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Topic Summary

Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 03, 2005, 09:43:46 PM »

I think it's the fact that you are playing fast and loose with other peoples souls that would make it wrong.  Souls are considered to be important, and they belong entirely to one person.  I'm not saying it should have a Virtue hit (we haven't even decided if there really are souls inside the skeletons), I'm just saying that it doesn't seem all that ethical to use other people's souls in such a manner, even though it doesn't cause them any pain (and maybe it does, how do we know it doesn't?).
Posted by: SixOfSpades
« on: January 03, 2005, 08:23:02 PM »

If Skeletons and Zombies don't have intelligence ("Take what you will, we might as well be nothing more than mindless skeletons") of their own, can Animating them really cause pain or harm to the souls of those who once resided in them?

[ADD] Oh yeah. If a Virtue penalty of -1 is applied for Skeleton Warriors, that would necessitate a drop of -2 for the various Demon / Fallen Planetar / Fallen Deva summonings, which must then be balanced with +2 bonuses for summoning their non-Fallen versions. So a Sorcerer abusing Project Image could jump from a 1 to a 20 in about two minutes.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 03, 2005, 07:53:51 PM »

Are you using their soul, though? I'd be inclined to say it just animated the body.

Well, like I said, I'm not sure, so I'm not really going to debate this, nor am I going to insist that people get Virtue penalties for using the spell. :) I said before, I consider the spell evil (and how it is portrayed in pnp does matter to me), but I think it's best to leave it a gray area and let people use their discretion.

However, I also must point out that if using summoned creatures from another plane and making them fight for you is morally wrong, I don't see how that is much worse than using someone else's soul, if it really *is* the soul that's being used for the spell.
Posted by: SimDing0
« on: January 03, 2005, 07:50:50 PM »

Are you using their soul, though? I'd be inclined to say it just animated the body.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 03, 2005, 07:49:18 PM »

Those are some good points, but is using someone's soul for 8 hours (without their permission) really all that fair?
Posted by: Lord Kain
« on: January 03, 2005, 07:25:59 PM »

Animate Dead is more powerful then the summon animal or any of those monster summoning spells.

If you summon an animal or a monster, they may not remember it but they did feel pain as the fault for you. Isn't that more evil then summoning an evil undead which would feel no pain anyways? If we are going to have a virtue hit on spells. What about the ones that call uncontrolled fiends to the battle field.
Releasing an uncontrolled creature upon the area intentionally is evil.

Your not going to hurt anyone by casting BG's animate dead. The spell expires in 8 hours sending the summoned undead back to where they came form. Even if it did animate the dead as named they are only animated for 8 hours then there souls would be free. Raise dead won't bring them back to life they'd need more powerful magic but so what.

Finally if I have to take  a virtue hit to use the most powerful summoning spell (high level abilities aside) then I won't update virtue ever again. Clerics may have restrictions on what spells they can cast based on alignment but wizards do not. Except for Krynn.

Posted by: Andyr
« on: January 03, 2005, 10:02:32 AM »

I know we are talking about BGII. :) But I don't think this makes the pnp rules meaningless. I would say that the thought behind the spell still makes it Evil, even though in BGII you don't need a corpse to cast it on.

Why not, then, just cast one of the Animal or Monster Summoning spells if you don't want a Virtue hit?
Posted by: Lord Kain
« on: January 02, 2005, 09:00:36 PM »

Andyr right now we are speaking of the Baldur's gate animate dead. The PnP animate dead means nothing. Zero, nota single thing.
« on: January 02, 2005, 01:21:57 PM »

Grey Necromancy and Animate Dead specifically are fine for use by neutral characters in general. They aren't so much for followers of Kelemvor, who considers the undead to be, without exception, an abomination. Despite this, you could still create this character-- and one very similar to him is described in the Necromancer's Handbook. There was even a Lichslayer Necromancer Kit, though I don't believe you'd be able to replicate that within the BG2 engine. What you could replicate are the various White Necromancy spells. White Necromancy generally contained two types of spells: Healing spells (which worked through health transfer-- the caster gives up hitpoints to heal someone else), and anti-undead spells (which are rather self-explanatory).
Posted by: Andyr
« on: January 02, 2005, 11:27:19 AM »

Yes and no... The caster has complete control over them in that only he can order them to do anything.

Skeletons and zombies only understand very simple commands, though, and have no initiative. Similar to golems in that respect. ;)

So the caster's will tells them what to do any nobody else can. But the caster is not controlling their every action, and is not aware of them and what they are doing at all times.

The souls, as far as I know, are removed from the afterlife to sit helpless in the bodies.

Note more powerful undead (ghouls, wights and onwards) are sentient and free-willed, but you don't get them with the BG2 spell. In pnp, these are created by other spells such as the aptly-named Create Greater Undead. :)
Posted by: jester
« on: January 02, 2005, 09:43:00 AM »

Jes: Summoned creatures are drawn from a different plane. So they did exist before. When the spell expires, or when they are killed, they are returned unharmed to their home plane.

So summoning anything is not evil as it does not really harm the creatures involved. How about the souls of the animated undead? Aren't they moved by the extended will of the caster instead of their own souls?
Posted by: Andyr
« on: January 02, 2005, 07:22:08 AM »

As far as I know, once enacted the spell is permanent. The death of the creator just means he can't give them any more orders. ;) The skeletons persist until destroyed.
Posted by: jester
« on: January 02, 2005, 04:54:02 AM »

What happens to the animated undead, if the caster dies? I always read it as the corpses being animated and not the souls rejoined with their bodies. Which just now tells me that I don't know how FR handles the soul after burial. The berserker warrior you can summon with the Horn of Valhala should be considered an undead too. Correct?

I don't think anyone who chooses the path of a specialist mage school (Kish examples of necromancy for healing are more the cleric's domain) would refrain from exploring every aspect of it. After all I always believed there is a part of scientific background and schooling not unlike alchemy behind the mage specialisations.
Posted by: SixOfSpades
« on: January 02, 2005, 12:44:44 AM »

You don't need to cast Animate Dead to function as a necromancer, so that would be simple enough.
Yeah, except that Animate Dead is pretty much the quintessential Necromancy spell, the single most potent visual symbol of that branch of magic. Besides, Gordon is Levels 8 (Fighter) -> 2 (Mage) when you can first meet him (he lives just off Waukeen's Promenade), and it makes a lot of sense for Gordon to have self-motivated his studies by refusing to wear armor or use his sword until he has learned how to raise the dead. Of course, I could easily change that to Death Spell, another milestone in the necromantic reportoire, but that would put him at Levels 11->2, which is far more EXP than the party could have by that point.

As for the precise ethics of casting Animate Dead, it's worth saying that BG and D&D are two separate games (whether or not they should be is a thorny topic indeed), and that none of the spellcasters in the game, not even Aerie, show any compunction about the spell at all. I believe Valygar does in one of his banters, but then again I may have my signals crossed: I know I wrote an anti-Necromancy banter between Valygar and Gordon, but I'm not sure there's already one with an existing NPC.

BG2 is 2nd edition with touches of 3rd, and some mod content is even bringing in 3.5. In the interests of leaving NPCs like Gordon more possible, I'd like to keep Animate Dead as 'Gray' Necromancy, perfectly acceptable for Neutral characters to use.

Side note: What exactly does Turn Undead do to those Undead who are destroyed by its effects? Suppose Anomen calls up a few Skeleton Warriors to help him out, and when the battle is over he Turns them, so that they don't have to serve him any longer than necessary. Does this cause their souls any harm? Would dispatching them by hand be more humane?
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 01, 2005, 11:27:41 PM »

In pnp it is defnitely an evil spell, in 3E+ it even has the [Evil] subtype. ;)

So I've seen. :) I *think* the spell really does make use of the souls of the dead, which to me is to be on the safe side I've never had anyone except Viconia cast the spell. However, I'm reluctant to really debate anyone on the subject because I don't know for sure how the spell works. :)