Saturday, December 4, 2010

I talk to dead people

Necromancers are one of those classes that just seem to never die.  No pun intended.

Nothing really says un-repentant evil quite like raising armies of undead.  As a DM I love pitting Necromancers against my players and as a player I love fighting these guys.  I can have mixed morality about killing orcs and goblins and quasi-human-like creatures every so often.  But undead are fair game. In fact killing is the right thing to do.
I guess it is really no surprise that I gravitate to horror games.  Killing human like creatures can be one step away from mass murderer, but killing hordes of zombies? That is the sign of a kick-ass hero!

So obviously some one has to be pulling the strings of this rotting undead Pinocchio's.  And that guy is the Necromancer.

In my world the baddes ass Necromancer is Magnus.  He started out life as a Druid till he learned from him father that he was not really his son, nor even 100% human.  He delved into demonology, devil-worship and everything my then twisted teenage brain could come up with.  Of course he turned to Necromancy to find a way to cheat death.

I am bringing Magnus back in my 4e game.  The Revenant rules are a good fit, but there is no 4e Necromancer. I have notes on a 4e "Death Pact Warlock" that might work well enough.

3.x had, at the last time I looked, at least 3 different kinds of Necromancer classes, 3 of them were from WotC themselves.  There is the old Death Master class from Dragon for 1st ed and then updated to 3.0e.  The Crypt Lord from the aptly named Necromancer Games (I miss those guys).
White Dwarf gave us two for 1st ed, the Necromancer (which needed to sacrifice humans for his magic at higher levels) and the Black Priest which in the artwork was sacrificing a nude woman in a way that made the Eldricth Wizardry cover look positively tame (one day I need to do a White Dwarf retrospective).

Presently for the retro-clones we have another post from Dangerous Brian, The Necromancer for OSRIC, Part 1 and Part 2.  We also have the Necromancer for Basic Fantasy RPG.

I'd love to put together a Necromancer/Death-Pact Warlock for 4e, it is a class/role that I think it is seriously lacking in.  Just need to find the time to do it.

Edited to add: Part 3.


Dangerous Brian said...

Thanks Tim. Part III is up as well now, detailing second level Necromancer spells.

netherwerks said...

Not all necromancers need be evil--Garth Nix did a very interesting trilogy of books about a good necromancer--the Abhorsen trilogy. Very worthwhile reading.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoyed heroic necromancers, too. Garth Nix's series is one good example (though his necromancers explicitly wield the good version of the evil magic rather than dealing with the moral complexities of wielding straight up bad mojo). One of my favorite D&D characters of old was a heroic (but morally complicated) necromancer.

Andres said...

I am not big fan of 2ed, but Complete Book of Necromancers is a mandatory read... most of the ideas are adaptable to any system and the creepiness of the Clark Ashton Smith tributes is unbeatable...
but you must have perused it already.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Thanks for all the posts!

Dangerous Brian, I'll add the link to my post in a bit.

NetherWerks and Mark, Garth Nix is on my list, but yeah I was focusing on the evil sub-type. Jamie Vegas from Kelley Armstrong's books is a good example of a good, and smoking hot, Necromancer.

Andreas, yup! The Complete book of Necromancers is a must and I LOVE CAS and his Zothique Necromancers.

Unknown said...

I'd suggest you check out . It's got a 4e Necromancer class, plus lots of other things you can use as houserules or for inspiration.