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Thread: Necromancy

  1. #1

    Necromancy

    My last Spell Circle post got almost no feedback. Why? Well, because some concepts are crystal clear to most of us. When I say “Life” everyone goes “Gotya” and that's about it. For this post I decided to discuss Necromancy (obviously, look at the post title). Why? Well, because this is where we're going to argue about what Necromancy is and isn't. I expect this is an area where we're not all going to agree. I'm going to open this with what I see Necromancy as being, along with some examples. Then you guys can weigh in and we'll go from there.

    As I explained in my previous post: Necromancy uses positive and negative energy to effect the body. It has no dealings with the “soul”. What are the ramifications of this statement? Let's look at a few

    Necromancers can heal the living, just like life mages do. However, once someone is dead necromancers don't bother to bring them “back” they just reanimate them and make them get back to work as an undead slave. While someone is living they use positive energy to keep them going and negative energy to hurt them. If they're dealing with someone who's already dead they use negative energy to heal them and positive energy to damage them.

    Necromancers only deal with corporeal beings. They don't summon spirits from beyond the grave, they just animate remains with negative energy. So, all their undead creation spells do just that. They “create” undead. They don't summon shadows or specters or wraith(s) (what's the plural on that?) , they just fill up a ready corpse or pile of bones and set it to work. Now, they can go beyond death mages in the realm of “creepy animated corpse” and create true corporeal horrors, but no wraith(s).

    They don't just arbitrarily “curse” or “doom” people. There's no generic “I'm a bad man who does bad things to good people” spell. Their spells have quantifiable physical or physiological results. So, no Curse, but Ray of Enfeeblement. No Doom, but Fear is good. They are not making use of things from the “shadow plane”, but merely using negative energy to achieve some creepy effect.

    I think the line I'm drawing should be clear by now. Necromancers don't summon Succubus, that's what death mages do. They don't reincarnate lost heroes, that the realm of life mages. Life and Death are mutually exclusive circles, whereas Necromancy is a blending of some of the effects of both those circles.

    Thoughts? (And no nerd rage!)

  2. #2
    Mage’s Assistant
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    Seems very nice to me. A logical spin on the old necromancy. What is especially nice is that it sort of connects to both life and death magic, so both necromancers and (assumably) death mages can create zombies and the like. Can necromancers put too much positive energy into things, and thus mutate them or "drug" them(empower for a short burst, but then the side effects cause damage). How about using positive energy to make plants grow faster and stronger?

  3. #3
    *Casts NERD RAGE!!!*

    Actually, I really like where you're coming from. It makes perfect logical sense to me. In a sense, wouldn't you say the field of necromancy is somewhat like a cross between the life and death circles?

    Question: Does this mean that necromancers (as opposed to death mages) aren't in locked opposition to life mages? Will we see our life-mage opponents using necromancer heroes? Question 2: In your minds, are we looking at animated skeletons or zombies or both? Question 3: What's a high-level necromancer summon/high-level unit in an undead faction? Will we get to raise a dead dragon? Question 4: Does this mean that the undead faction is not necessarily a death-circle faction?

  4. #4
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
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    First I'd like to say it's your game so you define what these terms mean in the context of your game. I'm personally fine with that although where you differ you're probably going to need to offer explanation (as you've done here) as to why that is because those differences are likely to be points of confusion for player with per-concieved notions of these terms.

    I'm sure you already understand some of your difference but just for completeness (and in case some people reading this don't know) I'll spell out what I see as some of the differences between your take and what I consider "normal" for necromancy (and hey, maybe it's just me that thinks these are normal).

    Necromancy cannot heal in the notion of giving life where there was none (i.e. adding to hit points out of nowhere to the living). Necromancy CAN however "heal" life by TAKING already existing life and transferring it to another (ex. Vampiric Touch which takes hit points from the victim and gives them to the caster... thus "healing" the living caster) though they typically only do this to themselves as keeping others alive is not a priority... especially since they can bring them back in more obedient forms after death.

    Adding to hit points out of nowhere (healing) is conjuration. It is creating life force where there was none before, just as creating fire where there was none, or creating earth where there was none, is conjuration.

    Necromancy never deals with positive energy, only negative. As you stated negative energy harms the living but "heals" the undead. (whereas positive energy - which necromancy opposes - heals the living and harms the undead) So this is another for of "healing" necromancers do... life transfer and undead healing.

    Necromancy is not limited to corporeal beings. All undead, if they have physical form or not, are the domain of necromancy. It does involve souls (Ex. soul bind is necromancy) and in fact it ALWAYS does which is why it is so evil. Even an animated skeleton, to most simple of undead, binds the soul of the individual being "animated" to the skeleton. That being cannot "rest" or move on to the afterlife until they are "released" by destroying the skeleton. Skeleton's are mindless not because they are just magically animated like a puppet but because their link between the imprisoned soul and the physical form is so weak (again, it's one of the most basic necromancy spells so it's not very powerful) that all that all you can reach of that soul is a very basic understanding of command, basic motor skills, etc. The link is FAR too weak for more complex things like advanced reasoning, emotion, memories, and personality to come through. However these DO come through in more advanced undead to greater degrees as the power enhances. In the case of a Litch for example they remember everything, have the same emotions, etc. but the whole point of becoming one is to bind your soul to outlive your body and thereby grant yourself a form of immortality.

    Curse and Doom are necromantic because they are the effects of negative energy (which necromancy uses) on a living being.

    A "Necromancer" IS a Death Mage. Mage is a generic term for anyone who practices arcane magic (be it life, death, air, earth, fire, water, etc). Necromancer is a specific term for those that practice death magic. Summoning a Succubus has nothing to do with Necromancy. Succubi are evil beings but they are not undead, summoning any devil or demon or any other living evil creature for that matter is not necromancy as it has nothing to do with negative energy. Reincarnation is likewise not necromancy either.

    Again though this is what I believe to be "conventional" wisdom on what necromancy is and I present it for contrast by the readers. Perhaps I'm mistaken though and it's just my personal opinion so feel free to take it as such if you like. I don't claim to be the definitive source for what is and is not necromancy. Also, as I started with, I'm fine with this game using a different definition it just needs to be clearly defined (which I believe is what is going on here) so as not to confuse the players who already have what they feel is a strong grasp on what it is or isn't.

  5. #5
    Asmodai, I think you're absolutely correct about the conventional view of Necromancers. As you pointed out, that's why I explained our particular angle. We want to get rid of the stigma associated with necromancy Our necromancers aren't tied specifically to life or death. They wield both positive and negative energies to achieve their ends. (Plus of course we wanted a necromancy circle that was more than just death, lol.) They will be able to be on good terms with life or death mages depending on the circumstances. Plus you can get some wild spell lists combining necromancy with life or death magic.

    Moving on to answering questions:
    A necromancer can (in theory) mutate living creatures to make them more powerful.
    Necromancers aren't necessarily opposed to life or death mages.
    A life mage could hire a necromancer hero (in theory).
    There will be skeletons and zombies.
    The high level necromancer creatable units are undecided. (I like the idea of a skeletal dragon.)
    Necromancy and the undead faction are completely separate. (As is death magic and the undead faction.)

  6. #6
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure I fully grasp your concept (have I mentioned how I'm not the best with this magic stuff?) but if your focus is on the body and thus you don't do incorporeal undead, you work with both positive and negative energies to both heal and harm, etc. then it would seem to me that the term "biomancy" makes more sense then necromancy.

  7. #7
    You make a very good point, but Necromancy sounds cooler than Biomancy, lol.

    IMO anyway. We can wait and see how everyone else feels.

  8. #8
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
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    Well I think Necromancer sounds cooler too but that because I think Death sounds cooler than Body... especially after Darksiders II, rofl.
    I guess I'm just hung up on Necro- = Death and -mancer = mage. In fact thinking about it along those lines it would be kind of neat if there was a specialist perk that only unlocks if you put all your ranks in one of the elemental/life-death schools. I don't know if that means you'd only get 9 ranks to assign or if higher levels cost more ranks or what but if going all the way up to 9 in one school consumed all your points then you could create these specialist perks:

    Air - Aeromancer
    Earth - Geomancer
    Fire - Pyromancer
    Water - Hydromancer
    Death - Necromancer
    Life - not sure on this one... maybe Vitamancer?

    Perhaps the trouble separating Necro with Death is just a personal hang up of mine though. Again, I'm cool with whatever you end up doing but I figured I throw that out there for consideration.

  9. #9
    I will contemplate this

  10. #10
    Mage’s Assistant
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    Healing is Life + Necromancy? Seems weird to me.
    Physiomancy?
    Sorry, signature is under construction.

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