Necromancer new player guide
|Please read the Necromancer Secret Policy before editing this page.|
This is a page for the Necromancer specific page for the Newbie Help Guide. Whenever possible, overlap with the general guide should be minimized.
Note: This guide is subject to all the standard rules involving Necromancers, including restrictions on naming secret NPCs, locations and entry methods for any guild, and generally anything spoiler. See Necromancer Policy for more details.
For details, rules, and the other pages involved, see Category:Newbie Guide Contest.
First Things First
Before we get started, something needs to be emphasized. The Necromancer guild is an advanced option. It is quite possible that you will die a lot, due to circumstances outside your control. It is possible that in the process of these deaths occurring you will lose all of your gear, and be barred from using basic town services like depositing your coin, selling your loot, or getting gear from storage. This is truthfully, honestly, part of the package. It is highly recommended that you not play a Necromancer as your first character in DragonRealms. Maybe not even your second. This guide assumes you've read the Newbie Guide, and indeed, the guild itself presumes a certain level of understanding of the mechanics of the game and the layout of the land. This isn't meant to dissuade you, but it is meant to warn you.
Necromancers cannot be set to PvP Closed, which means under the majority of circumstances, you cannot hope for GM intervention in a conflict. That said, familiarize yourself with rules of consent, both to protect yourself from others, and to recognize what you may have done to grant it.
So You Still Want to be a Necromancer?
Congratulations, you've decided you want to be part of Elanthia's most intriguing lore! Maybe you're a glutton for punishment, maybe you harbor delusions of grandeur, maybe you just never grew out of Hot Topic. Whatever your reasons for joining the guild, the first order of business is getting you squared away with the lore behind it, as while it would be adorable to have a bunch of fledgling Necromancers running around the Crossing, cackling behind broken teeth, in flowing black capes, while twisting their oiled mustachios, perhaps while trying to tie some hapless victim to carriage tracks or telling Mr. Bond that they simply expect him to die, the guild does not condone such childish foolishness, and you will be at best simply offered to the Hounds of Rutilor to be made an example of. That hapless victim will probably kill you first though, so wise up.
The guild has loftier ambitions. To be brief, the guild is interested in liberating mortals from the yoke of mortality, an inequality held by the Immortals. To this end, Necromancers study the recently living (but now dead) to train Thanatology, which is a general method for The Great Work of Transcendence, of Immortality. However, the road is fraught with peril, naturally. Necromancers are, in the eyes of everyone else, wrong. The goal of seeking the Transcendence via hacking up the dead, via pursuing Arcane magic, everyone else see's the guild as a hodgepodge of madmen and demon worshippers, and believe (for various reasons) that it's all a doomed enterprise that will bring about the doom of the Plane of Abiding.
Becoming a Necromancer
Joining the Guild is a secret, so you may have to ask around. This is one reason the guild is considered an advanced option.
Role-playing your Necromancer
As with all things RP, this is mostly up to the player, but it's also important to recognize that there is an extant body of lore that exists within the framework of the game, and you are not actually free to do anything you want. Necromancers are possibly the most disputed guild in the realms, so you should, at a minimum, pay attention to the speeches the guild leaders provide when you join and read the information presented in the Necromancer section of this wiki.
One thing to remember is that while your character may think they are going to save the world, it's important to recognize that they effectively are on the wrong side of history. There are currently no 'good' Necromancers as far as society is concerned; indeed, the entire guild's MO is an exercise in compromising your characters morality. Think about the sort of psychopathies required to believe that torturing innocents so long as it benefits you, or benefits others, is justified. Think about how that sort of individual would blend in, or perhaps, how they wouldn't. Think about what could motivate that sort of person to arrive at a point where their own goals are more important than the lives of others. To use a bit of pop culture; remember, what made Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates so terrifying was not that they were capable of unspeakably monstrous acts, but that they could hide in plain sight and no one would be the wiser. Additionally, be aware of the lore that exists for Necromancers, Moon Mages, Clerics, and Empaths, as these guilds specifically have particularly strong ties to Necromancer lore.
In short, the character you are playing is not a pristine, shining example of someone who you'd probably want to spend much time with. Many people undertake the 'hiding in plain sight' strategy, while others embrace the chaotic, twisted magics and stir trouble wherever they go. At the very least, your character should have a chip on their shoulder.
It is important to mention that your Necromancer is not an atheist. The guild, as much as even Clerics, has had direct interaction with the Immortals, and is keenly aware of their existence. All Necromancers are at least a little crazy, but no Necromancers should deny the existence of the Immortals.
Finally, it is also important to note that presently, all Necromancers are Philosophers. We all join in the Philosopher guild hall, and states of being are not yet released.
Every PC at least begins their road to damnation as a Philosopher of the Knife, though most Necromancers in the game's lore and history are not Philosophers and an individual PC may drift from the Philosophy after their initiation. The Philosophers also describe three ideological camps, though they are not strictly speaking mutually exclusive. These camps currently have no meaning to those outside the Philosophers.
The Philosophers of the Knife are a relatively nascent cult of scientists and scholars who believe the use of necromancy is morally justified in pursuit of the Great Work. They describe life and nature as rigged games and have chosen to accept acts of evil as a temporary, necessary measure on their quest to free men from the tyranny of the Immortals and the suffering inherent to the world they've built. The main distinguishing factor between a Philosopher and any other Necromancer, at least in their minds, is the refusal to accept 'outside influence' in their quest for power. All PCs begin as Philosophers.
The Perverse are an incredibly diverse group and is a term used by Philosophers to describe more or less everyone who isn't a Philosopher, as well as being the mental image your average person strikes up when asked what a Necromancer is. In general, the Perverse are those who grasp at necromancy for power, pleasure, or profit, or otherwise reject any moral dimension to necromancy. These are the power-mad cultists, demon worshippers, and those who march their undead on cities to kill the innocent for fun. One guild leader refers to Perversion as a function of Social Outrage, but this is a separate sentiment. The main distinguishing factor a Perverse Necromancer exhibits is the willingness to accept 'outside influence' in their quest for power. Presently, no PCs are Perverse.
The Redeemed are those who have realized the error of their ways and turned their backs on the Great Work and the powers of Animation and Transcendental Magic in order to seek the forgiveness and grace of the Immortals once more. They are still and forever Necromancers however, and the scars in their soul never fully heal nor do the Immortals hesitate to strike them down again for backsliding. Though they are the closest thing to "good guy Necromancers" that exist, neither society nor the Temple recognize the state of Redemption, seeing it as a manipulative ploy. The other ideological camps regard them as weak hypocrites or with outright fear, as many Redeemed turn on their former brethren and become efficient and terrifying hunters. Presently, no PCs are Redeemed.
It goes without saying that due to the diverse nature of these ideologies, that there's a fair amount of propaganda and slander wrapped in the IG lore about them. Figuring out what you do and don't believe is a good thing to consider with your character, remembering that Lyras is still fresh in the minds of everyone, and was most certainly not a 'good guy'. Something to remember is that these ideologies cannot be reduced to 'not-so-bad-just-misunderstood' and 'bad guy'. Philosophers are still pursuing the Great Work through the study of Thanatology, still aim to usurp the Immortals and Transcend. Perverse are not simply 'bad Philosophers', they are Necromancers who have given up their autonomy for power. There is no moral high ground here, and all Necromancers have blood on their hands and damaged souls. Being aligned with the Philosophers does not make your Necromancer a good guy - it just means your character is still the one calling the shots.
Training your Necromancer
Necromancers are survivalists and, as a survival prime, much of your training will be centered around these skills, though you will by no means want to neglect weapons, armor, magic or lore. Ultimately, you will need to train seven survival skills in order to advance in the guild. Since there are nine survival skills that can meet this requirement, you will only be able to avoid training two of those skills. Stealth and Evasion are both essential to and will likely be your bread and butter. Skinning and First Aid are easily trained in combat when you use rituals. The latter is important in your ability to tend bleeding wounds although its' utility does drop off at moderate skill levels. Perception is easily trained in combat using the hunt command but can be trained by collecting piles, which will also train outdoorsmanship and enhance your ability to collect raw materials for many crafts. Athletics will assist your mobility and it is probably best not to neglect this skill. You may want to train Locksmithing, though this ties you to creatures that drop boxes. Thievery is a poor choice as you will generally want to avoid towns.
When you first start, the only ritual you know is PERFORM PRESERVE. This will train Thanatology and First Aid, albeit slowly. It will only train if the creature presents a challenge. PERFORM HARVEST, which you will learn which at second circle, will teach Thanatology, First Aid and Skinning and provides slightly more experience. Using it, however, prevents you from Skinning the corpse, but it can be used even on creatures that are not normally skinnable. These two rituals Rituals train Thanatology slowly but steadily. PERFORM ARISE is available at 20th circle and, aside from being required to create a Zombie, is an excellent Thanatology trainer. Like PERFORM HARVEST you will be unable to skin creatures after performing this ritual. If you choose to learn Butcher's Eye, which will boost Skinning and Thanatology, you will be able to train on more difficult creatures, assuming you can kill them. Finally, the Dissection ritual is purely an educational and training tool performed on corpses which have not yet been SKINned or otherwise ritualized. When used on the corpse of a formerly living being, it teaches a mixture of Thanatology and First Aid. When used on the corpse of a formerly undead being, it teaches pure Thanatology. This ritual does not generate Divine Outrage. It is learned at 10th circle.
Be aware that PRESERVE and ARISE do not appear suspicious to observers, but HARVEST will produce a chunk of material, which will immediately alert anyone to the fact that you are a Necromancer doing horrible things to a corpse.
More information on rituals can be found at Necromantic Rituals.
Being magic secondary, your spells will be a greater asset to you than your weapons and armor. Necromancer spells are potent, though often come with limitations or draw backs. It is important to know which spells will out you as a Necromancer and which spells can be cast in town.
Any Transcendental spell, if cast in town, will alert the authorities. Additionally, they will all change your appearance, so anyone looking at you will know you are a Necromancer. Calcified Hide and Worm's Mist will even alert anyone in the room, so they won't even have to look at you. Any offensive spell, TM or Debilitation, will also alert the authorities.
Spells you can cast in town are Rite of Contrition, Obfuscation, Researcher's Insight (though it will be obvious to other players that you are casting it), and Eyes of the Blind.
We'll talk about specific magic spells later.
Spells from this spellbook are somewhat unique as far as most of the game's spells are concerned. They represent the direct application of the Great Work to your body in the form of surges of Arcane magic, and physically alter you. They are fairly potent buffs, that last a fair while, though unlike most spells, you cannot RELEASE them. Instead, Rite of Contrition will check for Transcendental spells every time it pulses, and if it finds any, it will remove them. This is an important note, for ALL Transcendental magics are highly visible, and all are signature spells. All Transcendental spells cause some Divine Outrage, though there is a grace period timer of about 5 minutes to allow you to cast multiple spells in quick succession.
Do not use Transcendental spells to train your magic skills, as this will cause your Divine Outrage to skyrocket, and probably result in your death!
Spells from this spellbook are aimed at creating or aiding summoned creatures. They all cause Divine Outrage, Call from Beyond generates the most Divine Outrage. One thing to note about these spells is that there is nothing about the Mudman created by Quicken the Earth, and nothing about the zombie created from Call from Beyond that indicates you are the caster, though if your pets kill a PC, the PC will have consent on you, and may hunt you down and kill you. Make sure you read up on the rules of conflict before making any assumptions about what you can or cannot do with your pets.
These spells also accrue divine outrage, and are not meant to be used as magic skill trainers, so do not repeatedly cast them!
Being Lore secondary, you'll want to use combat Tactics to your advantage. Appraisal can be quite useful in both assessing foes and recognizing the value and attributes of items. You'll also probably want to pick up a craft. Alchemy is a good choice because it'll give you access to healing remedies, as well as poisons once they're released. Furthermore, we have a spell to buff our ability in Alchemy, Researcher's Insight. Outfitting will allow you to craft your own cloth armor, leather armor and containers in addition to repairing such armors, while engineering will enable you to create bone armor and improvised weapons. Forging will enable you to both forge and repair metal weapons and tools. As a pariah the ability to be independent of other adventurers is a great advantage, especially if you need to replace lost equipment.
You will need to train, at the very minimum, small Edged weapons in order to advance in the Necromancer Guild. It is recommended you train at least one ranged weapon. Many will choose an aimable weapon like a bow or crossbow and a light thrown weapon. The latter is a very useful skill as many Light Thrown weapons will double as small Edged weapons. After that training a small blunt, large blunt or large edged weapon will expand your repertoire. As Necromancers are heavily dependent on Stealth and Evasion, most choose to focus on Light Armors as these tend to penalize their survival skills less that heavier armors. Some will swap out a few pieces of chain armor, brigandine armor or even plate armor when they are not focusing on stealthy activities.
Being weapon and armor tertiary, these skills will lock and stay locked easily, so some Necromancers choose to train many weapons and all armors. As you will probably spend a lot of time in combat, and due to the current TDP paradigm, there's no reason not to train a wide array of weapons and armors.
Divine and Social Outrage
The Immortals enjoy their monopoly on Immortality and Life Creation so much that a Necromancer's attempts at imitation cause Outrage. This Divine Outrage builds as a Necromancer casts Transcendental or Animation spells. If it reaches a sufficiently high level, the Immortals will take action and smite down the Necromancer. Additionally, as a Necromancer circles, the base minimum of their Divine Outrage will increase. At a certain level of Divine Outrage, the Necromancer will be unable to be resurrected by a Cleric, or healed by an Empath. Additionally, if a Moon Mage perceives them, the Necromancers affiliation with Necromantic Mana will be apparent. Some other guilds can also accrue Divine Outrage, though it takes a bit more effort. As your Divine Outrage accumulates, you will eventually become an evil being, capable of being severely negatively impacted by Holy Magic. Harm Evil is an example of a Holy spell that is specifically tailored to combat evil or undead beings.
Social Outrage is a measure of how uneasy the local towns folk and authorities are. It tends to be somewhat binary; either the townsfolk don't care about you, or you're on the most wanted list. When you've been arrested, any interactions with shops, banks, gem shops, tanneries, or gear repair may result in the proprietor calling the authorities and having you rearrested, adding to your Social Outrage. This is known as a Social Outrage Spiral, and can sometimes require multiple weeks or months of passively letting your Social Outrage to drain. Finally, gwething while you have Social Outrage will add a percentage of your current Social Outrage onto what you already have and can significantly extend the time it takes you to reach acceptable levels if your Social Outrage is high. While not in justice zones, Social Outrage drains up to two and a half hours worth a day.
Additionally, the longer you are in town, the more Suspicion your character will passively accrue. Suspicion acts as a bonus to attempts to accuse you to the guards. This is not the same as Social Outrage and works on a separate timer, and has no effect on your character outside of attempts to accuse them of necromancy by other PCs. Unlike Social Outrage, there is no cap to how much Suspicion you may drain off in a day. This is done simply by leaving a justice area and waiting.
One tool to indirectly mitigate Social Outrage is the spell Rite of Contrition, which will slow the passive accrual of your Suspicion while you are in towns and therefore make it harder for you to be accused. There are also other tools for mitigating Social Outrage that are secret.
States of Being
As the Necromancer progresses, they have the potential to interact with and enter several distinct states of being. A Necromancer begins as Unsullied, meaning they have not yet defiled themselves with Animation magics nor are they so corrupt the gods abandon them. A Necromancer who is Unsullied may have favors, though their baseline Divine Outrage will eventually be too high to gain more of them. However, even a Necromancer with zero favors and no ability to gain more will continue to remain Unsullied until they willfully enter a different state of being.
The next step for most Necromancers is becoming Forsaken. The first time you cast Spiteful Rebirth or Call from Beyond will be a strike against you by the Immortals. The second time you cast either of those spells will be all the reason they need to forever turn their backs on you and you they will show their indifference and disappointment in you by smiting you dead and stripping you of any remaining favors you have accumulated. While the Necromancer can mostly choose when this occurs, there is a baseline level of Divine Outrage beyond which you will automatically become Forsaken. However, this happens at a very high circle.
Currently, other states of being (Redemption, Perversion, and Transcendence) are in development. More information will be filled in as it is available.
All Necromancers are shunned by society, and should be keenly aware of the prevalence of the law wherever they are, via the JUSTICE command. If you are somewhere the law keeps an eye on, using most Necromancer spells will be spotted by a wary populace, and guards will be dispatched to deal with you. Additionally, anytime you are within the borders of a town, any adventurer can ACCUSE you of Necromancy, which subjects you to a check against how long you've been in town (the longer the worse), how Charismatic you and your accuser are, and if you foolishly have any Necromancer buffs visible (this would be most unwise). If you fail this check, you will be arrested or killed on the spot. Towns are not for Necromancers; this is a mostly lonely existence, remember that. If you pass the check, your accuser may not accuse you again for a while, but your chances of being accused successfully by someone else are increased.
While you are in justice zones, a hidden timer will start. As this timer increases, the probability of someone successfully accusing you goes up. The timer can be drained, at a slower rate than it accumulates, by spending time outside of justice zones. Having Rite of Contrition up will prevent the timer from increasing, though you may still be successfully accused.
It's also worth mentioning that evading detection from PCs may be an important task for Necromancers, particularly younger Necromancers. Know which spells will alert a PC to you being a Necromancer (see above), and what actions can out you. Additionally, Necromancers receive the Alternate Preparation Feat at second level and are can learn Elemental, Life or Lunar default spell preparation instead of their default necromancer spell preparation (strangely one can learn to use at first level before the feat is learned). The exact alternate mana type is chosen randomly and can never be changed. This ability will affect many other spells, such as Lay Ward, which will appear to be cast as if you use the same mana type as your alternate preparation. A clever Necromancer can use this to masquerade as another guild; those using an elemental preparation can masquerade as a Warrior Mage or Bard, those who use a life preparation can disguise themselves as a Ranger or Empath and those who learn lunar magic can appear to be a Moon Mage or, after trader magic is released, a Trader
There are limitations to this ability, however. Most Necromancer spells have effects that reveal their nature to all who see you cast them. Transcendental spells alter your appearance so that those who look at you can tell you are under the influence of a necromantic spell. It is advisable that you know which spells are safe and which are not. Moon Mages and anyone who has learned the Basic Preparation Recognition feat will be able to recognize many spells as you cast them, so it is advisable that you exercise caution when casting a necromantic spell. Even worse, Moon Mages have the ability to detect magic and identify spells already cast, so even being in their presence with a Necromantic spell active can reveal you. Some Necromancers choose to learn Analogous Patterns spells such as Ease Burden, Lay Ward or Gauge Flow to allow them to safely train in public. It might be worthwhile picking up a few sorcery spells from the guild you are masquerading as. It's one thing to claim to be a Ranger; it's another entirely to cast Compost. Unfortunately there is always the risk of a sorcerous backlash that you will be forced to explain (and will likely reveal that you are not what you say you are).
Unfortunately, as your Divine Outrage increases you will lose the ability to mask your use of Necromantic Mana. This means you will only be able to use your default necromancer spell preparation, Moon Mages will see arcane magic clinging to you and spells that normally take on the appearance of your alternate mana will clearly reveal your use of Necromantic Mana. Empaths can detect Necromantic taint on you, but this can be avoided by AVOID !TOUCH or setting your demeanor to 'reserved' for Empaths to prevent them from touching you. Once you have become Forsaken, Clerics can detect that you don't have any favors, and again, Rite of Contrition will make it appear as though you have a few. Casting Rite of Contrition will hide your mana type (at least to a point) and hide your corruption from Empaths and Clerics. It's important to note that Rite of Contrition may fool a Cleric, Empath or Moon Mage into thinking you aren't a Necromancer, but it is not in any way shape or form actual protection. If a Cleric casts Harm Evil on you when are susceptible to it, Rite of Contrition will not change the outcome!
There are a few other ways that your guild, or at least the fact that you are not the in the guild you are pretending to be in, can be revealed. Some guilds have guild specific tells that may be used against you. For example, Rangers, Barbarians, and Traders have a secret handshake, so if one of them shakes your hand, they will know you are not one of them. This can be avoided by AVOID !TOUCH or using the demeanor command to be cold towards those guilds. Perhaps the most subtle and most often overlooked way of being exposed is merely appearing suspicious. Make sure you know at least the basics of your pretend guild. If you are masquerading as a Warrior Mage be prepared to explain why you won't or can't send your familiar to complete a task. If you appear to be a Moon Mage, perhaps you should occasionally peruse your Celestial Chart or gaze through a telescope. If you want others to think you are a Ranger, consider learning use of a bow and becoming adept at tailoring. Carefully consider your appearance; wearing clothes embossed with lightning bolts or stars and moons is probably far more subtle than choosing those embossed with skulls and demonic symbols. In fact, consider the sort of play experience you are signing yourself up for if you do cover yourself in bones and black eyeliner.
Signature Guild Abilities
First, the tools available to us include the ability to heal our own wounds by magically consuming the bodies of our recent victims. This is done with the spell Consume Flesh and later, with Devour. Additionally, a Necromancer can self-resurrect, forcing their beaten body to mend to the point of sustaining life with Spiteful Rebirth. The latter, it should be mentioned, is one of the spells that will start garnering the attention of the Immortals and leading the Necromancer to become Forsaken.
The other ability is commanding up to two creatures to fight by your side, a zombie which is created with the spell Call From Beyond, and a Construct (sometimes called a Mudman) created from the spell Quicken the Earth. Call from Beyond will resurrect a recently slain creature as a zombie, and these zombies can be immensely powerful, able to equip weapons and armor to make them even more potent in combat. The strength of a construct or zombie is determined by your skill in TM, and both will train your TM as they fight for you.
Additionally, Necromancers have access to the game's only "fire from and remain in hiding" TM spell, Vivisection. When cast from hiding, this spell will allow the Necromancer to remain hidden, and will receive a bonus to hit based on the Necromancers Thanatology and Stealth. This can be an extremely potent weapon against a foe that has lower Perception than your Stealth. Since Necromancers are Survival Primary, that should be everyone but Thieves and Rangers. Incidentally, only Thieves and Rangers have a 'fire from hiding' ability similar to Vivisection.
The ability to self heal and self resurrect make a Necromancer very independent, and they have to be; once they reach a certain point, they cannot be healed by Empaths, and cannot be resurrected by Clerics. Additionally, Necromancers are the only guild that are capable of having two pets out at once, which are the most powerful player created pets.
As we've discussed, Necromancers are Survival Prime, Lore and Magic Secondary, and Weapon and Armor Tertiary. To this end, you will forever have a difficult time moving weapons and armors, while Evasion and Stealth will most likely be your most potent allies in combat. The strength of your zombies and constructs are determined by your skill in Targeted Magic, so always keep the skill moving. Against a like circled opponent, you will lose in a contest of weapons. Against your armored zombie, an opponent trained on par with your ranks in TM will likely lose. Weapons and armor are good to train, but they will not be your strongest tools.
Once you've joined the guild, you need a belt knife, which will allow you to PERFORM various rituals, as well as skin your enemies.
Starting Spell Choices
You will likely already know whether you are going to stick with the "hide in plain sight" strategy of the Philosopher's or the "burn everything" strategy of the Perverse fairly early. The former is probably the most common choice, especially for young, vulnerable Necromancers. This decision can have an impact on your spell choices. Those who choose to try and remain hidden are far more likely to learn Analogous Patterns spells than those who do not. Several of the skills you will need to learn require either entry into combat or listening classes. Both of these choices have hazards for the Necromancer. You also want to obtain spells that teach all five magic skills Augmentation, Debilitation, Targeted Magic, Utility and Warding.
Acid Splash is a good choice for your first Targeted Magic spell and will continue to be the backbone of your arsenal for many circles. You may want to consider Strange Arrow as it will not directly reveal that you are a Necromancer to observers (although the fact that you are choosing to use it rather than a guild specific spell may raise suspicion) and it can be cast in justice areas without causing you to be arrested. Both Heighten Pain and Petrifying Visions are excellent Debilitation spells. Heighten Pain, unfortunately, will leave visible evidence on its victim which will reveal that you are using Necromancy. Petrifying Visions is much safer, but will require that you learn Obfuscation first. All of these spells are entry level spells that will allow you to progress further in their respective spell books and are therefore also good long term choices.
You will likely recall that casting Transcendental Necromancy and Animation spells will increase your Divine Outrage and therefore you will want to select spells outside of these schools in order to be able to train all your magics without needing classes. Obfuscation should be an early choice both for its ability to facilitate your use of Stealth in combat and the fact that it is a prerequisite for other important spells. The only Necromancer spell that can be used to train Utility early is Eyes of the Blind. Consequently, you may want to consider Gauge Flow, an Analogous Patterns spell. This spell, in addition to training directly through casting, will also allow you to complete Magical Research projects that can help you train without casting. Unfortunately, you will need about 60 ranks of Arcana before you can learn it. There are no Necromancer spells that are suitable to train Warding and therefore your best options are Manifest Force or Lay Ward, both of which are solid combat spells.
It is often best to choose, at least initially, a goal in order to guide your spell choices. A perfectly valid spell progression may be Heighten Pain (Debilitation), Acid Splash (Targeted), Obfuscation (Augmentation), and then pick up Gauge Flow (Utility) and Manifest Force (Warding). These five spells will allow you to train all your magics. Another valid spell progression would be picking a set of goals. For example, having Consume Flesh at 15th, to allow self healing or getting Rite of Contrition around the time you get 80 utility in order to mitigate the risk of being successfully accused in a justice area. Many people rush to get Spiteful Rebirth as soon as possible (at 30th circle) but I recommend against this strategy. Until you are Forsaken you can get and use Favors which are, pragmatically, a better way of dealing with death and also contribute to the illusion that you are not a Necromancer (anyone having no Favors will raise the suspicion of any Cleric who Perceives them). You will not become Forsaken until you cast Call From Beyond and/or Spiteful Rebirth twice, reach 100th circle or completely fail to manage your Divine Outrage (which is very difficult to do). Therefore, you can delay learning this spell until you learn Call From Beyond in most cases.
Note: Analogous Patterns spells are not taught by guild masters. You will instead need to purchase a scroll from Herilo's_Artifacts and and invoke it in order to permanently learn them. You can also temporarily memorize a single scroll by studying it if you wish, but you will lose it if you die and need to purchase a new scroll.
A good first goal is setting a good base by getting every statistic to a reasonable minimum of 30. As a survival prime, you will probably want to keep Agility, Discipline and Reflex high. Reflex will increase your chance to dodge enemies, which will let you stay in combat longer. Agility assists with many survival skills such as Locksmithing, Skinning, Stealth and Athletics and, furthermore, improves your chance of hitting a foe or parrying in combat, and plays a larger role in determining the damage of lighter, more balanced weapons. Discipline will improve your ability to hide, target spells, as well as help in your Debilitation contests. Intelligence and Wisdom will increase spell damage, improve your learning rate and are also factored in your Debilitation contests. Stamina and Strength are perhaps less important for many Necromancers but should not be neglected. Finally, Charisma is often overlooked but it is used in Spirit debilitation contests, which specifically applies to Heighten Pain, and reduces the chance of you being successfully accused of Forbidden Practices in a justice zone. This point bears repeating; Charisma is involved in accusation checks. Don't let any stat fall too far behind at first, until you have a better understanding of what they all do.
Generally, to train your stats to best suit your skillset placement, you will want your mentals and reflex to be high, with a premium on discipline for its role in stat contests, stealth checks, and TM accuracy.
Stat Contests for Debilitation
Debilitation spells are all spells that you cast on another target to affect them negatively in a non-damaging way while using the Debilitation skill. It can be a stun, a reduction in balance, immobilization, a hit to fatigue, taking extra damage from everything else, or removal of defenses. When using a disabler, you should keep in mind the stats it contests. It is ideal for you to consider spells that contest stats you know your opponent is weak against. The different contests involved mean that even though two spells do the same thing, one of them may be better for you personally in the situation you're in. No Necromantic Debilitation spell may be cast in a justice zone without alerting the authorities.
Succeeding at disabling a target is determined by a stat contest. Different spells use different types of contests to determine success, and this has an effect on what stats the caster (Attacker) and target (Defender) use to determine the spell's success level. There are numerous types of contests.
Offensive Contest Types Relevant to Necromancers
Mind - Uses caster's Intelligence, Discipline, Wisdom to determine success
Magic - Uses caster's Wisdom, Intelligence, Discipline to determine success
Spirit - Uses caster's Wisdom, Charisma, Intelligence to determine success
- You always use all 3 stats in any contest.
Of the Debilitation spells available to Necromancers, the breakdown is as follows;
Mind - Petrifying Visions and Visions of Darkness
Magic - Viscous Solution
Spirit - Heighten Pain
More information on stat contests can be found here.
There are five Targeted magic spells available to Necromancers, Acid Splash, Siphon Vitality, Blood Burst, Vivisection, and Universal Solvent. They mostly fill specific niches, and are fairly unique as far as most TM spells are concerned. The primary stat that determines accuracy with TM spells is Discipline, and Wisdom and Intelligence affect how much damage is dealt. Also, as previously mentioned, the strength of your pets is determined by your skill in TM. Also, no Necromantic TM spell may be cast in a justice zone without alerting the authorities.
Acid Splash - Single Target, damage type is random.
Siphon Vitality - Single Target, damage restores the casters vitality. Very useful if you're bleeding to death.
Blood Burst - Single Target collateral damage, requires either a bleeding wound or takes a small portion of casters vitality.
Vivisection - Single Target, cast be cast from hiding. Your Thanatology will add 'to hit'. The target will be alerted to who is casting upon them, though you may remain hidden.
Universal Solvent - AoE cyclic, random damage. This can be cast at AREA, CREATURES, or ENGAGED, and defaults to the latter.
What weapons and armor you train is up to you, with the exception of Small Edged which is our only specific requirement, but initially sticking to lighter choices would be optimal. Small Edged, Small Blunt, Light Thrown and Bows all make good choices. The obvious choice for stealth and low hindrance armor is Cloth or Leather, though you can swap Chain Armor or even Brigandine Armor if you're not training stealth at the moment. See Armor and shield player guide for additional information.
You'll want to find some starting magical items to train with, preferably a small cambrinth, like a shard or a ring or a runestone. Runestones will also teach sorcery when you focus on it, although, unlike cambrinth, it will stop teaching you around 50-80 ranks.
As mentioned, you must acquire a belt knife, which are available from the guildhall. These are required for performing rituals.
The first order of business now is getting out of town! All of the spells within the Necromancer spellbook may be recognized by more experienced magic users, which would out you as a Necromancer. Be smart, keep your wits about you, and stay under the radar. Do not cast your Necromancer spells in town. Do not train your magics by casting Necromantic spells in front of people. When in doubt, type JUSTICE to ascertain if you are in a justice zone.
As you begin your training, make sure you keep your TM, Debilitation, and Stealth moving. TM will be your most potent offense, and determines the strength of your pets. In a fight, you will not rely on weapons, so don't become discouraged if they move very slowly.
Help help, I'm being attacked!
This will happen sooner or later. Firstly, it's important to recognize the difference between a legitimate conflict and someone harassing you, not, mind you, because you should go crying to the GMs, but because chances are, the reason you're being attacked is because you screwed something up.
So, you're braiding vines in town and suddenly someone starts advancing on you shouting nonsense about purging evil from the lands. Your best recourse is to run, take residence somewhere else, and wait for this all to blow over. Or, if you're up for a bit of a challenge, ready yourself for a fight.
Your best skills are your Stealth and Evasion, and your magics. Make sure you're in all light, stealthy armor, and hide. Hopefully your assailant can't spot you. If you're in town, your options are much more limited, as any Necromantic spell you cast will simply alert the authorities and send them for you. Many Necromancers pick up Strange Arrow or an Introductory TM spell from another spellbook for this reason, as being an Analogous Patterns spell, it can be cast in town. While you cannot cast Necromantic spells in town, commanding a pet will not alert the authorities, though, obviously if a zombie or construct shows up to assist you, you cannot continue pretending that you are anything but a Necromancer.
If you're in the wilds, your opponent may have bitten off more than they can chew. Visions of Darkness will reduce their perception and wisdom, which will aid in your ability to hide, as well as land further debilitation spells. Casting Vivisection from hiding will improve your chance to hit, and also potentially allow you to remain hidden. But your true strength will lie in your pets. A zombie requires some preparation, either escape and come back when you are more prepared, or rely on Quicken the Earth. Assuming you've kept up with your TM training, these pets will be vastly superior to any weapon you could bring to bear.
Is your opponent casting spells at you? Philosophers Preservation and Calcified Hide will help reduce the incoming damage. If you've already cast a few debilitation spells on your opponent like Heighten Pain or Visions of Darkness, consider casting Worm's Mist, which will prevent spells from affecting you, though will also prevent you from casting spells. You can also cast it far, so that it only negates spells traveling further than pole range. Obviously this is only really an option if you have a pet out, or if you are, for some reason, physically attacking an opponent.
Necromancers, perhaps more than any other guild, rely on being prepared for a fight.
Generally speaking, you are signing yourself up for conflict when you become a Necromancer, and many guilds and characters role-play actively hunting and hating Necromancers; they are not in the wrong to start a fight with you and potentially escalate it to physical violence. If someone is role-playing a confrontation and you don't want to fight, you can of course OOC whisper to them that you aren't interested, but you should not expect them to simply leave you alone forever. Sitting in a crowded hunting area with a bunch of Transcendental spells on you is a good way to invite conflict. Be smart with your exposure.
The PC culture regarding Necromancers varies by province; Therengia actively hunts and banishes Necromancers, while Ilithi tends to have a more live and let live attitude (outside of towns, of course). If someone tells you to move on, do not be surprised if they don't offer you the opportunity to leave the next time they see you. If you are killed, people will generally leave you alone while you gather your gear (or at least they should!), but you should not continue to to train in the area for the immediate future.
That said, by and large Necromancers operate under normal consent policy, however in general the burden of proof is going to be higher due to the nature of the guild and to reflect this you may never be set lower than PvP Guarded. Additionally, there are multiple ways to be locked into Open PvP status as a Necromancer, primarily by being successfully accused while in town. If you are locked Open, then normal Open rules may apply, and anyone may attack you for any reason. Short of instances of genuine harassment, you do not have any OOC recourse if this happens and this is by design.
If someone attacks your pet, you have consent on them, though this is a murky area and should not be used as a cheap tactic to get AFK hunters to attack your zombie. You can of course hide in town and summon your mighty zombie to cause trouble, and anyone who attacks it will be yours to kill, but griefing newbies is generally frowned upon.
While being a Necromancer doesn't mean you can be harassed, a certain degree of conflict is inherent to the guild. Don't be afraid to role-play out a confrontation, and aim for a non-violent solution, but if that fails, be prepared to move for a bit.