Author Topic: Virtue penalty for spell usage?  (Read 12076 times)

Offline Joe

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Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« on: October 28, 2004, 03:28:29 AM »
I recently picked up the Book of Vile Darkness, and it discusses certain spells and why they are or aren't evil to use. Spells like Animate Dead, Horrid Wilting, Energy Drain, etc... strike me as being evil to use based on what is discussed in the book. I can elaborate if needed, but what do you guys think about that?

Offline Echon

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2004, 03:49:12 AM »
If Animate Dead in BG was like the one in Player's Handbook, where you animate the bodies of slain enemies, I think it would be fair to have it affect Virtue but since it is basically just a summoning spell, I think it will be difficult to convince the player that he is doing anything particuarly evil.

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Offline Joe

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2004, 02:22:44 PM »
Well, the spell apparently "creates" undead creatures to serve you which, regardless of your intentions, brings more negative energy to the world. That would be evil.

Offline Echon

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2004, 02:37:54 PM »
That may be a result of it. Similarly, running around in Amn fighting and killing creatures, even in the name of good, strengthens gods with the portfolios of war, murder, death, strife, etc. Is that evil?

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Offline neriana

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2004, 03:35:22 PM »
If Animate Dead in BG was like the one in Player's Handbook, where you animate the bodies of slain enemies, I think it would be fair to have it affect Virtue but since it is basically just a summoning spell, I think it will be difficult to convince the player that he is doing anything particuarly evil.

-Echon

Does is matter whom you're making into undead? You're raising somebody from the earth to throw at your enemies, I don't see why who they were has anything to do with it. I never have my good characters use it because it sure sounds evil to me.

Why would Horrid Wilting and Energy Drain would be considered evil though?
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Offline Reverendratbastard

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2004, 04:11:50 PM »
Why would Horrid Wilting and Energy Drain would be considered evil though?

 i suspect, at least in EDrain's case, that goes to the 'negative energy' argument, not to mention, what's it a symptom/symbol of?  first things that come to my mind are vampires and succubi.  offhand i can think of no non-evil creatures that inherently have this power.  hence the idea that achieving the same result through the 'indifferent' medium of magic is nevertheless >emulating< an 'evil power' . . . here begins the ends-justify-the-means debate . . .
 as for the wilting, well, it is horrid . . .  :P
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Offline SimDing0

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2004, 04:20:12 PM »
A corpse isn't a living object. Much like graverobbing, it's pretty disrespectful, but if you pick up and throw somebody's body at someone, it's not doing a world of harm to the dead guy. Presumably the same applies to magically animating a corpse, no?

Offline Reverendratbastard

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2004, 04:31:27 PM »

  speaking as a dm/gm/st/whatevz, i would only consider animating the dead to be Bad if it was in direct violation of an actual cemetery or any consecrated space.  as opposed to, say, ancient battlegrounds, which would have a case-by-case basis as far as whether [Tempus] would take offense, whether the area was known for The Decisive Battle or Eternal Conflict or yada yada . . .
  keep in mind of course that this (on the face of it, anyway) is in no way influencing any non-corporeal part of the dead-in-question - unless of course they left a ghost tied to the corpse or some part of it - but is rather feeding Negative Plane energy into the shell.
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Offline Echon

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2004, 05:13:30 PM »
Does is matter whom you're making into undead? You're raising somebody from the earth to throw at your enemies, I don't see why who they were has anything to do with it. I never have my good characters use it because it sure sounds evil to me.

What I mean is that to the player, it looks like any other summoning spell. It can used anywhere in game, including places that certainly do not have corpses lying around. If the penalties for using a spell cannot be found in the game but are related to something outside the game, I do not think there should be any.

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Offline Kish

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2004, 05:28:32 PM »
It's pretty obvious to the player that the spell is animating skeletons.  That said, I agree with Sim--making corpses get up and attack enemies is tasteless, but not exactly evil.
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Offline Reverendratbastard

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2004, 05:59:25 PM »
 
 "dammit, viconia, must you be so - tacky??!"
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Offline sotona

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2004, 09:17:16 AM »
I recently picked up the Book of Vile Darkness, and it discusses certain spells and why they are or aren't evil to use. Spells like Animate Dead, Horrid Wilting, Energy Drain, etc... strike me as being evil to use based on what is discussed in the book. I can elaborate if needed, but what do you guys think about that?

I think its a good idea. Casting something like Horrid Wilting on the streets should be penalised.

Offline SimDing0

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2004, 09:20:00 AM »
Why specifically on the streets? Breaking the law is not necessarily evil.

Offline sotona

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2004, 09:53:18 AM »
Why specifically on the streets? Breaking the law is not necessarily evil.

I'm trying to say that casting 'evil spells' is evil, according to the ad&d rules AND common sense :)

Offline SimDing0

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2004, 10:59:29 AM »
What defines an evil spell? Horrid Wilting kills your enemies, but then so does Holy Smite. It's not as simple as saying "well the name has 'horrid' in, so it must be evil".

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2004, 11:09:36 AM »
Excuse the name and fact, but why is Horrid Wilting so evil? Does it require the blood of small children as a material component, perhaps? Does it cause the caster to consider going into politics as a fall-back career? Is it called Wilson?

All I can see is that it kills things in an efficient manner. Machiavellian and effective. Is radical dehydration really so evil? Why is incinerating, petrifying, imprisoning, poisoning or exploding someone not considered as evil? Really, virtually any spell that is intended to cause harm could be rationalized as 'evil'. Perhaps a component that penalizes the party for every point of damage done to anyone/thing? :P

Offline Reverendratbastard

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2004, 01:26:57 PM »
 if it kills innocent bystanders (which it certainly will if there are any in the area of effect) then there's no need for a 'circumstantial' penalty.
 if there aren't innocent bystanders to kill, who cares?  8)
 
 the only technically 'evil' spells in 2e have the word 'unholy' in them.  however, it'd be hard to argue that one should >gain< virtue for casting 'holy smite' or 'holy word' - so why be penalized for the opposite?  (good-aligned priests don't even have the option to cast those, correct?)

 indeed, as a rule it looks like it should be about the results of the casting (which has already been implemented, ne?), and not the casting itself.
 
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Offline jester

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2004, 02:47:37 PM »
As one of those innocent bystanders: Is this book some mod conent or a rulebook?
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Offline Kish

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2004, 04:24:04 PM »
if it kills innocent bystanders (which it certainly will if there are any in the area of effect)
Actually, no.  Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting only hurts enemies of the caster.  That's a major factor in it being one of the best spells in the game.

The Book of Vile Darkness is a 3ed D&D rulebook.  It, and its counterpart the Book of Exalted deeds, have a lot of dodgy ideas.
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Offline Andyr

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2004, 08:38:49 PM »
In 3E at least, a lot of Good and Neutral aligned deities hold that the creation of Undead is an Evil act (Lathander, Kelemvor and some others).
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Offline jester

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2004, 08:44:53 PM »
Should these gods grant their priests the spell Animate dead at all, if it is deemed an evil spell? I lost track of the access spheres, but the cleric of Lathander has it IIRC.
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Offline Andyr

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2004, 08:57:39 PM »
Actually...

If someone has a concrete pnp answer to that one, then we'll change spell access for Cleric Remix for them.
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Offline CamDawg

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2004, 09:01:42 PM »
Oh, good thinking. We already adjust the existing alignment-dependent spells (Holy Smite/Unholy Blight) to depend on deity alignment so this falls right in line with that.
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Offline Caedwyr

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2004, 09:21:47 PM »
The funny thing about Kelmvor's specialty priest is that even though he hates undead and those who create undead, he has several special spells granted to his clergy which summon and create undead beings.  ???
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Offline Kish

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Re: Virtue penalty for spell usage?
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2004, 11:32:53 PM »
Should these gods grant their priests the spell Animate dead at all, if it is deemed an evil spell? I lost track of the access spheres, but the cleric of Lathander has it IIRC.
So does Aerie--and I'd say that's fairly indicative of it not being considered an evil spell, since Aerie, alone of all the clerics in the game, can't cast Unholy Blight.
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