Negative Energy and the Undead

“Negative Energy [is] a base physical property of the magical universe that the D&D characters live in – like extremes of Cold or Fire it is inimical to life, and it is ultimately no more mysterious than that. An animate skeleton is more disgusting and frightening to the average man than is a stone golem, but it’s actually a less despicable act in the grand scheme of things because a golem requires the enslavement of an elemental spirit and a skeleton has no spirit at all.

The Plane of Negative Energy in this model is precisely the same as all the other elemental planes: a dangerous environment that an unprotected human has no business going to.”

-Tome of Necromancy

Changes to necromancy spells (also from the Tome of Necromancy)

Animate Dead: If Negative Energy isn’t Evil, this spell isn’t either. Zombies and Skeletons are the only possible creations of this spell, so the alignment tag is contingent on Negative Energy itself being a moral choice. Interestingly, create undead and create greater undead stay [Evil] even if animate dead doesn’t. Regardless of the moral inclinations of negative energy in general, ghouls and shadows are just not nice people – they are a disease that exists for no purpose but to consume the living. So those [Evil] tags are on no matter what skeletons do with their free time.

Deathwatch: This spell doesn’t even use Negative Energy, it allows you to see positive energy. There’s no reason for this spell to be evil no matter what version you use – this is just a typographical error as far as we can tell. Maybe this evil tag was supposed to be on death knell.

Create Undead: While animate dead may or may not be evil depending upon your setup, create undead and create greater undead is an [Evil] spell regardless of the morality version you use. It creates evil creatures that unlive for nothing but to slay innocents, so it gets the Evil tag for the same reason that planar binding gets the [Evil] tag if it is used to call a Demon – it’s bringing irredeemable evil into the world – the moral implications of the negative energy used are irrelevant.

The [Healing] subschool:
The spell cure light wounds has no business being in the school of Conjuration. It's not 
that you can't make an acceptable argument for the existence of "conjuration" that makes 
people feel better – that's actually pretty easy to rationalize. It's that cure light wounds 
doesn't work the way a spell that was in Conjuration would work. It doesn't create healthy 
flesh to fill up wounds – it channels Positive Energy into the creature and makes them feel 
better or worse depending upon how they react to that sort of thing. As described, the 
[Healing] subschool needs to be in the same school as inflict light wounds, because it does 
the same thing. Logically speaking, that could be Evocation (because Evocation handles any 
Energy Channeling), or it could be Necromancy (because Necromancy can do pretty much 
anything with Positive or Negative Energy). We suggest having the [Healing] subschool in 
Necromancy, but only because this isn't The Tome of Evocation. If you decide to make these 
spells Evocation spells for your home game, we won't stop you.

New Subtypes:

Dark Minded: This subtype is for intelligent undead, and removes their immunity to mind affecting effects, allows them to recover from injuries normally, and allows them to gain age bonuses to their mental attributes

Unliving: This subtype is for undead that mimic many of the capacities of living creatures without truly being alive. Things that still have a metabolism of sorts. Vampires, ghouls, etc. This subtype gives them back their Constitution score, makes them require food and sleep, and makes them vulnerable to critical hits.

Negative Energy and the Undead

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