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Necromancer refers to a diverse group of Arcane magic users that utilize a collection of sorceries -- including blood magic, alchemy and the animation of the undead -- to further their evil and selfish goals. They are universally shunned by society and by the gods, being viewed as abominations and monsters that prey on the innocent and sell their souls into damnation for power.
Necromancers are broken into three ideological camps. Player character Necromancers begin by affiliating with the Philosophers of the Knife, which are unique in that they pursue "the Great Work": the use of necromancy to find eternal life. Often they hide themselves in crowds, like wolves among sheep, while others eschew society entirely and rule in the hinterlands. A group of radical holy men, the Hounds of Rutilor, are dedicated to the Philosophers' annihilation, and will hunt down any Necromancer they find openly practicing within their reach.
Necromancers are intended by design to be an advanced option for players who are already familiar with the game and want to try a profession that includes some novel and difficult permutations on the normal play experience.
Players reading this page may also wish to note that the majority of this information is not considered commonly known in-character to non-Necromancers.
- 1 Official Information
- 2 Guild Abilities
- 3 Circle Requirements
- 4 Necromancer Guild Lore
- 4.1 Why PC Necromancers are always Philosophers
- 4.2 Necromancer official lore posts
- 4.3 Necromancer Guild Visions
- 4.4 Necromancer Historical Timeline
- 4.5 Necromancer Ideologies
- 4.6 Death and the Soul
- 4.7 A treatise on Extraplanar Life
- 4.8 Brief Sketch of the History of the Philosophers
- 4.9 Demonic Necromancy
- 4.10 Necromancer Sanity
- 5 Related forum posts
- 6 See also
- Survival Primary
- Magic and Lore Secondary
- Armor and Weapons Tertiary
NOTE: The majority of guildleaders and guild locations are not common knowledge. As such, they are not included in this list unless that changes.
- The Triumphant Zamidren Book initiates and leads nascent Philosophers of the Knife from his hidden lair somewhere in Zoluren.
Necromancers use necromancy which is a subset of sorcery also referred to as "ontologic sorcery" by Philosophers. Necromancy by definition uses some Life mana in the mix along with either Elemental or Lunar. Necromancers have access to the Animation, Blood Magic, Corruption, Synthetic Creation, and Transcendental Necromancy spellbooks.
To do this effectively, Necromancers utilize something colloquially known as Arcane or Necromantic mana. This is not actually a distinct mana type, but a freakishly bizarre, illusory aggregate they perceive as the result of substantial and imperfect alterations to the Necromancer's nervous system done when they attempt to attune themselves to Lunar, Elemental, and Life mana all at once.
Due to the process through which they become attuned, young Necromancers appear to be attuned to Life, Lunar, or Elemental mana until they become so corrupted (i.e. possess enough Divine Outrage) that their Arcane attunement shows through. This mana type is determined randomly and is not meant to make any particular statement about the character, but does determine which fake spell preparation they can learn from Markat.
Sorcery and Sorcerous Casting
Necromantic spell patterns are designed to account for deranged movements of their "fifth frequency," but the lack of true multi-attunement perception means they can suffer like other people when casting outside their normal environment.
- Lunar, Elemental, Life: Low risk, equivalent to any other guild's best combination.
- Holy: Extremely risky to impossible, with additional negative effects for Forsaken Necromancers.
Necromancers automatically learn the Alternate Preparation feat for free upon joining and gain access to a spell prep that is appropriate for the mana type they appear to have. This prep is learned and used by speaking to Markat and toggling it on.
As a magic secondary guild, Necromancers gain spell slots in the following way.
|21-100||Every 2 Circles|
|101-150||Every 3 Circles|
Thanatology represents a corrupted form of an Empathic Transference link and is the means by which a Necromancer may perform a number of rituals and types of magic, including healing themselves and creating undead. Necromancers presently have a number of Thanatological rituals available to them:
- Entry: Allows quick entrance to the guild if performed within a nearby area.
- Preserve: Temporarily prevents a corpse from decaying.
- Harvest: Creates a piece of fetish material from a preserved corpse. (Note: fetishes are not currently implemented.)
- Fetish: Taught at 3rd or 4th level, though not currently implemented.
- Cut: Ritualistically draws blood without leaving a wound, allowing certain spells or abilities to be used.
- Dissect: Dissects the corpse of something recently alive or undead to discern something about its anatomy or composition.
- Consume: Prepares a corpse to be used as fodder for Consume Flesh or Devour.
- Arise: Prepares a corpse to be raised as one of the undead.
Two kinds of Outrage exist: Divine Outrage and Social Outrage. These meters are not linked to each other.
Divine Outrage is a measure of how corrupted the Necromancer is and how much ire the Immortals currently feel toward them. Certain actions, such as creating undead and using Transcendental Necromancy spells, build Divine Outrage and will render the Necromancer more and more corrupt which may have deleterious effects if not managed. As you circle, there is a rising "floor" which your Divine Outrage may not drop lower than, meaning you will eventually be rendered too corrupt to gain favors, be healed by Empaths, have beneficial Holy spells used on you, and more.
Social Outrage is a measure of how uneasy the local towns folk and authorities are. Certain actions taken inside justice areas, such as attempting to interact with an NPC with a Transcendental Necromancy spell up, will give you Social Outrage and temporarily prevent you from using town services including banks, vaults, or shopkeepers. Accuse allows a PC to alert the authorities of the presence of a Necromancer inside of a justice area and will generate Social Outrage for a Necromancer that has been successfully accused as well as toggling the Necromancer's PvP status to Open (see below) temporarily. This is contested, has various requirements, and can provide certain rewards as incentive to the accuser.
Both Divine and Social outrage may drain for up to 2.5 hours per day in Prime and Platinum, and 8 hours per day in The Fallen.
Necromancers and Consent Policy
Generally speaking, Necromancers operate under standard consent policy with regards to PvP. Due to the nature of the guild and their in-character opposition to the Immortals and society, however, Necromancer players are expected to acknowledge the potential for PvP interaction and may not go lower than Guarded with their PvP stance, and in general will be treated with a little less leniency. Additionally, there are several ways that a Necromancer may be locked into Open PvP status for a time, such as being successfully accused of necromancy. Accuse does not give the Necromancer consent against whoever accused them.
With regards to Risen, they are fair game to attack by anyone regardless of the PvP status of the Necromancer. This grants the Necromancer consent for that conflict, which ends if either party dies.
A Risen is an undead creature created by a Necromancer to do their bidding and is the primary ability of the guild. Temporary Risen for use in combat may be created with the Call from Beyond spell, while permanent Risen are slated to have other non-combat applications.
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Necromancer Guild Lore
Why PC Necromancers are always Philosophers
THIS IS NOW CONSIDERED OUT OF DATE INFORMATION. NECROMANCER PCS NOW BEGIN AS PHILSOPHERS BUT CAN PURSUE A DIFFERENT PATH IN GAME
Many of these posts have been excellent and have delved into the question in a very specific manner. So in my response I'll take the opportunity to dwell on the issue in a broader fashion. I'll bring up four points, starting with the most glib one and working backward toward seriousness.
1: It takes a serious dedication to postmodernism to invoke The Death of the Author in a conversation with the author.
2: There is, in fact, a certain level of arbitrariness inherent in the role of worldbuilding. Why is a mountain here but not there? Why is Kssarh angry and not nice? Why not space vampires from Neptune? While one of those might be an intuitive 'no,' consider that all three questions differ in scale rather than kind.
3: There is a stark difference between Necromancers and PC Necromancers. Necromancers in the broadest term can do any sort of random act of evil that the plot demands; Necromancers summon wailing spirits, create poisons that permanently kill the innocent and sometimes even fight the avatar of Meraud Himself and come out on top.
PCs cannot - must not - do any of these things. As a basic explanation to why PC Necromancers are so limited while NPC Necromancers can still murder you with enchanted textiles, we fall back to a simple but effective DR trope that the guild structure prevents you from learning it. You are specifically a Necromancer from the tradition of the Philosophers, whether your character sticks with them or not, and the Philosophers' bag of tricks was specifically designed to be PC compatible.
4: Necromancers in the broad term occupy a different ecological niche than the PC Necromancers. "Necromancer" is a code word for Bad Guy in the most fundamental sense. Necromancers in the past have done wildly misanthropic stuff simply because They're Evil. Nobody cares about the feasibility of Sidhlot's portrayal of evil. That's not the point. He's older than dragons and so metal he poops viking helmets.
But the Necromancer's Guild is by necessity a look at the bad guys' side, and Sauron only works as villain as an archetypal role rather than a meaningful character. A Pure Evil character ran by a PC for entertainment would either be a masterful RP experiment or uncomfortably suggestive of the psychological issues being worked out. For this to work, there had to be sympathy for the devil, so my very first problem to solve was 'How do I make Necromancers sympathetic enough that we could imagine a real, live individual doing this?'
The Philosophers were my answer. The Philosophy promises you reprieve from death (note that I started inserting more real-life features of death into DR at this time), freedom from the contingencies of the world, the ability to be your own man. I designed the spiel appeal to most of our basic anxieties about life and touch on the dream of posthumanism and the glorification of mankind through his skill and technology. In not always subtle ways, the Philosophers came to embody 20th century philosophy and scientism. The Philosophers are doing, in a fantasy parody, what Western society enshrines as good and proper goals.
So the stage was set. All that stands between you and glorifying mankind is the evil you will do in its name.
This is, once again, a remarkably different role than what Sidhlot or Velmix brought to the table. The Old Man doesn't talk to Sidhlot, nor did the Hounds of Rutilor burn entire villages to root out a single Bone Elf. In a direct sense because the Bone Elves are not connected with the Great Work, but also because their portrayal of evil is outside the portrayal of evil we're using. The drama of the PC Necromancer -- the pogroms, the murmurs of conspiring otherworldly forces, the entwining moral evils from both sides, and the hints of transcendental glory -- is set in the foundation that the Philosophers bring to the setting.
So it is a requirement that, while your PC can love them or hate them, stay or leave, be a blubbering sycophant to Book or try to manipulate him for your own ends, you cannot be disconnected from them.
Brief Sketch of the History of the Philosophers
To perhaps help, let's go over a Brief Sketch of the History of the Philosophers.
About a hundred-odd years ago, some idiot (name unknown) wrote Investigations Toward an Alchemy of Flesh, and then was killed by a bunch of other idiots (random Zoluren adventurers). The Alchemy of Flesh wound up in the hands of some idiot Cleric (named Kigot), with the idiotic idea that he'd known what to do with it.
Kigot had this idiotic notion that by exposing Necromancy to the light of day the good people of Elanthia would be better able to fight against it, so he made copies and sent it to some other idiots he knew (random Zoluren and Therengian scholars). They, being idiots, also made copies and began distributing them. Cue sudden increase in Necromancers.
The Temple at some point realized what was going on and started yelling profanity through the corridors. Cue lots and lots and lots of murder.
This is what Markat calls the first generation of Philosophers -- scholars who had direct access to the Alchemy of Flesh and began to pursue necro-alchemy. Most of them are at this point very dead.
Kigot gets very upset about the Temple trying to murder him and had a moral break. He devoted the rest of his short life to crafting an ethical system to support Necromancy, which he called the Philosophy of the Knife. Then he got murdered.
This is where the second generation comes in -- Necromancers who "converted" the Philosophy and the promise of necro-alchemy, or their direct apprentices. There are a few dozen of these people walking around today.
Among the many, many, many pages that Kigot wrote (really, you could use his collective works as a weapon in a pinch), he had the rather arrogant assumption that there'd be no greater breakthrough in the field until a group of necro-alchemists could put aside their differences and work together. He was smart enough to understand this could only be achieved in terms of dominance and submission, so referred to this theoretical leader among Philosophers as the Triumphant; the guy who beat or conned everyone else into submission.
Enter Zamidren Book, who used Lyras's self-destructive crusade and the reactionary anti-Necro sentiment as an excuse to murder some of his rivals and browbeat a significant fraction of the Philosophers into doing things his way.
He was successful and has cultivated a relatively impressive powerbase, but spends most of his time at the moment split between trying very, very hard to keep the Temple and the Hounds from murdering everybody and playing politics among his knife-wielding degenerate peers.
To clear things up -- According to the Philosophy of the Knife, demonic necromancy is something to be avoided as much as dealing with the gods. That's the realm of perversion, the backwards and ignorant ways practiced by necromancers of old, and inevitably leads to a situation such as what happened with Lyras.
Science and the careful study of death, not contracts with nether entities, is the forte and the key to the Great Work. Now, if a Necromancer wants to go and learn such practices from an entity outside the philosophers, it may be a possibility, but the official guild won't support it and you could get in really big trouble with them for going that route.
All this will be somewhat clearer when we manage to get the library finished.
Let's step OOC for a moment, and discuss this in terms no character should ever use (though inevitably will, since I now just said it).
The attunement process for Arcane mana involves substantial changes to your character's neurobiology in a setting so far removed from modern science and medicine that this is completely not understood or remotely accounted for. You are seeing what Man Mustn't See not because of occult hoodoo but because your character's brain is no longer firing like it used to.
The madness of the Necromancer is, first and foremost, neurological. Schizophrenia, affect disorders, clinical depression, etc. Cthulhu-analog certainly plays a part in how deeply boned Necromancers are, but at the front lines of the Necromancer's soul, his major demons are all personal.
In practice, these are not going to be balls-to-the-walls-mad people. The Philosophers aim at creating functional sociopaths (though they'd never think of themselves in those terms), and anyone who exhibits outrageously broken cognition after the attunement will be used for parts as a failed attunement. The intention is a creeping fear that the Necromancer's ego (you, basically) isn't in full control of the vehicle.
And if Lyras is any indication, sometimes he isn't.
Moving toward the supernatural, we arrive at a point where I want to keep a certain level of mystery in the story. Hallucinations certainly fit (bearing in mind that someone who's constantly seeing purple skyway Nevada is going to find his spleen appropriated), but there is the Hunger sitting somewhere within the Necromancer's frame of reference.
Sometimes a Necromancer might catch a glimpse of... something, just as in real life sometimes our pattern recognition will turn the shadows in the corner of our eyes into something else. It's probably "innocent" madness. Sometimes, though, that seems very unlikely.
Ultimately, one of the intentions is that Necromancers and their PCs have no particularly reliable frame of reference to know at any given time whether whatever is screwing with them is spiritual/magical, psychological, or physical.
For example, take paranoia. A Necromancer may at any time be actually hunted and persecuted, attacked by gods and demons, or due to his Attunement fall to disorders that feature it floridly. Or this may be happening all at the same time.
The Old Man, likewise, is intentionally written in a way that makes it kind of hard to figure out where the line is getting drawn.