I’m fairly certain that if my adventuring party stumbled upon a burning village, and if we saw a figure stumbling from the fire, an inarticulate yell on its lips and rotting flesh dripping from its bones, we would also smite first and ask questions later. We would send a card to the family afterwards though. On such narrow distinctions are heroes made.

It occurs to me that The Handbook is a very hit or miss sort of grimoire. Sometimes its advice is terrible, and sometimes it’s spot on. You generally can tell an evil undead monstrosity by its rotting flesh. But as in all things, it pays to make that Perception check before you go burninating the countryside.

In general though, I think undead are fantastic monsters because they’re guilt-free fighting. I don’t want to get into a full on alignment debate, but if you’re reading this then chances are you’ve argued at least once in your life over whether or not orcs are truly evil, or if that’s just their nature and they can’t help it, or if maybe they grew up in a tough neighborhood and they’re just surviving on the mean streets of South Central Mordor the only way they know how. But you know what? I don’t come to game night to debate moral philosophy. I spend my weekend knee deep in Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and d20s so that I can kill monsters and take their stuff. And unless there’s some necromancer activist group out there that I don’t know about, nobody’s going to tell you to take the zombie prisoner and try to reform it. You just grab the nearest slashing weapon and you go to town.