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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Vaalingrade

Legend
Great! And now when they get defeated you've got rotting corpses all over the place.
Like... every organic enemy? What.
I'm not sure animate dead says it's preserving the corpses.
How do they keep being corpses for centuries while waiting for the PCs to enter the tomb then?
Humans and rotting corpses have never been on the same level of danger. There's a reason we hsve an evolutionary aversion to the smell of rotting meat.
Are... are your PCs eating zombies?
It violates the circle of life in nature, and drains vitality.
This is humanity's mission statement.

I am using harnessed lightning derived from ripping the very building blocks of existence apart in order to send my thoughts to hundreds of people around the world at the speed of light. Nature's spine is bent like a Liefeld painting and that's before I use that same lightning to order another person to fetch me processed and preserved meat via a chariot powered by burning ancient animals.

So again, Humans are evil.
 

Voadam

Legend
OK. The your 'good' character doesn't need Revivify or Raise Dead either!
3.5 those types of spells are conjuration, because healing is conjuring energy from the positive material plane and calling back souls(?) is conjuring them into the body, while inflict light wounds and the old reverses of raise dead such as finger of death are necromancy because they conjure negative energy from the negative material plane.

So close to a coherent symmetry.
 

3.5 those types of spells are conjuration, because healing is conjuring energy from the positive material plane and calling back souls(?) is conjuring them into the body, while inflict light wounds and the old reverses of raise dead such as finger of death are necromancy because they conjure negative energy from the negative material plane.

So close to a coherent symmetry.
But this is a 5E thread, so...
 


Mournblade94

Adventurer
How do they keep being corpses for centuries while waiting for the PCs to enter the tomb then?
Lack of oxygen in sealed tombs
Are... are your PCs eating zombies?
Do... do you think the only way people get sick from corpses is eating them?
This is humanity's mission statement.

I am using harnessed lightning derived from ripping the very building blocks of existence apart in order to send my thoughts to hundreds of people around the world at the speed of light. Nature's spine is bent like a Liefeld painting and that's before I use that same lightning to order another person to fetch me processed and preserved meat via a chariot powered by burning ancient animals.
Are those burning animals undead? Then it's evil. Magic bends reality. Necromancy does to but it also corrupts. Hence the evil. Same logic as the Geneva convention. You can shoot people with bullets but not with 50 cal. You can't use chemical or biological weapons. The only purpose of CBR is killing through suffering


So again, Humans are evil.
They can be evil. Making undead is always evil though.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, the editions of the game keep flip-flopping on whether they want things to be necromancy or something else. Like healing spells being necromantic, but then in 3e they were like "no, necromancy is BAD, let's make it, uh, Conjuration (Healing) instead!"

It really screws with the old lore (which apparently the current team only cares about if if makes $$$$) when you go "I've had campaigns in this D&D setting for years, but every 5-10 years, you guys keep completely changing the rules one me".

Anyways, as was pointed out before, it's not that Necormancy itself is evil. Trap as many souls, drain as many lives as you like, those actions aren't "inherently evil" by the rules*. It's specifically spells like Animate Dead.

You can draw all the parallels you want to other abusable spells, or even spells that do similar things. They don't want good characters making undead minions in public play. What you do in YOUR campaign is not their problem, you heathens!**

*And not even every time you cast it. It's only people who cast such spells "frequently" who are doing evil. So at best, Animate Dead is only 25% evil! (I made that percentage up, Vaalingrade can tell us what the actual percentage of evil is, I'm sure.)

**Is, myself, a heathen.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
Lack of oxygen in sealed tombs
I've only very rarely encountered sealed airtight tombs in D&D. And if you did, the air would be deadly. Not form sickness, but from a poorchemical concentration.
Do... do you think the only way people get sick from corpses is eating them?
Do you think sneezing without covering your mouth is evil? Why are we talking about disease? Disease is a bunch of living (or living adjecent) things trying to live.
Are those burning animals undead?
Hard to tell, them being liquid and on fire and all. There have been dumber D&D monsters.
Necromancy does to but it also corrupts. Hence the evil.
Money is evil. Got it.

It almost as if all proclamations of evil are pointless and arbitrary.
Same logic as the Geneva convention. You can shoot people with bullets but not with 50 cal. You can't use chemical or biological weapons. The only purpose of CBR is killing through suffering
The Geneva convention puts limits on how we make war. It doesn't go around saying .50 cal guns are evil.
They can be evil. Making undead is always evil though.
No, I'm pretty sure that by the standard of 'breaking the natural order' we're all evil. Just gonna have to deal with it.

Or reevaluate the worth of such definitions of evil used wholly to enforce a boring fantasy trope.
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
I've only very rarely encountered sealed airtight tombs in D&D. And if you did, the air would be deadly. Not form sickness, but from a poorchemical concentration.

Do you think sneezing without covering your mouth is evil? Why are we talking about disease? Disease is a bunch of living (or living adjecent) things trying to live.

Hard to tell, them being liquid and on fire and all. There have been dumber D&D monsters.

Money is evil. Got it.

It almost as if all proclamations of evil are pointless and arbitrary.

The Geneva convention puts limits on how we make war. It doesn't go around saying .50 cal guns are evil.

No, I'm pretty sure that by the standard of 'breaking the natural order' we're all evil. Just gonna have to deal with it.

Or reevaluate the worth of such definitions of evil used wholly to enforce a boring fantasy trope.
Does our real world have a cosmic alignment game construct? If it did the Geneva convention would call it evil.

Why do I talk about disease because people using disease as a weapon IS in fact considered evil and we don't even have an alignment game construct.

By saying sneezing is evil you're not even bringing up good faith arguments. It's pretty obvious it's the weaponization of disease where the evil lies.

Necromancy is evil by D&D alignment construct. If you make all your humans evil go ahead.
 


Fifinjir

Explorer
Corpses, skulls, and bones have been used for a long time to represent death by disease (and just death in general). Walking skeletons originally symbolized the Bubonic Plague, for instance.

Just something I remembered from all this disease talk.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Does our real world have a cosmic alignment game construct?
I mean, not really a game construct in 5e either. Just bad flavor text.
Why do I talk about disease because people using disease as a weapon IS in fact considered evil and we don't even have an alignment game construct. By saying sneezing is evil you're not even bringing up good faith arguments. It's pretty obvious it's the weaponization of disease where the evil lies.
Even if they rotted, zombies and skeletons don't use disease as weapons.
If you make all your humans evil go ahead.
I'm not doing it. The mental gymnastics to justify 'evil' is.
 



Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
3.5 those types of spells are conjuration, because healing is conjuring energy from the positive material plane and calling back souls(?) is conjuring them into the body, while inflict light wounds and the old reverses of raise dead such as finger of death are necromancy because they conjure negative energy from the negative material plane.

So close to a coherent symmetry.
Healing spells never should have switched from necromancy to conjuration. It was a silly change in my opinion, so I changed it back. Necromancy =/= evil. Creating evil undead = evil.
 


Mournblade94

Adventurer
I'm not doing it. The mental gymnastics to justify 'evil' is.
No its not. Its actually quite easy to see why making undead is an evil act.

So I will 100% amend that Necromancy is not evil. WHo cares if its life drain vs fireball. I've actually never argues necromancy itself was evil even if I have mentioned disease conditions and such here.

But if you are creating or commanding undead through it, that is an evil act. its desecration of the dead. Something I think just about every real life culture has taboo against.
 
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