D&D 5E Why is animate dead considered inherently evil?

I'm having a troublesome time understanding why the animate dead spell is considered evil. When I read the manual it states that the spall imbues the targeted corpse with a foul mimicry of life, implying that the soul is not a sentient being who is trapped in a decaying corpse. Rather, the spell does exactly what its title suggests, it only animates the corps. Now of course one could use the spell to create zombies that would hunt and kill humans, but by that same coin, they could create a labor force that needs no form of sustenance (other than for the spell to be recast of course). There have also been those who have said "the spell is associated with the negative realm which is evil", however when you ask someone why the negative realm is bad that will say "because it is used for necromancy", I'm sure you can see the fallacy in this argument.

However, I must take into account that I have only looked into the DnD magic system since yesterday so there are likely large gaps in my knowledge. PS(Apon further reflection I've decided that the animate dead spell doesn't fall into the school of necromancy, as life is not truly given to the corps, instead I believe this would most likely fall into the school of transmutation.) PPS(I apologize for my sloppy writing, I've decided I'm feeling too lazy to correct it.)
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I know this is an old post but... I wanted to reply. I have to agree with your DM. In 5E the DMG states that the ring does basically only TWO things. (1) Difficult terrain doesn't cost extra movement and (2) MAGIC cannot reduce your speed or cause you to be paralyzed or restrained. MAGIC cannot cause this but POISON is not magic and therefore would still paralyze its victim. RAW. This means that even a roper can grapple and restrain a ring wearer who gets no advantage to get free. The ring works differently than the spell that it gets confused with so often.
Not-magic:1, magic: 1,000,000
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I know this is an old post but... I wanted to reply. I have to agree with your DM. In 5E the DMG states that the ring does basically only TWO things. (1) Difficult terrain doesn't cost extra movement and (2) MAGIC cannot reduce your speed or cause you to be paralyzed or restrained. MAGIC cannot cause this but POISON is not magic and therefore would still paralyze its victim. RAW. This means that even a roper can grapple and restrain a ring wearer who gets no advantage to get free. The ring works differently than the spell that it gets confused with so often.
Well, in 2e (the game I was playing at the time), the Ring's text and the spell (Free Action)'s text are nearly identical, as follows-
Free.jpg
Action.jpg
RingFreeAction.jpg

Now it's true that the Ring doesn't mention paralysis, but it can (and has) been ruled as working either way- is the Ring's list of effects it prevents exhaustive or summarized? Sure, you can say the Ring only says "when attacked by spells", but it also says "even while under water". Would it protect you from other difficult terrain or not? Solid Fog? The effects of being on a heavy gravity world or plane?

It was certainly my DM's right to make the ruling, but seeing as how he'd previously let it protect me from ghouls and an Entangle spell, I felt it was a bit inconsistent.

But at least jumping into water didn't make me fall straight to the bottom and take falling damage, as other DM's have ruled, lol.
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Interesting that neither the spell nor item write-up specifically mentions grappling, which to me has always been the whole point of Free Action: you can't be grappled.
I'm not sure about 1e, but 2e grappling was kind of weird. You make an attack, consult a chart, and you might establish a hold or just do damage, lol. With a small chance of an instant KO (provided the target didn't have regeneration- this last bit caused a huge rules debate in a Dark Sun game. We were gladiators (not necessarily Gladiators), and we were unarmed against a Half-Giant Wrestler who was absolutely based on a 90's WWF Superstar. Anyways, he punches our Dwarf and the DM rolls the KO and says he's out, and the Dwarf is like "wait, I have 21 Constitution, I regenerate so I can't be KO'd!"- because that 1 hit point he regained every 5 turns is literally under the heading "Regeneration" on the Constitution table).
 

ECMO3

Hero
I'm having a troublesome time understanding why the animate dead spell is considered evil. When I read the manual it states that the spall imbues the targeted corpse with a foul mimicry of life, implying that the soul is not a sentient being who is trapped in a decaying corpse. Rather, the spell does exactly what its title suggests, it only animates the corps.

Desecrating with a corpse is generally considered immoral and is illegal in all states in the U.S. making one move around like a puppet would be an extreme form of this I think.

So yes in a civilized society it probably is "evil". However, when you get down to it though I think Charm Person is generally more problematic and inherently immoral than Animate dead.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm not sure about 1e, but 2e grappling was kind of weird. You make an attack, consult a chart, and you might establish a hold or just do damage, lol. With a small chance of an instant KO (provided the target didn't have regeneration- this last bit caused a huge rules debate in a Dark Sun game. We were gladiators (not necessarily Gladiators), and we were unarmed against a Half-Giant Wrestler who was absolutely based on a 90's WWF Superstar. Anyways, he punches our Dwarf and the DM rolls the KO and says he's out, and the Dwarf is like "wait, I have 21 Constitution, I regenerate so I can't be KO'd!"- because that 1 hit point he regained every 5 turns is literally under the heading "Regeneration" on the Constitution table).
We always interpreted the first clause of the write-up "This ring enables the wearer to move and attack freely and normally" as being absolute, with everything else just being what-if examples of what it included. Thus someone wearing a RoFA can't be restrained, grappled, bound, etc. unless whatever is causing that restraint is not being worn by the ring-wearer. In practice this means you can confine such a person in a cage or locked room but any manacles, ropes, etc. put on in order to restrain the person will fall off.
 

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