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Can Necromancers be good (or at least neutral) ?

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Comments

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 3,979
    edited April 6
    Qyburn in Game of Thrones doesn't strike me as being 'evil' per se. I definitely think he counts as a necromancer. He seeks knowledge for the advancement of humankind (or so he says). Personally, I think he's portrayed as a Kevorkian type of doctor who is mostly just curious about death and disease. Still, not really evil, maybe more like true neutral or chaotic neutral.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,333
    Necromancy tends to be the school I go to on the rare occasions I play mage. I exclusively play good as well. I also look at it a little differently philosophically, as I tend to play Druids with a focus on death and decay as well. Death is needed to make room for new life. My necromancers won't kill unless out of self defense, but when necessary, they look at it as necessary as part of the cycle of life.

    Balrog99
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,748
    Depends on if they have a priest of Kelemvor in their party. If they do then they can be a good or neutral necromancer for only so long as they can survive a good pummeling :)

    ThacoBellBalrog99BelgarathMTH
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 675
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Necromancy tends to be the school I go to on the rare occasions I play mage. I exclusively play good as well. I also look at it a little differently philosophically, as I tend to play Druids with a focus on death and decay as well. Death is needed to make room for new life. My necromancers won't kill unless out of self defense, but when necessary, they look at it as necessary as part of the cycle of life.

    Despite Necromancy being the study of death, it's not killing that usually gets them put in the evil category. If it was then Evocation would be the Ultimate Evil.

    Rather, it's unkilling, the reversal or thwarting of the death process, that puts them in the evil territory.

    Though of course if a priest does it, then that's good and holy.

    ThacoBellBelgarathMTH
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 861
    edited April 7
    The idea that dragging the souls down from the heavens is evil has always confused me a little.
    So you spend eternity minding your manners while drinking tea and toasting politely to divinities as they pass through the gardens on the way to more exciting pastimes while aunt Maggy tells you her life story for the 4000th time, and somehow you are supposed to be resistant to a summon to the mortal plane where you get to beat up random strangers without any danger of feeling pain yourself.
    Frankly, I would probably be fine being tasked with guarding an ancient tomb that no one is going to visit for several millennia. Eternity is forever. Taking a break for a few thousand years can only be healthy for the mind.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,333
    If reversing death is evil, then there are no good priests.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,910
    edited April 7
    @Chronicler and @ThacoBell . The priestly Raise Dead spell is a holy gift of the gods, and only given to priests who please that god. It raises the deceased individual intact, with memories and free will uncorrupted, to continue their work in life, and is done with the full agreement of the person's immortal soul. Gygax's original inspiration for the spell was the story of Jesus and Lazereth from the Bible. If you look at the cleric spell list from early D&D editions, many of the cleric spells were clearly inspired from biblical stories of Moses (Part Water, Sticks to Snakes, Cure Disease), Elijah (Flame Strike, Whirlwind), and Jesus (Create Food and Water, Walk on Water, Raise Dead, Cure Disease, Cure Poison, Cure Blindness, Heal, Resurrect).

    Necromancy raises a shell of a living spirit into a dead and decaying body or bones, usually with no free will, to be commanded at the whims of the necromancer who did it, and without the consent of the former person's soul. Higher undead who retain their identity and free will, such as vampires, must maintain their undead bodies by killing others, drinking their blood, and in some cases, directly draining the life force of other souls with negative energy.

    It's creepy, Lovecraftian stuff, and I think an overwhelming majority of good-aligned people have an instinctive and intuitive revulsion to it. Necromancy in the classical sense positively reeks of evil.

    Add that to centuries worth of real life literature and story telling where a necromancer is the "big bad" of the story. Tolkein comes immediately to mind, as well as Shelley (Frankenstein), King (Pet Sematary), and others. Necromancy as an evil, forbidden thing is a firmly held archetype in the collective unconscious of human culture.

    ElysianEchoes
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,333
    Raise dead and all healign spells are classed as necromancy. So if Necromancy can only be evil, then so is all healing.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,072
    Really surprises me that no one classifies Enchantment/Charm as the ultimate evil school of magic.

    ThacoBellZaxaresArvia
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 861
    But @Raduziel , it is such a charming school of magic.

    ChroniclerThacoBell
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 35
    Yeah, if you think about it, the Enchantment school is capable of some SERIOUSLY depraved acts of evil. In fact, in the Ravenloft campaign setting (probably my all-time favourite setting!), there's a Darklord named Dominic d'Honair who's built around this exact premise. (If you're wondering just how evil he could be, put it this way: he gaslighted and manipulated a servant into killing herself when he was just 8 years old. He only got worse from there.)

    ThacoBell
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 788

    It's creepy, Lovecraftian stuff, and I think an overwhelming majority of good-aligned people have an instinctive and intuitive revulsion to it. Necromancy in the classical sense positively reeks of evil.

    Add that to centuries worth of real life literature and story telling where a necromancer is the "big bad" of the story. Tolkein comes immediately to mind, as well as Shelley (Frankenstein), King (Pet Sematary), and others. Necromancy as an evil, forbidden thing is a firmly held archetype in the collective unconscious of human culture.
    You are talking about the (relatively) modern take on necromancy, and fictional stories to boot.

    The first time I've ever read about necromancy is when we've had the Greek & Roman mythology is school. It was an art of communicating with the dead in the old religions, usually asking for guidance. That the modern fantasy (because Tolkien is modern by comparisons) have decided to turn this into an 'evil raising dead' trope is why it's usually regarded as evil in fantasy games. But that's what it is for me: a fantasy trope.

    If you read about the persecution of pagan religions by Christianity (something of interest of mine), this very often involved campaigning againts the old gods & beliefs by turning them into depictions of evil. Sometimes literally, in the Polish language a lot of the names used for the devil are actually names that were likely pagan deities, but were "rebranded" as demons by the Catholic clergy.

    For me generalizations such as "good-aligned people have an instinctive and intuitive revulsion to it" (unless you're talking here about the game setting) are very problematic, because there is an echo of the old persecutions to them.

    ThacoBell
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 675
    chimaera wrote: »

    For me generalizations such as "good-aligned people have an instinctive and intuitive revulsion to it" (unless you're talking here about the game setting) are very problematic, because there is an echo of the old persecutions to them.

    I have to imagine they're talking about the game setting. People don't have alignments in real life.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 788
    Chronicler wrote: »
    chimaera wrote: »

    For me generalizations such as "good-aligned people have an instinctive and intuitive revulsion to it" (unless you're talking here about the game setting) are very problematic, because there is an echo of the old persecutions to them.

    I have to imagine they're talking about the game setting. People don't have alignments in real life.

    Well, it's followed by "Necromancy as an evil, forbidden thing is a firmly held archetype in the collective unconscious of human culture. " which to me implies we are not talking about the game setting.

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