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I was reading planar binding description, hoping to have an evil wizard NPC use the spell to bind angels and archons to his will. The condition "Impossible demands or unreasonable commands are never agreed to", gives me pause, since I'm not sure if that gets in the way of my plans.

Is the evil spellcaster asking an angel to do something evil considered an "unreasonable command" that would not be agreed to? Or does an unreasonable command only mean something like "destroy the entire city of waterdeep in 3 seconds"?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related, albeit for Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15 '17 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ This still might yet run afoul of our “alignment debates are off topic” rule, but we'll see how the votes, comments, and answers go. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15 '17 at 18:41
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The wording of the spell tells me that they are talking about “unreasonable” demands in some objective sense—not “unreasonable to the particular thing you have bound,” but “unreasonable to everyone,” (or at least most everyone). It’s subjective about what counts or doesn’t, but the bound creature’s moral and ethical objections should not be considered in assessing whether or not the command is reasonable.

As evidence, I would contrast the wording in planar binding to the wording in dominate person, which specifies that “any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus”—since planar binding fails to make any mention of actions “against its nature,” I would interpret that as not applying to planar binding.

Note that planar binding gains the good descriptor when used to bind a good creature. It is commonly assumed that casting a spell with a particular descriptor is an act matching that alignment, that shifts you closer to that alignment. The rules do not actually say this (excepting in Book of Exalted Deeds, and then only with respect to evil spells, but Book of Exalted Deeds is awful), but you should discuss with your DM what his or her views on the subject are. Presumably whatever evil you’re forcing the good creature to do outweighs any good from the spell, and even if not it should take many, many castings to actually shift your alignment, but the discussion is worth having.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not starting an alignment debate! Outside of the Book of Exalted Deeds or Vile Darkness, where is it said that—like channeling positive energy—casting a good spell is a good act? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15 '17 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan OK, “explicitly” I believe the example is that casting an [Evil] spell is an Evil act (I believe the DMG says this?), and I am extrapolating from that for other alignments—which, to be fair, may not actually be true, the alignments are not actually equal. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 15 '17 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can find but one evil act in the DMG (the awesomely specific trying to dupe someone into buying a cursed item on 277) and no good acts. Really, I recommend deleting that clause unless you want to cite Exalted Deeds (e.g. "The use of evil spells, obviously, is not good even when the target is evil" (10)). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15 '17 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Well, I’ve offered a half-measure between. Good, or still better to just remove, you think? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 15 '17 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I strongly disagree with your assertion that the site shouldn’t be hesitant to discuss aligned acts. But then my vocal and vehement disregard for alignment as a concept altogether is well-known. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 15 '17 at 20:57

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