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Can a good cleric summon skeleton warriors?

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Comments

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited July 1
    redline wrote: »
    Count me in the "game mechanics do not excuse lore violations" camp, but I think there are lore-consistent ways to treat this spell as compatible with a good alignment. Aragorn made use of an army of undead, after all; one could consider the raised skeletons as particular lost soul(s) assisting the PC for the sake of redemption, glory, an ancient debt, etc. as opposed to just "the nearest anonymous corpse."

    That interpretation may not be consistent with the actual spell description, though. I'd have to plead ignorance on that front.

    Aragorn with the ghost army was the example that came to my mind, too. There are many situations in other fantasy settings where the ghosts of fallen heroes come to fight again, like the Heroes of the Horn in the Wheel of Time. But they're ghosts, not rotten flesh or bare bones made to walk around by magic. I think it's a difference if you invoke the spirit of a warrior to come to your aid, or if you twist nature by making dead matter move around on its own.

    Post edited by Arvia on
    redline
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 1
    That spell, the conditions that make a paladin fall and EVERITHING that happens in the game is given by the developers and not by the gods, quite obvious fact as this is a crpg.
    But we are not talking of exploiting backdoors or bugs, we are talking of deliberate choices that somehow set the in game lore.
    That is similar, but not exactly the same lore of the pnp or novels lore, just as the spell system and other aspects of the game are similar but not the same.
    I, or you, can like it or not, personally i dont like how a good character can do evil things as long as he buy from the churces rep points, but for a single bad choice in the hell trials can be doomed without a redemption chance.
    Wether we like it or not this is the in game lore, it is how the in game gods think and act.
    If we dont like that we are free to play with our own house rules, from going full PG to very strict self given RP limitations, but the gods, as implemented by the game creators, seem to dont have any problem with summoning skeletons, gating demons and other things that we can regard as evil, while care a lot of some choices in particular moments. And that is how the game lore is implemented and defined by the game rules and mechanics.

    mlneveseStummvonBordwehrSkatan
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    I have never understood why a lawful good cleric (like Anomen after being knighted) can cast Gate.

    ThacoBellgorgonzolasemiticgod
  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 311
    Arvia wrote: »
    I have never understood why a lawful good cleric (like Anomen after being knighted) can cast Gate.

    Fight fire with fire? I can see certain heretical priests of good deities using demons and undead to fight what they perceive as evil. Why risk the lives of the innocent when one could risk reanimated bones that are already dead or a demon that is an enemy of good anyway.

    I guess such a person may consider himself lawful good without actually being lawful good.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,035
    Depends on how the spell functions. Are you tearing the souls of the dead and forcing them into actual dead remains to fight for you? No way in heck a good cleric (or their deity) would ever allow that. But if the "undead" are not actual remains of the deceased and just magical constructs (much like golems) then I think its fair game.

    gorgonzolaredline
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 1
    Arvia wrote: »
    I have never understood why a lawful good cleric (like Anomen after being knighted) can cast Gate.
    Me also, and i never use gate with good oriented parties. I also dont understand how Keldorn can kill Viconia only for her race and faith in Shar without falling, but it is my way to RP, according to my feelings, to use a mod that prevent her from being killed or to avoid the gate spell with every good oriented party are house rules of mine, not the way the i game lore suggest to play.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
    mlneveseJuliusBorisov
  • leeuxleeux Member Posts: 74
    Having Animate Dead always felt icky to me, and to be honest I've never myself casted it with any of my cleric (not even when using Viconia), until I started doing solo runs... but then, I only use them when I have to, like for Beholders, Mind Flyers and such... and then never again.

    Same for Gate... I don't think I ever used Gate on any of my playthroughs ever with any characters... perhaps with the sole exception of that single time I used Neera as my mage, when I didn't knew better :wink: But that was followed by an instant reload :smiley:

  • RigelRigel Member Posts: 68
    @gorgonzola I agree with you. Personally I will not use this spell for a good-aligned cleric but I guess that one could find a reason to use it (a bit like @redline said, Aragorn is an example of a good person summoning undeads). As you said "there are many ways to RP the game" and that is why BG is so wonderful (and I am not yet mentioning the modes which increase enormously the game's potential).
    An other interesting point is "there are a lot of things more evil...". For example, in the Stronghold quest for the priest of Lathander, the slaughter of the whole church of Talos is a bit problematic. This may be an example of a "justified preemptive war", but this is still a slaughter. As well, when Kelddath Ormlyr asks you to kill Bassilus, I would have expected this from the Helm church, and not from the Lathander's one.
    @Arvia The summoning of animals is really problematic. Lets take the Beastmaster for example. He is supposed to love animals, to be close to them, and finally all what he does is to invoke beasts to serve as cannon fodder. Same thing for the druids, and the spell "Call Woodland being"... poor nymph.

    gorgonzolaJuliusBorisovArvia
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 2
    I am not quite sure of how the summon thing really works in the game.
    from one side we can think that the summons are only something generated by the magic energy as long as that energy is active, like the golems are, not real sentient beings. If that is true a summoned skeleton is something very different from a real undead like a lich or vampire that is a real person that is prolonging his life time at the cost of loosing or corrupting his soul.
    but in the game there are also clues that the summon can be a real pre existing creature, the fact that a mage has to engage a mental fight with the summoned elementals suggests that those are real sentient beings, not only matter animated by magic.
    If that is true to enslave a sentient being to have him fighting at your side and possibly die is imho extremely evil. And the fact that a priest can automatically enslave the elemental does not change the things.
    The npcs, your comrades, are risking their life by their own choice, are not slaves, a charmed enemy is enslaved, but you are defending yourself from his attacks, to summon sentient beings to build your army making them your slaves is an other thing, extremely evil, that should not be done by any good or even neutral oriented party.

    I chose to consider the summons as magic construct, like the golems, and not like real sentient beings, and it is not a RP choice, but is also not a PG one.
    As i always play good or "jaheira like" neutral to enslave real beings to fight my personal war is something i would never do, undeads, elementals or the fighter from the horn does not matter.
    But i don't want to completely loose an important aspect of the magic system like summoning, because i like how complex the game can be, allowing multiple tactics and ways to fight, so i prefer to consider the summons as something not sentient animated by magic and lasting as long as the magic lasts, that is going to end (not die) anyway when the magic expires.
    And this is not a pure RP choice, i am clear with me and with you about, is a choice done only to let a not evil party use the summoning magic.
    So for me a good toon summoning a skeleton is not doing anything more evil then a neanderthal man that uses a bone like a club, to summon undeads is not real necromancy, that would have created an undead lasting bejond the spell duration. As well as a druid is not calling a real nimph, a mage real gnolls or ogres and so on.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    leeux wrote: »
    Having Animate Dead always felt icky to me, and to be honest I've never myself casted it with any of my cleric (not even when using Viconia), until I started doing solo runs... but then, I only use them when I have to, like for Beholders, Mind Flyers and such... and then never again.
    this is clearly to bend RP and shift to the dark side of the force, oops sorry, to the PG aspect of the game.

    not that is wrong, player's freedom is the most important thing after player's fun, but that is what it is :)

    leeux
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,035
    @gorgonzola " I also dont understand how Keldorn can kill Viconia only for her race and faith in Shar without falling"

    Really, why's that? FWIW, Keldron doesn't kill Viconia just because she is a drow. He has clear admiration for Drizzt, who's heritage doesn't seem to bother him. I also seem to recall Keldorn being one of the characters that pushes you to save Viconia when she is first encountered.

    On another note, why would killing a priestess of Shar cause him to fall? Shar is a literal goddess of evil. She allies with Cyric (one of the few deities who will), she intends to WIPE OUT ALL LIFE ON THE PLANES, and has attempted to do so multiple times. Regularly tries to kill her good aligned sister Selune, and has SUCEEDED in murdering Mystra at least once. Deception is part of her porfolio and she goes out of her way to subvert the forces of good over to her side. Being a priestess of Shar ALONE not only completely justifies Keldorn's anger, but it also makes Viconia one of the most evil companions in the game.

    Arvialeeuxsemiticgod
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @gorgonzola " I also dont understand how Keldorn can kill Viconia only for her race and faith in Shar without falling"

    Really, why's that? FWIW, Keldron doesn't kill Viconia just because she is a drow. He has clear admiration for Drizzt, who's heritage doesn't seem to bother him. I also seem to recall Keldorn being one of the characters that pushes you to save Viconia when she is first encountered.

    On another note, why would killing a priestess of Shar cause him to fall? Shar is a literal goddess of evil. She allies with Cyric (one of the few deities who will), she intends to WIPE OUT ALL LIFE ON THE PLANES, and has attempted to do so multiple times. Regularly tries to kill her good aligned sister Selune, and has SUCEEDED in murdering Mystra at least once. Deception is part of her porfolio and she goes out of her way to subvert the forces of good over to her side. Being a priestess of Shar ALONE not only completely justifies Keldorn's anger, but it also makes Viconia one of the most evil companions in the game.

    Exactly. It's not a modern world, and he's not killing her because of the color of her skin. Worshipping Shar and embracing her power makes her evil. His and her gods are at war, and so are they.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    She is evil, but from the game we know that she can change, while dorn or korgan do not, and she is a refugee and is cooperating with the party, not trying to wipe all the life from the planes in the name of her goddess as far as i can see.
    Also there is plenty of evil people in the town and in amn, but a pally is not entitled to kill them all just for their alignment. Try to slaughter everyone that you meet and that glows red with a pally and see if he will not fall, unless you cheat in infinite money and continuosly buy rep birbing the churces.

    Anyway i clearly told that to have viky save and in a party with keldorn is a house rule of mine, i hate to play fanatic racist pallies and as the vanilla keldorn seems to me so i use a mod that removes the problem.
    And all that is quite OT here, mine was only an example of how a player can use custom rules, in the vanilla game he does not fall as a cleric that summon skeletons does not fall.

    JuliusBorisovleeux
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 215
    The way I see it, skeleton warriors are just magically animated remains. It's neither good nor evil, but rather putting some spare parts to use that would have otherwise rotted to waste.

    For me, the keys are 1) whether the creature is created, summoned, or called, 2) whether or not you have to dominate the summoned creature, and 3) whether the summoned creature dies permanently. For skeleton warriors, golems, etc., this makes it fairly easy (to me) Once the magic dissipates, so do the creatures - they were literally animated solely by magic.

    As an example of called vs summoned, there are some creatures who don't require domination, are capable of dying permanently, but seem to freely aid the party. That would be Jaheira's summon woodland creature spell (which I rarely use). I can sort of see how this would be morally objectionable, but given that you are calling it, not summoning, I'm not sure it poses an ethical dilemma.

    Then there are the creatures who are merely inconvenienced. Planetars, Devas, and a few other summons, will not die, but rather return to their original planes of existence. At the worst, you have mildly annoyed them for a few minutes. At best, you entertained them for a few minutes.

    Where I *can* see an ethical dilemma is in summons where you must dominate the summoned creature or where you have forcefully brought in an intelligent creature who will die a permanent death. Thus, I tend to avoid summons where this is the case. Specifically, I quit using summon monster I, II, and III. For Jaheira, this means no animal summoning.

    As a general rule, I tend to limit my summons to skeleton warriors, golems, magical swords, and when available, Planetars, Devas, and maybe Elementals if there isn't a domination component. There have been a few emergencies where I summoned a few sword spiders.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    @Maurvir
    i really appreciate your approach, that somehow is similar to mine, even if i chose to allow all summons (actually i rarely use them, but it does not matter) and i am more focused on the free will help vs enslavement side. For me the fact that a mage has to dominate an elemental is a clue that every summoned elemental is basically a slave, even if priest dominate it without having to fight. And the fact that every gnoll, nimph or animal is always willing to help, does not matter if the summoner is evil or good, is for me a clue that is enslaved, his free will is no more operating
    I chose to allow all summons cause i probably would use even less summons then you, probably only mordy swords and skeletons, and as i told i do it for other reasons then RP.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 3
    Arvia wrote: »
    Exactly. It's not a modern world, and he's not killing her because of the color of her skin. Worshipping Shar and embracing her power makes her evil. His and her gods are at war, and so are they.
    It is not the modern word, true, but is a quite racist word, maybe even more then our RL one.
    Think at Hunger Hilldark that has to hide in the CC cause of his race, while Neb is free to move around and own a house even if is much more evil. Think of Viconia that risk to be burned at a stake only for the color of her skin, while Dorn is free to move around and ask to the people he meet help to massacre people at a wedding. Why is not Dorn at the stake? Racism and skin colour...

    It is true that Viky worship an evil god and is evil, but a pally don't kill just for that, right next the radiant harth headquarters there is the talos temple, and talos it evil, why the paladins don't raid it and kill all the worshippers of that evil god?
    Because it is not the way things go in the FR, is not the modern society, but there is still some order it that society. A pally can kill an evil creature in the wilderness, or if he is attacked by it, or if the creature poses a concrete risk for some people, but is not entitled to be judge and executor with every evil person he meet.
    And keldorn do it with a person of different skin colour among all the evil people he meets adventuring with you, that comes from the underdark, even if that person makes clear that is on the surface for her own reasons as refugee, is not an agent of the drows come to harm the surface people.
    Sorry IMHO this is plain old racism. or maybe is only bad game design as at first he suggest you to save the drow when is tied to the stake, but then do with his sword exactly what the fanatic racists wanted to do with fire...
    EDIT:or better he ask you to drop her from the party, he is perfectly fine if the dangerous drow and Shar worshipper helps her goddess to destroy the planes as long that she is far from him, what really bother him is to be forced to share the same party with a dirty negro, .....sorry dark elf. Is that not plain racism? end of EDIT.
    This is not how i like to RP a pally, so i change the rules with a mod, and doing that i change the lore of my own game, making the compassionate aspect of a paladin prevail on the legal one, my Keldorn becomes less racist, less self entitled judge and executor, more similar to my own idea of a true paladin.


    leeux
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 215
    I dunno, as much as I hate to say it, I feel that Faerun probably mirrors the real world in terms of racism/classism/etc.

    However, I don't see Keldorn as racist. Instead, as an inquisitor, he really puts the fun back in religious fundamentalism. I suspect his objection to Viconia really does come down to her worship of Shar more than her drow heritage.

    gorgonzolaThacoBellArvia
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,035
    @gorgonzola "She is evil, but from the game we know that she can change, while dorn or korgan do not, and she is a refugee and is cooperating with the party, not trying to wipe all the life from the planes in the name of her goddess as far as i can see."

    Her changing is pure meta knowledge and has nothing to do with her deity and alignment. "As far as you can see," also holds no water. Shar is the goddess of DECEPTION, and one of her favorite tactics is subverting good. THere are even entire sects of neutral Sharites that exist solely to trick people into thinking Shar isn't evil, so they can be taken advantage of. The fact that Viconia ends up being bad at it, is just justification after the fact.

    gorgonzolaArvia
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    @ThacoBell true, but as i told i am using a house rule and changing the game lore.
    What i tell is only true in that contest, i dont like something, i change it and this give me more fun and subjective value to my playing. I dont pretend that it shall be good for all the players.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,035
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    @ThacoBell true, but as i told i am using a house rule and changing the game lore.
    What i tell is only true in that contest, i dont like something, i change it and this give me more fun and subjective value to my playing. I dont pretend that it shall be good for all the players.

    Then there is zero point in discussion or bringing it up in context with the game or lore.

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 1,531
    In regards to the OP's question, if I recall correctly, yes, but they must ask permission from the souls of the dead first.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    @ThacoBell true, but as i told i am using a house rule and changing the game lore.
    What i tell is only true in that contest, i dont like something, i change it and this give me more fun and subjective value to my playing. I dont pretend that it shall be good for all the players.

    Then there is zero point in discussion or bringing it up in context with the game or lore.

    If you read the post where i first brought it up i was saying that the game sets a lore, in which all the gods, even the good ones, grant the spell to summon undeads, so to do it does not upset them.
    To avoid to do it with good clerics is to adopting a house rule, that changes the lore set by what happens in the game, just like to have a keldorn that does not kill viconia is a house rule.
    Mi point was that the game sets a lore with its plot and mechanics, at least when a clear bug is not involved, and to act differently is fine, but is to create a change in the lore, the viky keldorn querelle was only a further example of it

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,035
    @gorgonzola the discussion in this thread is how to resolve the issue of good clerics raising undead within the game's lore. RPing your own rules is fine, but when the discussion is about the game's lore and working within that limitation, just making stuff up is unhelpful to the discussion. If the answer to every lroe question is to "Make your own lore up." then there is no point to any discussion.

    Arvia
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 653
    I like the spell a lot, and it may cloud my judgement. But I have never had a problem with letting a good aligned cleric or a paladin use the spell - often.

    As I see religion, you can have many approaches. One is a hard core black and white stance (I call it archaic) or a more philosophical approach. I like the latter, but don’t consider the one better than the other (or I guess I do, but that’s where I sinneth the most...)

    But in my philosophical approach I always let the intent behind the decision be the guide. If the intention is really and truly good, the good cleric can use the spell. But that’s just me.

    I can’t quote many real life books on the subject. But the works on magic by the 14. century Islamic scholar and sharia expert Ibn Khaldun comes to mind.

    In general Ibn Khaldun considers magic evil. But he also lets the intention behind the action be the guide if it’s a sin or not. So he does make room for necromantic magic in medieval sharia - it the intent is good.

    So imo if Ibn Khaldun can find a way for the necromantic good guys, so can I in fair Faerun.

    Byw: The only truly evil magic in the eyes of the sharia pundit is divination - in your face diviners.

    leeuxgorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 5
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @gorgonzola the discussion in this thread is how to resolve the issue of good clerics raising undead within the game's lore.
    ............
    If the answer to every lroe question is to "Make your own lore up." then there is no point to any discussion.
    As i told before as the gods grant the spells a cleric has and even Lathander grants that spell in the game lore a good oriented priest can summon undeads without any problem.
    The game lore can be different from the pnp or novels one, and can be well or badly implemented, but as it is clearly not the case of the exploit of a bug or backdoor, but to use an intended game feature, the fact that the good gods give to their cleric the spell is the proof that the good cleric can use it.
    So there is no issue at all to resolve.

    To make our own lore up is a good way to add value to our RP, and the point of talking of house changes of the lore is only that it can help us to find a more satyifying way to play as gives us other points of view to expand our orizon.
    but imho both the OP problems with a good cleric summoning skeletons and my problem with keldorn killing viconia are in the altered lore range. In the game Lathander grants the summoning spell so there is no issue at all if a lathander's priest uses it, just as in game keldorn kills viconia by design and without consequences so there is no issue in him acting so.
    If @BelgarathMTH dont like that his good clerics summon undeads and i dont like that the paladins kill people for their race and algnment only it is good that we use custom rules to make the game more enjoyable, but we are both on an altered lore ground.

    My answer to the OP's lore question is :"there is no issue, Lathander grants the spell so Lathander is ok with the spell being used by good clerics".
    My answer to the OP's question is not to suggest him to change the game lore, even if he can do it if he likes.


  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    @gorgonzola , It's not game lore, it's quite the opposite. It's a failure of engine design.

    Check the date when I first asked this question. I don't even remember the beginning of it. The thread got necromanced by somebody.

    I refuse to be pulled into any unpleasant arguments that annoy me and make me angry. I had already stopped clicking on this thread. Please do not tag me into it again, thank you.

    Arvia
  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 311
    Check the date when I first asked this question. I don't even remember the beginning of it. The thread got necromanced by somebody.

    So the question now is: is it evil to cast animate thread?

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    I will not tag again if asked to do so, and the thread necro was not done by me, but as the thread is now active again i feel free to write here my opinion.
    About the supposed failure of the game design there are spells that the clerics get or not get depending on their alignment, deva or fallen deva and holy smite or unholy blight, so the engine allows different spells depending on the alignment.
    If in the game good clerics can summon undeads it is clearly by an intended design decision. Good or bad one is a subjective evaluation, but it sets the in game lore, and by the way that decision is the one that gives the maximum freedom to the players as no one compells a player to use that spell, but who does not have the same feelings can do it.
    I don't apologize as i did not know that the OP did not want to be tagged, but my intention is not, and never was, to upset anyone.

    ThacoBell
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