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The Redeemed style themselves as "good guy Necromancers," but the reality of their existence is far from romantic. While the Redeemed have often faced the character flaws that drove them to necromancy and became better people for it, temptation and taint will follow them to their graves.
Necromancers do a lot of bad things. It is simply a reality that in the course of practicing the discipline, a Necromancer goes against all societal norms and even the express wishes of the gods themselves. It is impossible for anyone except the most misanthropic to do these things without some lingering regret.
All Necromancers eventually confront the bitter truth of their discipline, and in turn most Necromancers fall. They tell themselves lies, they steel their hearts, and they refine whatever drove them over the brink into a burning mania. A rare few Necromancers face the darkness in their soul and come out of it with a moral and spiritual awakening. Realizing the horrible mistakes they have made in their lives, they kneel in supplication to the gods once more. In the glory and mercy of the Immortals (some of them, anyway), they are granted redemption.
Redemption has its price. The gods expect the Redeemed to forever give up the profane arts: they may not use Animation or Transcendental Necromancy magic, nor may they ever again create a Risen. However, the gods do not do anything to prevent the Redeemed from doing these things. The gods judge the Redeemed silently, ready to strike them down once more if they slip even once. The Redeemed fear this fate more than death itself. By becoming Redeemed, a Necromancer burns all his bridges among the cults. The twice-damned has twice as far to fall, and no friends in the pit he would land in.
Further, while the gods have forgiven the Redeemed, society has not. The governments of the Provinces do not care about a Necromancer's fanciful tales of revelation and redemption, seeing it little more as a disgusting ploy for leniency. The Redeemed are hunted just as surely as any other Necromancer by the followers of the gods that have forgiven them.
The Redeemed regard the other ideological camps as monsters who have fallen to moral and spiritual decay. The other camps regard the Redeemed as sycophants who cling desperately to the tyrannical gods that disowned them to begin with.
Scholars estimate that the number of Redeemed existent at any time is less than a dozen.
Background Lore Posts
Redemption for a Necromancer is complicated. The gods pat you on your head and give you a cookie...at the cost of locking out vast tracks of your spells and never again using your guild's signature ability and skill. That's a terrible deal, and only really exists as a gear in a larger design (the Necromancer's moral struggle). If you want to be a good guy Necromancer, the gods have given you a way -- a long, very torturous way. If you think the cost is too high, then obviously your character didn't want to be a good guy so badly after all.
One of the major philosophical changes that got made over the years was redefining the Redeemed from being a failed state that existed primarily as an antithesis to the Philosophers and instead as a legitimately supported method of play. In significant ways this has followed the trajectory set by Empath development; Redemption was always somewhat tied to permashocked Empaths as an example, and since the inception of the guild we've had major changes in our policy toward both.
Distilled down, the Redeemed are "half-holy". They give up a lot of what makes Necromancers necromantic, but do get a set of returned abilities and the new Anabasis spells that should hopefully make them an engaging choice for those who want to do it.
Redemption is achieved via a quest. You must be at least 10th circle. The only other prerequisite is that the penitent Necromancer must have been Forsaken for at least 6 months. Unsullied necromancers (who have never been Forsaken) are exempt from this timer.
What do I gain?
Anabasis spells, a Divine Outrage wipe, exemption from passive DO and suspicion incurrence, ability to use Holy magic, gain favors and get healed by Empaths, and reprieve from any other DO-related penalties.
Note: Anabasis spells are not taught by the existing guild leaders, and you will lose the ability to cast them should you fall from Redemption.
(The Redemption quest will tell you where go for the new spells.)
In a change of plan from the original design, you can in fact redo the quest 6 RL months after you stop being Redeemed. Please note that, unless you can definitively demonstrate an action that incurs Divine Outrage due to a bug, staff will not override this timer. Redemption is meant to be a very delicate status. Mistakes and accidents happen, but you will have to wait 6 months for another shot at Redemption.
Should you choose to use either spellbook you will have the capability to do so. However, you will no longer be considered Redeemed. The gods will not stop you from using them, but they'll judge and punish you if you do.
You will see a warning when PREParing a forbidden spell:
- You are distinctly aware that completion of this spell pattern will jeopardize your Redemption.
Other Prohibited Actions
There is no warning or confirmation step with these actions.
Can Redeemed Necromancers switch guilds?
The Necromancer who manages to seize redemption might, after the initial euphoria drains away, notice that something is a little...wrong. They may be redeemed in the eyes of the gods, but the damage they inflicted on their souls is still there.
A Redeemed still sees the sickening whorls of Arcane mana out of the corner of his eye, stalking him like a beast. The supernatural forces of Elanthia will still reject him: his Inner Fire has smoldered, his Empathy is shattered. Nature abhors him, the Plane of Probability is closed to him, and the aether spirits will not heed his call. Even if he is Redeemed, he is a Necromancer. No matter how long or how hard he runs, he can never fully escape his past.
Opinions among the Redeemed on this issue are split. Some simply fade away into lives of obscurity. They take up the plowshare and accept that whatever will be, they have at least won free from the madness and spiritual decay of their discipline. The wounds in their soul remain, but they do not fester.
Others see this as, in a bizarre way, part of a divine quest. They look for any sign by the gods that may suggest that they can prove their sincerity and win not just redemption, but rebirth and purification. Some of these crusaders attempt to do some measure of good to others, even though the powers they possess are greedy and destructive. Some of them turn inward, reckoning that they alone have the knowledge and means to beat the Necromancers at their own game.
The later ones inspire fear out of proportion with the chance of encountering one, but a homicidal Redeemed is one of the worst things any other Necromancer (including other Redeemed) could meet. There are tales of lone Redeemed murdering entire cults, conjuring acid and poison with one hand and wielding torch-fire in the other.
No matter what road a Redeemed Necromancer takes, however, purification is a long ways away.