Although creating undead is evil, is the use of the command undead wizard feature evil. Running a CG necro wizard for flavour (makes sense in the world we are running) but don't wanna summon undead.
— James Gilmour (@JTAGilmour) May 31, 2018
No on all counts!
— Mike Mearls (@mikemearls) May 31, 2018
2 thoughts on “Is the use of the Command Undead wizard feature evil?”
Why is creating undead evil? The rotten, decayed flesh is just waste. I would even suggest the reuse of said material is the ultimate form of recycling. Its a tool, and your taboos only serve to hamper you. Would you turn your nose up to a unit of skeletal warriors commanded to guide and guard the women and children to safety?
In the Forgotten Realms, at least, creating undead is deemed a perversion of the natural order. You’re not just animating a corpse, you’re actually placing a soul (or a part of a soul, which is worse) back into its old body and binding it there.
The current god of the dead, Kelemvor, is pretty adamant about not tolerating undead to exist, as every person has a given time pre-ordained at which they are supposed to die. His clergy work to prevent people from dying before their proper times, but also work to prevent them lingering beyond the hour of their demise.
Part of the issue is that the souls of mortals are valuable to the gods, and get set to various uses after people die. The dead are first judged by Kelemvor, then sentenced to an appropriate fate, typically being surrendered over to the hands of whichever god they most faithfully served – or if they lacked faith, then whichever god will choose to vouch for their soul. (Or potentially, devils or demons may steal certain souls or make last-minute bargains to let them escape judgement in exchange for dark servitude.)
That said, there’s a difference between creating undead and simply animating objects that were once part of a corpse. Raising a skeleton with necromancy results in an undead creature with a minimum of intellect, but merely animating a bunch of bones to simply move exactly as you command them to does not.
The key distinction is that a necromantic skeleton still possesses part of a soul, can act somewhat independently and make decisions by itself, and is more or less permanent until dispelled or destroyed. But merely “animated” bones do not possess a soul, have absolutely no degree of real sapience or sentience, and typically do not remain animated for very long.
Basically it’s the difference between having a puppet and having Pinocchio. If you’re just magically pulling strings, it’s not actually undead.