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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Zaukrie

New Publisher
Yeah but that's explicitly not necromancy. In fact, the Undying Court led the effort to expel the actual necromancers from Aerenal. The Undying Court are sustained by the devotion of their people - they are not rotting meat puppets controlled by unnatural magic.
Which has nothing to do with my reply being that not all undead are evil..... Which I guess wasn't clear? Not all undead are evil. Undead do not have to be evil. I'm not saying anything else...
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The only mechanical teeth I can think of are some magic items working/not working depending on alignment, and going to the plane that corresponds with your alignment on death if you, for some reason, don't like unhappy endings for your character.

I suppose you could count the fluff about animate dead constituting a "rule" about shifting you to neutral, and then eventually evil if you keep casting it. But it gives no specific numbers.

Deck of many things changes your alignment, but that's less teeth and more buyer beware.
The Amber Vestiges in Curse of Strahd have a chance of causing your alignment to change if you accept their bargains. Also I think some of the Tales from the Yawning Portal had items (and possibly traps in Tomb of Horrors specifically?) that could change your alignment as well. But they’re specific exceptions to the general lack of alignment-matters mechanics in 5e, and pretty much all there for legacy reasons.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm not determining your alignment at all. I'm simply determining how the planes react to your actions, which is 100% DM purview. Write down anything you want on your sheet and play your PC however you like. 🤷‍♂️
But again, we’re back to “what difference does it actually make in practice?” If I can have whatever alignment I want written on my character sheet, and act however I want, what does it even mean for “the planes to react to my actions” as if I’m any given alignment? It’s sounding like this is something entirely in the DM’s head that affects nothing in the actual gameplay.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But again, we’re back to “what difference does it actually make in practice?” If I can have whatever alignment I want written on my character sheet, and act however I want, what does it even mean for “the planes to react to my actions” as if I’m any given alignment? It’s sounding like this is something entirely in the DM’s head that affects nothing in the actual gameplay.
I've already quoted it. If you are on a plane of an alignment other than the PC's, there is a feeling of dissonance. Since I run my games where things react in response to declared actions, if you run around with your LG PC bringing tons and tons of evil into existence, the good planes are going to react to that negatively.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I've already quoted it. If you are on a plane of an alignment other than the PC's, there is a feeling of dissonance. Since I run my games where things react in response to declared actions, if you run around with your LG PC bringing tons and tons of evil into existence, the good planes are going to react to that negatively.
Ok. On the off-chance the party travels to the outer planes a character gets an uncomfortable feeling in the good-aligned planes. Woopdeedoo.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Ok. On the off-chance the party travels to the outer planes a character gets an uncomfortable feeling in the good-aligned planes. Woopdeedoo.
The paladin is also going to face prison time and possible execution for his crimes. The populace will shun him. Adding tons of evil to the world by animating a bunch of evil psycho undead murderers is not the way to make friends and get along with the world.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The paladin is also going to face prison time and possible execution for his crimes. The populace will shun him. Adding tons of evil to the world by animating a bunch of evil psycho undead murderers is not the way to make friends and get along with the world.
Right, which falls under “other characters might consider it evil and act accordingly.”
 


The correct answer is d) n/a, because no spell in D&D 5e is inherently tied to any alignment.

Why are you referring to a 3E rule that is not relevant to 5E?

In this edition the rules (PHB) expressly says this:

Creating the undead through the use of necromancy spells such as animate dead is not a good act, and only evil casters use such spells frequently.

In light of the above sentence (which refers to a DnD 5e spell, and an alignment, and a prohibition based on an opposing alignment) how can your sentence above be correct?
 


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