomo, Miko and her LS paladins will assume you are evil and won't even bother casting "Detect Evil" : you command an undead, hence you take responsibility for its existence, since "good people aren't suppose to tolerate such abomination".
    SMITE EVIL !!!

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Be Neutral, cast animate dead, then use spells with the good descriptor.
    If your DM tries to turn you evil, point out your prodigious use of 'good' spells

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radiun View Post
    Be Neutral, cast animate dead, then use spells with the good descriptor.
    If your DM tries to turn you evil, point out your prodigious use of 'good' spells
    I have done this. It's amusing to see the look on the DM's face when he realizes that the same rule he's using to penalize you also invalidates his point. Side note: casting planar binding to summon an angel and bind it to your will is technically a good act, since summoning a good outsider gives the spell the [good] descriptor.


    Only good clerics are expressly forbidden from casting spells with the [evil] descriptor.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Johel View Post
    You can be a LG wizard and cast the spell.
    But once you travel with your skeleton majordomo, Miko and her LS paladins will assume you are evil and won't even bother casting "Detect Evil" : you command an undead, hence you take responsibility for its existence, since "good people aren't suppose to tolerate such abomination".
    SMITE EVIL !!!
    Granted, a Miko who does so falls because you are an innocent.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    But if you wear black robes, mutter in a sinister fashion, and take pleasure in combat, as a certain obscenely-low-Wisdom Malconvoker happens to do, you deserve whatever comes to you.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Personaly i prefer to summon celestial monkeys to do my bidding while i have a few undead servants around.
    When the end comes i shall remember you.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Acting on good intention whilst using undead minions allows you to remain neutral.

    Heroes of Horror mentions the fact that neutral dread necromancers use their necromancy (where the only evil part is spells with [Evil] and animating dead) for good intentions. The acts aren't blatantly evil, just kind of evil. The ends kind of justify the means in this case (you aren't good, but you aren't evil either).

    It's about how the DM interprets it, as well. An open-minded DM will see things as I explained. Rules Lawyers will say, "No, you turn evil and there's jack squat you can do!"

    Or something like that.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Of course, unless there's a Paladin in the party, how you play the character matters a lot more than what it says on your sheet under "Alignment."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radiun View Post
    Be Neutral, cast animate dead, then use spells with the good descriptor.
    If your DM tries to turn you evil, point out your prodigious use of 'good' spells
    You can even work out a spreadsheet. "Okay, I cast Animate Dead today, which is 4 levels of [Evil], so I'll use my remaining spell slots before I go to bed Summoning Celestial Monkeys and Bees, until I get 4 levels of [Good] to cancel it out." Just to be on the safe side, stay ahead of the curve. "But I've only cast 14 levels of [Evil] spells and 29 levels of [Good] spells! I'm way ahead of the curve. I should be getting a Mount Celestia merit badge or something!"

    And then you can really mess with the system. "I Summon a Lantern Archon and have it Ray of Light-to-death an orphanage. That's 3 levels of [Good] for me, and some monstrously over-the-top evil that doesn't count for alignment tracking purposes. Tomorrow I'll Planar Ally a Hound Archon and order it to devour a nunnery, which still counts towards my [Good] tracking, because it has an alignment descriptor, while the Sound Burst I cast to stampede the parade horses into the crowd at harvest fest was just wicked fun, and that Flame Strike I called down in the middle of the hospice was just the un-trackable meaningless sort of evil. Who knew enslaving Angels and Archons and forcing them to do acts of unspeakable evil could be good for my karma?"

    "If casting [Evil] spells turns me evil, and casting [Good] spells turns me good, how many [Fire] spells do I have to cast to become fire? If I cast enough [Death] spells, am I become death, destroyer of worlds?"

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    "If casting [Evil] spells turns me evil, and casting [Good] spells turns me good, how many [Fire] spells do I have to cast to become fire? If I cast enough [Death] spells, am I become death, destroyer of worlds?"
    No but cast enough Sonic spells and you turn blue and gain a +50ft enhancement bonus to your land speed ;-P

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Radiun View Post
    No but cast enough Sonic spells and you turn blue and gain a +50ft enhancement bonus to your land speed ;-P
    I see what you did there. Do not want. :P

    In any event, there's the whole thing about "oh, you're disturbing a body from its rest" blah blah. Why not Creation a corpse? Then you're golden.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher View Post
    I see what you did there. Do not want. :P

    In any event, there's the whole thing about "oh, you're disturbing a body from its rest" blah blah. Why not Creation a corpse? Then you're golden.
    Bah, Golems bind the unwilling spiritls from the plane of X to a machine and subjugate it to your whims. Animate Dead makes the leftovers of a previous person run on be moved around by negative energy. Animating the dead is one of the least horrific things casters do.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    I'm curious if anyone can actually provide the rule that says casting spells of the evil descriptor turns people evil. I've heard this argument many times before, but no one has ever been able to point me in the right direction with this.

    Can anyone here help me find it?

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    No, but by RAW, casting the spell slowly turns you evil. I'd talk to your DM, because it's one of the dumber things about the alignment system that Dominating people to fight and die for you isn't Evil, but raising undead is.
    While the alignment system has its problems, don't make baseless statements. "Dominating people to fight and die for you" is pretty explicitly called out as wrong in BoED. Hell, even in the PHB Lawful Evil is called "Dominator."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashiel View Post
    I'm curious if anyone can actually provide the rule that says casting spells of the evil descriptor turns people evil. I've heard this argument many times before, but no one has ever been able to point me in the right direction with this.

    Can anyone here help me find it?
    BoVD, page 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
    Acting on good intention whilst using undead minions allows you to remain neutral.

    Heroes of Horror mentions the fact that neutral dread necromancers use their necromancy (where the only evil part is spells with [Evil] and animating dead) for good intentions. The acts aren't blatantly evil, just kind of evil. The ends kind of justify the means in this case (you aren't good, but you aren't evil either).

    It's about how the DM interprets it, as well. An open-minded DM will see things as I explained. Rules Lawyers will say, "No, you turn evil and there's jack squat you can do!"

    Or something like that.
    Unless there's a paladin around, just cast those [Evil (but not really)] spells, and when the DM tells you that you're now evil, go out and anonymously save a few orphanages at your own peril, anyway. If the DM says that it's not in-character (because you're evil), just tell him that being evil isn't in-character (because it's actions and intents that matter). What can he do? I mean, really?
    Last edited by Lycanthromancer; 2009-11-10 at 12:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radiun View Post
    Bah, Golems bind the unwilling spiritls from the plane of X to a machine and subjugate it to your whims. Animate Dead makes the leftovers of a previous person run on be moved around by negative energy. Animating the dead is one of the least horrific things casters do.
    Entirely depends on wether or not you think thst snimsting the corpse also binds the soul. Seeing as though a true Rez spell works even without a body but not if that body is an undead it gives a pretty good indication that it does in fact trap the soul in some manner. That is what makes it evil.

    Then you get to the confusing bits though. If you use create undead where do souls come from for it? Or are the souls merely a side-effect and not a requirement? That would make create undead not explicitly evil but animate dead evil. Thats prolly what I would go with...

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Supposedly, it's because undead are auto-evil.

    Despite necropolitans, and dread necromancers, and ghosts, and baelnorns, and demiliches, and...and...and...

    Yeah, despite them. Because mindless undead hunger for living flesh, except that mindless undead are mindless, and don't ever do anything that they aren't told...but...are animated by negative energy...which is neutral-aligned...errr...

    Death is bad, mm'kay?
    Last edited by Lycanthromancer; 2009-11-10 at 12:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Does not the fireball incinerate it's target with painful flame until they die? Does not the lightning bolt sear it's targets with excruciating electricity? Animate Dead can, in the hands of a good wizard, help even the battlefield between good and evil. Good needs all the help it can get. Summoning help is not a sign of weakness. No matter how powerful you may be, having allies makes you stronger.

    As long as you're not harvesting corpses for the purpose of animating them... Let the buried dead rest and the innocent live. The bodies of the cruel and villainous, however, deserve no such privileges, nor do they usually care much about the fates of their bodies... So who should even object to the act?

    To quote Dragon Magazine #372 (February 2009), page 20, regarding the topic of necromantic powers:

    "Their sometimes dark descriptions might make them seem odd in the hands of good PCs but if you think about it, no more so than the flesh-crisping fury of fireball or the blood-letting butchery of reaping strike."

    (That article contains the 4th edition version of Animate Dead, which is a level 9 Wizard Daily power. It raises a fallen enemy in battle who's then an undead under the wizard's command for the remainder of the battle.)
    Last edited by Thajocoth; 2009-11-10 at 12:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    While the alignment system has its problems, don't make baseless statements. "Dominating people to fight and die for you" is pretty explicitly called out as wrong in BoED. Hell, even in the PHB Lawful Evil is called "Dominator."
    But Dominate isn't evil.
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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Thajocoth View Post
    Does not the fireball incinerate it's target with painful flame until they die? Does not the lightning bolt sear it's targets with excruciating electricity?
    I'll do you on better
    5th level druid spell Call Avalanche drops a ton of snow on anyone in the area of effect (8d6), and creatures who fail their save are buried. Unless they dig their way out (or possibly make a DC 25 strength check, DM discretion), they die slowly, 1d6 per minute I think.

    At least lightning bolt and fireball spells are quick(ish) deaths ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radiun View Post
    I'll do you on better
    5th level druid spell Call Avalanche drops a ton of snow on anyone in the area of effect (8d6), and creatures who fail their save are buried. Unless they dig their way out (or possibly make a DC 25 strength check, DM discretion), they die slowly, 1d6 per minute I think.

    At least lightning bolt and fireball spells are quick(ish) deaths ;-)
    Druids use the poison spell.

    Aren't poisons evil? Even drow sleeping poison? Which, admittedly, is kinda a humane alternative to bludgeoning someone to death or slitting their throats, if it comes right down to it?

    D&D alignments are FUBAR'd. At least, when it comes to BoED and BoVD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycanthromancer View Post
    Druids use the poison spell.

    Aren't poisons evil? Even drow sleeping poison? Which, admittedly, is kinda a humane alternative to bludgeoning someone to death or slitting their throats, if it comes right down to it?

    D&D alignments are FUBAR'd. At least, when it comes to BoED and BoVD.
    Actually ironically enough Drow Sleeping Poison is listed as a NON-evil poison in the BoED since it does NOT do ability damage...

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    Default Re: Animate Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik
    BoVD, page 8.
    Thank you so much. No one has ever before mentioned to me where this contrived rule comes up. I'm also glad to find out it's just a tacked on piece of nonsense from an equally stupid book. Phew, I thought it might have actually been in the rules somewhere.

    On a side note, it goes to show how stupid both the BoVD and the BoED are, considering stuff like this. I never bothered to pick up the BoVD, and the BoED is 60% how to do stuff that's supposedly "evil" and still call yourself good (a holy assassin, good poisons, forcefully changing people's alignments, and stupid stuff like deathless - oh look, undead that aren't undead really).

    You have no idea how happy I am now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashiel View Post
    Thank you so much. No one has ever before mentioned to me where this contrived rule comes up. I'm also glad to find out it's just a tacked on piece of nonsense from an equally stupid book. Phew, I thought it might have actually been in the rules somewhere.

    On a side note, it goes to show how stupid both the BoVD and the BoED are, considering stuff like this. I never bothered to pick up the BoVD, and the BoED is 60% how to do stuff that's supposedly "evil" and still call yourself good (a holy assassin, good poisons, forcefully changing people's alignments, and stupid stuff like deathless - oh look, undead that aren't undead really).

    You have no idea how happy I am now.
    Good Clerics still can't cast spells with the Evil tag including any undead related ones...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenogears View Post
    Actually ironically enough Drow Sleeping Poison is listed as a NON-evil poison in the BoED since it does NOT do ability damage...
    I stand corrected.

    However, I note a distinct lack of [Evil] tags on the poison spell, on shivering touch, ego whip, prismatic spray/wall/sphere, ray of enfeeblement, and the various poisonous animals and vermin crawling around in the Monster Manual.

    Oh, and ravages too, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenogears View Post
    Good Clerics still can't cast spells with the Evil tag including any undead related ones...
    Oh, that's fine by me. They can do it in thematically appropriate ways (such as getting the spell animate dead on their spell list with the Death domain, if they're a lawful good cleric of Wee Jass or something else appropriate.

    However, I'm glad to find out that this idea of arbitrarily forcing alignment changes based on [Descriptors] is just from some random (highly optional) splat-book. It just makes more sense the normal way (notice the comments about golems, and celestial badgers and how silly yet completely accurate they are by the Book-of rules).

    I'm also relieved that the reason I couldn't find the rule people were talking about is because I never bothered to buy that silly book.
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