White Necromancy. Help required.


General Discussion (Prerelease)

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Grand Lodge

I have a player who's keen to play a Necromancer specialist Wizard who worships Pharasma.

Given that Pharasma's church despises undead, a number of the specialist powers of the Necromancer would seem unsuitable.

I found a thread on White Necromancy here, but that's probably a little more complicated than I'm after.

I was thinking of simply replacing the current 8th and 20th Necromancer powers with the 8th and 20th Repose domain powers.

I'm hoping some folks out there could give me their thoughts.

Cheers!

Liberty's Edge

Sorry, since this will not really help you, but Pharasma is just bat-crazy. She nerfs her own clerics by killing several big powers they could use, especially if they chose her Death domain.

I guess she wants them to come and visit her as soon as possible...


Healing spells are necromancy.

Anything that brings dead things back to life (including dead cells) is necromancy.

Healing should have never have been moved into conjuration (transmutation maybe but how do you summon body parts back?).


buzzby wrote:

Given that Pharasma's church despises undead, a number of the specialist powers of the Necromancer would seem unsuitable.

...White Necromancy...

I was thinking of simply replacing the current 8th and 20th Necromancer powers with the 8th and 20th Repose domain powers.

You could use the 8th and 20th powers from the Evocation School(Elemental Power & Elemental Wall) and make them energy type "positive" or "negative" according to the character's alignment as a Cleric does with his channeling.


Abraham spalding wrote:
how do you summon body parts back?

A "Booty Call"?


buzzby wrote:
... I was thinking of simply replacing the current 8th and 20th Necromancer powers with the 8th and 20th Repose domain powers.

I think that would work rather well. Replacing the School Power is a bit tougher of a solution. You might consider the "Gentle Rest" of Repose (compare Enchantment to Charm domain), but it's pretty strong. Perhaps a Touch of Exhaustion with a similar mechanic.

Grand Lodge

Daniel Moyer wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
how do you summon body parts back?
A "Booty Call"?

*ring ring Pharasma, I need some booty please... thanks"

ROLMAO


Krome wrote:
Daniel Moyer wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
how do you summon body parts back?
A "Booty Call"?

*ring ring Pharasma, I need some booty please... thanks"

ROLMAO

Isn't she missing most of the lower half herself? Might not be who you want to call...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:
Krome wrote:
Daniel Moyer wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
how do you summon body parts back?
A "Booty Call"?

*ring ring Pharasma, I need some booty please... thanks"

ROLMAO

Isn't she missing most of the lower half herself? Might not be who you want to call...

That's Urgathoa. She definitely would not frown on undead, though...

Grand Lodge

*ring ring* Urgathoa, babe, you be looking pretty fine tonight. How bout you come to my crib for a little booty call? What? Oh. Umm, never mind then. No Calistra is doing a convention. Yes I mean DOING a convention.

Dark Archive

Krome wrote:
*ring ring* Urgathoa, babe, you be looking pretty fine tonight. How bout you come to my crib for a little booty call? What? Oh. Umm, never mind then. No Calistra is doing a convention. Yes I mean DOING a convention.

LOL

Contributor

Honestly, just house-rule all healing back under Necromancy. It saves an endless amount of bother, and also allows for such spells as vampiric healing (I harm you to heal myself) and empathic healing (I harm myself to heal you) and the variants where you shuffle around the life force from other individuals besides yourself.

You should also look up the "Tome of Necromancy" on the web and make certain that the DM is using "Playing With Fire" option rather than the "Crawling Darkness" option, because if death energy is evil in and of itself, it's hard to have any necromancy be white unless healing is necromancy and you're adding the white part back in.

Grand Lodge

Cheers everyone, really appreciate the input.

Grand Lodge

Okay to add a serious contribution to this post... darn it all

I do NOT like the way D&D groups spells at all. It becomes very difficult to play iconic spellcasters, instead you have to go with their very odd schools. I am all in favor of taking the "schools" and tossing them all together and starting all over.

Necromancy should be all spells related to the body, whether raising undead or healing- it's all unnatural. I liked some of what Iron Heroes did with their magic and they followed this course. It allowed necromancers to be either evil or good, depending upon their spell usage.


You say D&D... I don't think that's quite what you mean Krome... I believe what you mean is "3.x D&D has done some funky stuff with its schools of magic... we should probably rearrange some of the spells back where they use to be."

Grand Lodge

Abraham spalding wrote:

You say D&D... I don't think that's quite what you mean Krome... I believe what you mean is "3.x D&D has done some funky stuff with its schools of magic... we should probably rearrange some of the spells back where they use to be."

lol true... I really would like to see a total redo... I want to see spells completely redesigned to allow more classic spellcasters... elementalists, necromancers, summoners, etc... not transmutatinists or whatever they call them...

Shadow Lodge

Krome wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

You say D&D... I don't think that's quite what you mean Krome... I believe what you mean is "3.x D&D has done some funky stuff with its schools of magic... we should probably rearrange some of the spells back where they use to be."

lol true... I really would like to see a total redo... I want to see spells completely redesigned to allow more classic spellcasters... elementalists, necromancers, summoners, etc... not transmutatinists or whatever they call them...

Transmuters. Kinda agree with that though. Using transmutation to further your own power sounds a little to "Full Metal" for my taste...


HA!

Give me back the good ol' school of alteration that one was classic. As well as old necromancy, enchantment/illusion, and conjuration...


The Osirion Pathfinder Companion book had to metamagic feats (threnodic spell and thanatopic spell) that when taken, allowed casters to affect undead with mind-affecting and negative energy spells, respectively.


Yea I have to agree that necromancy should be any and all healing,undead or whatever that has to do with life energy.

In 2nd ed the wizards could cure disease and restore a broken bone and regrow a lost eye or leg just because he was a necromancer.
Mind you he as also just as capable of raising skeletons and what not but that was based on how he used his power not the power itself.

I have NEVER agreed with the conjuration side of healing. The only thing I can see transmutaion doing is regrow or replace not restore.
Heck they even had a 1st lvl spell in the complete book of necromancers that let a wizrd mold flesh doing no hit point damage or healing it simply allowed for no scares or burns. Thats what necromancy should be.


necro-
a combining form meaning “the dead,” “corpse,” “dead tissue,” used in the formation of compound words: necrology, necromancy.

Origin: Gk nekro-, comb. form of nekrós dead person, corpse, (adj.) dead

-mancy
a combining form meaning “divination,” of the kind specified by the initial element: necromancy.

Origin:
ME -manci(e), -mancy(e) < OF -mancie < L -mant&#299;a < Gk manteía divination.

necromancy

–noun
1. a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art.
2. conjuring up the dead, especially for prophesying
3. the belief in magical spells that harness occult forces or evil spirits to produce unnatural effects in the world [syn: sorcery]
4. magic in general, esp. that practiced by a witch or sorcerer; sorcery; witchcraft.

OK, that said, Speak With Dead is the penultimate "necromancy" spell, according to the real-world definition of the word.

Now, in D&D, we clearly take a more liberal definition of "necromancy" and apply a lot of things to it that aren't generally attributed to it, such as controlling undead, using magic to kill people, etc. (although that kind of stuff could fall under the 3rd or 4th definition, but then so could Fireball).

The one thing that doesn't seem to fit well into any of that definition is healing. Or more specifically, divine healing. I suppose some kind of witchcraft/voodoo/occult healing that involves conjuring up dead spirits and binding them to your will to produce "unnatural" healing might qualify as necromancy by the definitions given.

But I don't think calling down the favor of a benevolent deity to heal the sick and injured qualifies as necromancy. There are faith healers on TV every day. Sometimes, they even seem to do some good. They invoke the name of their god, lay hands on the petitioner, and invoke healing power.

I don't recall anyone ever arresting Oral Roberts for practicing necromancy, black magic, or even sorcery.

So I have a hard time accepting healing magic as necromancy, though I have a perfectly easy time accepting a different spin on healing, such as the conjured spirit healing I described, as being necromantic.

In which case I would say there could be two different versions of Cure Light Wounds. One that calls down divine favor to heal, one that conjures up tormented spirits to heal. We could leave one in conjuration, or move it to trasmutation even, and the other would be just dandy in the necromancy school.

Or we could just have the one version and give it different effects depending on who casts it, and they way it heals.

But just saying, in general, that all healing belongs in the necromancy school is very counter-intuitive to what "necromancy" means, and what "healing" means.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DM_Blake wrote:
A lot of stuff about real world necromancy

Interesting, but not terribly relevant when this is the Paizo game definition:

Pathfinder Beta wrote:

Necromancy

Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force. Spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school.

Under that definition, healing definitely fits in with necromancy.


As to the thread of the original post, and the topic title, I cannot get my head around that concept. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Here's how I run my cosmology.

Yes, this is long-winded, even for me, but it's a big concept - so I'll put it in a spoiler and therefore only the very brave need venture into this enormous post:

Spoiler:

Everyone who has real sentience has (or had) a soul of some kind. Even little evil kobolds have a soul.

When they die, their soul is released into the cosomos. Not to wander aimlessly. The released souls are all headed somewhere.

Usually that somewhere is the deity the individual worshipped in life. If he worshipped a whole pantheon, then the pantheon shares the soul equally. In fact, deities are a complicated lot, they even have a system of deciding who within the pantheon received the most worship/tribute from the deceased, and they distribute the soul in proportional amounts.

Maybe he worshipped an ideal, such as good or evil, or nature, or something similar. Each of these ideals is, in a general sense, not very different from a true deity. These ideals also require souls, and claim souls of their worshippers, just like deities do.

To a deity, souls are power. Living worshippers, deceased worshippers, it's all the same.

The important distinction is that the destination of a soul is decided at the moment of death, and is inviolate. If a worshipper of Erastil dies, Iomedae cannot lay claim to the soul.

So the deities, and other ideals and entities, try to entice/persuade living beings to become worshippers, and to retain those worshippers until they die. Evil entities might even facilitate those deaths so they can get the souls sooner, without risk of that worshipper changing faith to some other entity before dying.

If a living being proclaims faith, but is not truly faithful at heart, in their soul, then they have nowhere to go in the afterlife. Even the deities cannot use them, so they don't want these "undeclared" souls. Worse, some fiends (devils, demons) like to entice the faithful worshippers of deities to "break the faith", to act out of the decrees and doctines of their faith. Either way, these undeclared souls have nowhere to go, so the fiends snatch up those souls and, well, they do what fiends do with tormented souls.

This is why deities encourage their faithful to build churches and wage holy wars - it's all primarily a big recruiting tactic to increase the number of souls they control.

This is not to say that many of them have no compassion or they don't care about their worshippers. All the good ones, most of the neutral, and some of the evil entities care very much about the well-being of their worshippers and their claimed souls (this is why afterlifes are usually paradises). Even the few deities who don't care about the well being of their souls still pretend to care, and go through the motions of caring, or else recruiting would be downright impossible.

Now, when a soul is in a living body, it's safely ensconced in a happy, comfortable cocoon of flesh and life.

But when it is released by death, it is miserable. Like a newborn babe come into the harsh world, it is suddenly cold and alone and very frightened.

But it knows where to go. Paradise awaits.

Now, anyone who deliberately interferes with this process is treading on dangerous waters. Those deities, ideals, and entities want their souls. They don't want them the way living people want cake. They want them the way we want a heartbeat or a breath of air - but on a divine scale we mortals cannot even perceive.

That's a lot of want.

Necromancy (the kind that animates corpses and creates/controls undead) deliberately interferes with the soul's journey to its appropriate entity.

Fred dies, and his soul starts heading to Iomedae's paradise, but some evil necromancer animates Fred as a zombie, chaining Fred's soul to the zombie in some tormented limbo of afterlife that prevent's Fred from reaching his Nirvana.

Now Fred's soul is forced to remain in this limbo. Scared, alone, cold, miserable, tormented. And suffering from the knowledge that paradise awaits but he can't reach it. Like a starving man looking at an all-you-can-eat buffet behind an unbreakable glass wall - only worse, in a way that transcends the kind of suffering of flesh and bone and can only be suffered by a raw naked soul.

That's evil.

It's always evil.

And it defies the very gods themselves, keeping them from their divine craving for souls.

What's worse, is that the vilest of necromancies can actually allow the wicked entities to gain control of a soul they didn't have the rights to obtain.

Urgathoa might entrust her followers with necromantic spells that bind a worshipper of Iomedae in such a way that the soul eventually belongs to Urgathoa instead of Iomedae - she effectively steals the soul.

And what a deity like Urgathoa might do with a non-worshipper's soul is unmentionable on these forums.

Even though Iomedae could severely weaken Urgathoa's power by snatching up all the souls on their way to Urgathoa's paradise, keeping her from gaining souls, such an act would be unthinkable and irreproachable by all but the foulest of entities - and even those most foul will only dare to entertain the notion if they think they can do it without getting caught, for the vast majority if deities would gladly put aside any and all differences and unite in their goal of destroying whichever entity decided to break this divine covenant.

But when all this is said and done, any magic that interferes in any way with a soul's journey to the appropriate afterlife is vile and despicable, and evil at its very core.

It torments the soul, and it stands against divine covenants that are accepted and observed by all deities, ideals, and entities, fair or foul.

And I've already given my thoughts on healing magic.


There isn't much left for "white" necromancers to do. Speak With Dead, a few damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death (though using necromancy to kill people may be difficult to justify as "white" - but then so is killing people with a sword).

Not much call, as I see it, for white necromancy.

Obviously, other DMs with other cosmological views would see things differently.


Paul Watson wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
A lot of stuff about real world necromancy

Interesting, but not terribly relevant when this is the Paizo game definition:

Pathfinder Beta wrote:

Necromancy

Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force. Spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school.
Under that definition, healing definitely fits in with necromancy.

Yes, but cure spells use Positive Energy, not Life Force, to heal.

Those two things are not the same, nor are they interchangeable.

Pathfinder Beta, Cure Light Wounds wrote:

Cure Light Wounds

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5).
wizards.com, glossary wrote:

positive energy

A white, luminous energy that originates on the Positive Energy Plane. In general, positive energy heals the living and hurts undead creatures.

Given that, I might read the Pathfinder definition thusly:

Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death (killing things, such as with Finger of Death or Circle of Death), unlife (manipulating undead, such as with Command Undead or Animate Dead), and the life force (manipulating the soul, such as with Resurrection or Trap the Soul).

I still don't see healing spells falling into this category.


What we are saying is that 3.x changed the cure spells completely from their origins in 1st and 2nd edition:

In first and second the cure spells restored life to the body -- they didn't conjure up positive energy and shove it into the target. Since the spells simply restored life they had no connection to the positive energy, they manipulated death into life again, hence why they were necromancy spells.

In 3rd ed cure spells are basically "Channel positive energy" spells, a complete departure from their origin.

******

Complete Speculation here, but I think they changed cure spells into what they are in 3.x in order to get away from necromancy, which generally carries bad connotations in the western world, thereby making D&D slightly more acceptable to the mainstream market. Without the positive effects being attributed to necromancy it could be the "bad evil icky" school of magic that we normal associate necromancy with, without having to explain how it can be used for good by healing people, by doing such possibly "condoning" the use of necromancy.

Liberty's Edge

Krome wrote:

Okay to add a serious contribution to this post... darn it all

I do NOT like the way D&D groups spells at all. It becomes very difficult to play iconic spellcasters, instead you have to go with their very odd schools. I am all in favor of taking the "schools" and tossing them all together and starting all over.

Necromancy should be all spells related to the body, whether raising undead or healing- it's all unnatural. I liked some of what Iron Heroes did with their magic and they followed this course. It allowed necromancers to be either evil or good, depending upon their spell usage.

I really like the magic system of Harnworld. The Pvaric wheel of 6 elements (fire/energy, water/cold/darkness, air/light, earth/living stuff, metal/artifice and mental/knowledge) made for a much more compelling set of disciplines. Worth checking out if you haven't heard of it before.


In my new PF party, one of my players wants to play a sorcerer (undead) that specializes in necromancy and the summoning of undead. However, due to his background, he uses these powers and the undead to do good. So we had a bit of a problem making a character that does good things, but still uses the bodies and souls of the deceased as tools...

So I did some looking-up on the net, and I found several pages referring to something called Deathless, and its ties to White Necromancy. So I was thinking that the sorcerer has the blessing of Pharasma to use the souls of the dead, and their bodies, but only if they want, and only if it are the remains of those who were not evil...

In game terms, my player is going to take a feat:

Deathless Pact
Prerequisites: Ability to summon or create undead creatures, patron deity must have the Death and/or Repose domain.
Effect: Spells that summon or create undead loose the Evil descriptor when you cast them, and gain the Good descriptor. Undead you summon gain a good aura that replaces the normal evil aura, at the same strength as their evil aura normally would be.
Note that other necromantic spells and abilities that are evil, stay evil, such as curse water.

I am going to create other feats as well to upgrade the summoning or creation of deathless, mirroring those for upgrading undead summoning. For example, Deadly Chill (+1d6 cold damage by undead melee) becomes Holy Fire (+1d6 fire damage)
This is because Deathless are holy undead, giving their soul and body with their own approval and their deity's.

Contributor

buzzby wrote:


Given that Pharasma's church despises undead, a number of the specialist powers of the Necromancer would seem unsuitable.

Sorta kinda not always maybe.

Evil and destructive undead and those brought back against their will certainly they despise. But for undead like ghosts, revenants, and some others who remain on the material plane out of some lingering need, passion, or the circumstance of their death, there's some under the table dealing. Pharasma's clergy in Osirion for instance may have some wink/wink agreement with the cult of Groetus, a church within a church perhaps, wherein the restless dead and dealt with on a non-antagonistic basis, while the mainline church doesn't openly break with the public doctrine most people are familiar with.

I can see strains of Pharasmite clergy that have an interpretation of their faith wherein some undead are more undead than others, and the general prohibition against them is a guideline with some flexibility rather than an outright ban.


Daniel Moyer wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
how do you summon body parts back?
A "Booty Call"?

What's a booty call, uncle Charlie?


buzzby wrote:

I have a player who's keen to play a Necromancer specialist Wizard who worships Pharasma.

Given that Pharasma's church despises undead, a number of the specialist powers of the Necromancer would seem unsuitable.

I found a thread on White Necromancy here, but that's probably a little more complicated than I'm after.

I was thinking of simply replacing the current 8th and 20th Necromancer powers with the 8th and 20th Repose domain powers.

I'm hoping some folks out there could give me their thoughts.

Cheers!

Fortunately only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells carry the "Evil" descriptor:

Animate Dead
Contagion
Create Greater Undead
Create Undead
Symbol of Pain
(Eyebite was Evil in 3.5 but does not appear to be so in PfRPG Beta)

So from that perspective it wouldn't be too hard to play a White or Good Aligned Necromancer; there are many very good spells left in the school.

Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 abilities granted to a Necromancer involve Undead. I think that your idea to swap the level 8 and 20 abilities for those of the Repose Domain is a good one. These make sense thematically and are only slightly less potent than what the Necromancer would normally get.

The problem is what to do about the general ability Necromancers usually get. The ability to control 2x as many HD of undead is quite powerful, you will want its replacement to be of similar power with out overshadowing the abilities of the other schools.

I don't have a good suggestion for this. The best I can come up with is a limited use of a spectral hand like power. Something like: "Once per day the Necromancer may deliver a touch spell from range as if it were delivered by a Spectral Hand spell. The Necromancer gains an additional use of this ability at level 2 and every 2 levels there after for a total of 11 uses at level 20."


DM_Blake wrote:

As to the thread of the original post, and the topic title, I cannot get my head around that concept. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Here's how I run my cosmology.

Yes, this is long-winded, even for me, but it's a big concept - so I'll put it in a spoiler and therefore only the very brave need venture into this enormous post:

** spoiler omitted **...

Necromancy does a lot more than play with Undead. Only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells are considered to be evil leaving 37 other viable spell choices.

Some of my Favorites:

Spoiler:

Level 0
Disrupt Undead
Touch of Fatigue

Level 1
Ray of Enfeeblement

Level 2
Blindness/Deafness
False Life
Ghoul Touch
Spectral Hand

Level 3
Ray of Exhaustion
Vampiric Touch

Level 4
Bestow Curse
Enervation
Fear

Level 5
Waves of Fatigue

Level 6
Circle of Death
Undeath to Death

Level 7
Finger of Death
Waves of Exhaustion

Level 8
Clone

Level 9
Energy Drain
Wail of the Banshee

The Arcane Necromancer is probably the closest thing to a debuffer that you can play in D&D and if you give up on Undead and Pain effects there is no reason why you couldn't play a Lawful Good Necromancer.


Argothe wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

As to the thread of the original post, and the topic title, I cannot get my head around that concept. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Here's how I run my cosmology.

Yes, this is long-winded, even for me, but it's a big concept - so I'll put it in a spoiler and therefore only the very brave need venture into this enormous post:

** spoiler omitted **...

Necromancy does a lot more than play with Undead. Only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells are considered to be evil leaving 37 other viable spell choices.

Some of my Favorites:
** spoiler omitted **

The Arcane Necromancer is probably the closest thing to a debuffer that you can play in D&D and if you give up on Undead and Pain effects there is no reason why you couldn't play a Lawful Good Necromancer.

Now we're quibbling semantics here.

You can cast those same spells if you're a Universalist, an Evoker, an Illusionist, an Abjurer...

So are we talking about a Necromancer, a master of undead who commands armies of deathless minions to rule the world or are we talking about a mage who casts a few spells that relate to pain, fear, curses, and maybe directly killing things, but never to raising/controlling undead?

Because only one of those is a Necromancer. The other is a wizard with a preference for a group of spells that happened to get stuck in the necromancy school of magic just so that school wouldn't be limited to just a dozen spells.

Me, I'm talking about the first definition of Necromancer.

If you want to discuss the second version, then that's fine. I agree with you 100% - I just don't think that class is a Necromancer.

Sure, it's just semantics. Create a wizard, specialize in the school of necromancy, and suddenly you're a Necromancer, even if you never see, hear, smell, or control any undead in your entire life. But, well, aside from the label the game stuck on you, you're not really a Necromancer in my eyes.


DM_Blake wrote:
Argothe wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

As to the thread of the original post, and the topic title, I cannot get my head around that concept. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Here's how I run my cosmology.

Yes, this is long-winded, even for me, but it's a big concept - so I'll put it in a spoiler and therefore only the very brave need venture into this enormous post:

** spoiler omitted **...

Necromancy does a lot more than play with Undead. Only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells are considered to be evil leaving 37 other viable spell choices.

Some of my Favorites:
** spoiler omitted **

The Arcane Necromancer is probably the closest thing to a debuffer that you can play in D&D and if you give up on Undead and Pain effects there is no reason why you couldn't play a Lawful Good Necromancer.

Now we're quibbling semantics here.

You can cast those same spells if you're a Universalist, an Evoker, an Illusionist, an Abjurer...

So are we talking about a Necromancer, a master of undead who commands armies of deathless minions to rule the world or are we talking about a mage who casts a few spells that relate to pain, fear, curses, and maybe directly killing things, but never to raising/controlling undead?

Because only one of those is a Necromancer. The other is a wizard with a preference for a group of spells that happened to get stuck in the necromancy school of magic just so that school wouldn't be limited to just a dozen spells.

Me, I'm talking about the first definition of Necromancer.

If you want to discuss the second version, then that's fine. I agree with you 100% - I just don't think that class is a Necromancer.

Sure, it's just semantics. Create a wizard, specialize in the school of necromancy, and suddenly you're a Necromancer, even if you never see, hear, smell, or control any undead in your entire life. But, well, aside from the label the game stuck on you, you're not really a Necromancer in my eyes.

Undead aren't the only Necromancer flavor. As many people have pointed out Necromancy is about playing with life forces, there are a lot of non-evil ways to do that.

Are you seriously arguing that Disrupt Undead, Chill Touch, False Life, Ghoul Touch, Spectral Hand, Vampiric Touch, Enervation, Circle of Death, Undeath to Death, Energy Drain and Wale of the Banshee don't have Necromantic flavor? Using your standard a Necromancer wouldn't actually be a Necromancer until level 7 as they are incapable of raising any undead prior to that level (4th level spell).

To me the Necromancy school has a lot of thematically consistent spells that can be used by a "White" caster. The whole intent of the OP was to come up with alternate abilities for the Necromancy school so that it could be played "white" i.e. not rely on undead.


Argothe wrote:

Undead aren't the only Necromancer flavor. As many people have pointed out Necromancy is about playing with life forces, there are a lot of non-evil ways to do that.

Are you seriously arguing that Disrupt Undead, Chill Touch, False Life, Ghoul Touch, Spectral Hand, Vampiric Touch, Enervation, Circle of Death, Undeath to Death, Energy Drain and Wale of the Banshee don't have Necromantic flavor? Using your standard a Necromancer wouldn't actually be a Necromancer until level 7 as they are incapable of raising any undead prior to that level (4th level spell).

To me the Necromancy school has a lot of thematically consistent spells that can be used by a "White" caster. The whole intent of the OP was to come up with alternate abilities for the Necromancy school so that it could be played "white" i.e. not rely on undead.

No, I am not saying any of those spells lack a necromantic flavor. And I am not saying that the only thing a necromancer does is raise undead.

What I am saying is that any mage can cast any of those spells, and people wouldn't run around calling him a necromancer.

If a Universalist, or an Evoker, chose to cast Chill Touch or Circle of Death, etc., nobody, absolutely nobody, would point their finger and call that mage a necromacer.

But if those same mages were to cast Animate Dead, everyone would point their finger and call them a necromancer, even though they didn't specialize in the necromancy school.

So it's semantics.

The necromancy school could have been filled with only the spells that define the necromancer. Animate Dead and other similar spells. If they did that, the school would have, what, 5 spells? 10? It wouldn't even be a useable school.

So the game designers put lots of stuff intot he school. Stuff that any wizard, maybe every wizard, might learn to cast. Certainly there are some spells on the list that even a Lawful Good wizard would prepare.

Learning, preparing, and casting those tame spells doesn't make anyone a necromancer.

Animating undead makes you a necromancer.

Now, the game rules say if you choose to specialize in the necromancy school, you are a necromancer. And it's entirely possible to take that specialty and never animate dead. You know, in your heart, that you're a necromancer because the game rules say you are. But nobody, not even your closest friends and most trusted allies who know all your history and all your secrets would point their finger at you and call you a necromancer - until you start building your army of undead.

Until you do, you're just a wizard with some generic spells. Heck, non-wizards wouldn't even know that Circle of Death or Cause Fear are even in the necromancy shool. Could just be evocation and enchantment for all they know.


DM_Blake wrote:

No, I am not saying any of those spells lack a necromantic flavor. And I am not saying that the only thing a necromancer does is raise undead.

What I am saying is that any mage can cast any of those spells, and people wouldn't run around calling him a necromancer.

If a Universalist, or an Evoker, chose to cast Chill Touch or Circle of Death, etc., nobody, absolutely nobody, would point their finger and call that mage a necromacer.

But if those same mages were to cast Animate Dead, everyone would point their finger and call them a necromancer, even though they didn't specialize in the necromancy school.

So it's semantics.

Your argument is internally self refuting. Is raising the dead the fundamental hallmark of a Necromancer or not? You can't have it both ways.

PfRPG would not support the conclusion that all a Necromancer does is raise dead. The rules define Necromantic magic as follows: "Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force." Any death magic spells or life force manipulating spells are still very Necromantic. Further, magic related to unlife goes beyond raising dead, a Necromancer could instead focus on destroying Undead as they have many tools to help them succeed at that task.

A Necromancer is a Wizard who focuses on magic that manipulates death, unlife and life forces at the cost of being able to cast magic from two other schools. Tossing out an occasional web spell does not make them a Universalist anymore than casting Spectral Hand makes a Universalist a Necromancer.

DM_Blake wrote:
The necromancy school could have been filled with only the spells that define the necromancer. Animate Dead and other similar spells. If they did that, the school would have, what, 5 spells? 10? It wouldn't even be a useable school.

Actually, 3. Only 3 spells out of 42 deal with the raising of dead and you can't cast the first one of those until you are level 7.

DM_Blake wrote:

So the game designers put lots of stuff intot he school. Stuff that any wizard, maybe every wizard, might learn to cast. Certainly there are some spells on the list that even a Lawful Good wizard would prepare.

Learning, preparing, and casting those tame spells doesn't make anyone a necromancer.

Animating undead makes you a necromancer.

Spectral Hand, Ghoul Touch, Vampiric Touch, Enervation, Undeath to Death, Finger of Death, Energy Drain, Wale of the Banshee... all of these are very Necromantic and I wouldn't call any of them tame, yet none of them involves raising the dead. Focusing on these spells at the exclusion of other spells is what makes you a Necromancer.

DM_Blake wrote:

Now, the game rules say if you choose to specialize in the necromancy school, you are a necromancer. And it's entirely possible to take that specialty and never animate dead. You know, in your heart, that you're a necromancer because the game rules say you are. But nobody, not even your closest friends and most trusted allies who know all your history and all your secrets would point their finger at you and call you a necromancer - until you start building your army of undead.

Until you do, you're just a wizard with some generic spells. Heck, non-wizards wouldn't even know that Circle of Death or Cause Fear are even in the necromancy shool. Could just be evocation and enchantment for all they know.

I summon a ghostly hand to do my bidding, I paralyze with my touch and cause the victim to begin to rot to such an extent that their smell sickens all who come near, I drain the life force of enemies and add it to my own, if I point at something it dies, if I speak a few words whole groups of things simply collapse, dead before they hit the ground, no blazing balls of fire, no dramatic special effects, I whisper and things just die... and you don't think I will be thought of as a Necromancer? Really?

Dark Archive

If I wanted to play a 'white necromancer' I'd play a Transmuter and flavor up the special effects.

Animate Rope is already the animation of once-living tissue, and can be 'creepified' by making the rope out of catgut instead of hemp.

Bull's Strength? Vampire's Strength. (+4 Str, recipient turns pale and cool to the touch)

Bear's Endurance? Undying Fortitude. (+4 Con, recipients skin turns leathery and wrinkled, as if he'd been mummified)

Cat's Swiftness? Swiftness of Shadow. (+4 Dex, shadows flutter across users skin and he seems to move in fits and starts, like one of the ghosts from Supernatural)

Enlarge Person? Juggernaut of Flesh. (the muscles bulge unnaturally, with the skin tearing and revealing yet more muscle, causing the recipient to look like some sort of video-game Frankenstein's monster)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Not to derail the topic... but I am going to do just that.

Anyways, I noticed more than a few of you talked about the spells not fitting the schools as well ect. Um so why not just toss all the spells back in a pot and redo the spells. Personally i would love to see that done cause I agree not all the spells currently really fit their schools all that well.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

Not to derail the topic... but I am going to do just that.

Anyways, I noticed more than a few of you talked about the spells not fitting the schools as well ect. Um so why not just toss all the spells back in a pot and redo the spells. Personally i would love to see that done cause I agree not all the spells currently really fit their schools all that well.

The Necromancy spells do fit rather well.

There, thread back on topic.


Argothe wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

No, I am not saying any of those spells lack a necromantic flavor. And I am not saying that the only thing a necromancer does is raise undead.

What I am saying is that any mage can cast any of those spells, and people wouldn't run around calling him a necromancer.

If a Universalist, or an Evoker, chose to cast Chill Touch or Circle of Death, etc., nobody, absolutely nobody, would point their finger and call that mage a necromacer.

But if those same mages were to cast Animate Dead, everyone would point their finger and call them a necromancer, even though they didn't specialize in the necromancy school.

So it's semantics.

Your argument is internally self refuting. Is raising the dead the fundamental hallmark of a Necromancer or not? You can't have it both ways.

Man, you really like to get hung up on semantics. Are you a lawyer by chance?

You'll not that there is a difference between "only thing" and "hallmark". So I didn't try to have it both ways. I clearly said, and thank you for bolding it for me, that necromancers do NOT only raise undead, and then I said that their hallmark ability (your word, and a good one) is raising undead.

Those are not mutually exclusive. It means that when they run around raising undead, they are doing the hallmark thing that necromancers do, but that isn't all they do, and when they do that other stuff it's not the hallmark ability of necromancers. Not mutually exclusive at all.

So let's not get all hung up on the meaning of one word and try to use that to undermine an entire post.

You list a lot of spells. Many of them are icky and necromantic. But none of them define the user as a necromancer. Well, maybe taking life force from someone and making it your own. That one is pretty necromantic.

There are lots and lots and lots of ways to kill your enemies with magic. You can burn them, freeze them, electrocute them, shred them with sonics, blast them with force, dissolve them with acid, summon nasty stuff to eat them, bury them alive, smash them with meteors, cause wounds to appear out of nowhere and spill their blood and guts out of their body. It's all brutal. Just because one mage stops their heart by pointing a finger at them, or speaks a few words and everything in range drops dead instantly, or rots them into putrid goo, doesn't make him any more or less of a necromancer.

Commoner: I just saw a wizard over there speak a few words and several people near him died on the spot.
Farmer: Was it quick? Was it painless?
Commoner: Yeah, they just dropped dead instantly. Is he a necromancer?
Farmer: Nah, no way. Necromancers are mean and wicked. They wouldn't kill anyone painlessly. Did he make those bodies get up and serve him?
Commoner: Well, no.
Farmer: That's nothing then. Last week, I saw a wizard create a cloud of vapors that made everyone cough and choke and die. It looked real painful. Then with a few words he made those corpses get up and follow him down the street. No that guy was a necromancer!

In this little dialogue, the first wizard they discuss might very well be a necromancer, might have specialized in the school of necromancy, but they can't tell. The second wizard might just be a conjuror who cast a Cloudkill and then Animate Dead. Having the spell or casting it doesn't mean he's a necromancer, or thinks of himself as a necromancer, or specilized in the school - this guy specialized in conjuration. But those chatty citizens think he's a necromancer.

Why? Because of Animate Dead.

So yeah, animating undead is the hallmark, earmark, and trademark of the necromancer. But it sure is not the only thing necromancers can do, nor are necromancers the only ones who can do it.

All I am saying here is if you think of yourself as a necromancer, and act like a necromancer in the classical definition, and do stuff that makes everyone else think you're a necromancer, then you're almost certainly playing around with the not-exactly-dead.

If you're not, then it's very likely that the only one who thinks you're a necromancer is you, no matter what the game mechanics might label you for specializing in the school of necromancy.

Liberty's Edge

Okay, I have to bring it up again...

Somebody said that they don't understand why Cure spells aren't necromancy school spells. Seriously? :p They call powers from another dimension, which is the hallmark of conjuration spells.

I don't understand why Inflict spells are necromancy at all, they also call on power from elsewhere. That sounds like conjuration to me.

I do agree, however, that both groups of spells should probably be cleaned up and at least put into one group or the other. As it stands they are too similar for me to buy that they're from different scholls.


DM_Blake wrote:
Argothe wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

No, I am not saying any of those spells lack a necromantic flavor. And I am not saying that the only thing a necromancer does is raise undead.

What I am saying is that any mage can cast any of those spells, and people wouldn't run around calling him a necromancer.

If a Universalist, or an Evoker, chose to cast Chill Touch or Circle of Death, etc., nobody, absolutely nobody, would point their finger and call that mage a necromacer.

But if those same mages were to cast Animate Dead, everyone would point their finger and call them a necromancer, even though they didn't specialize in the necromancy school.

So it's semantics.

Your argument is internally self refuting. Is raising the dead the fundamental hallmark of a Necromancer or not? You can't have it both ways.

Man, you really like to get hung up on semantics. Are you a lawyer by chance?

You'll not that there is a difference between "only thing" and "hallmark". So I didn't try to have it both ways. I clearly said, and thank you for bolding it for me, that necromancers do NOT only raise undead, and then I said that their hallmark ability (your word, and a good one) is raising undead.

Those are not mutually exclusive. It means that when they run around raising undead, they are doing the hallmark thing that necromancers do, but that isn't all they do, and when they do that other stuff it's not the hallmark ability of necromancers. Not mutually exclusive at all.

So let's not get all hung up on the meaning of one word and try to use that to undermine an entire post.

You list a lot of spells. Many of them are icky and necromantic. But none of them define the user as a necromancer. Well, maybe taking life force from someone and making it your own. That one is pretty necromantic.

There are lots and lots and lots of ways to kill your enemies with magic. You can burn them, freeze them, electrocute them, shred them with sonics, blast them with force, dissolve them with acid,...

1) Why are you using the Commoner standard? Why would anyone on these boards base their understanding of what Necromancy is on the hypothetical opinion of a commoner? Why would a commoner even know the difference between a Necromancer and any other type of Wizard? We call it Arcane magic because it is not knowable to the average commoner.

Spoiler:

ar-cane [ahr-keyn]
-adjective
known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric

2) The rules define Necromancy as magic that manipulates death, unlife and life-forces. Animated Dead only represents a subsection of a subsection of Necromantic magic - ie there are lots of things you can do with unlife other than raise dead. Raising the dead only accounts for 7% of the Necromancer's spell list; there are more spells related to destroying or controlling undead than there are spells that create undead. There are significantly more spells that deal with death or life-forces and having nothing to do with unlife whatsoever.

3) Why is Raising the dead the only thing that can be accounted for when determining if a character should be considered a Necromancer? If I devote myself to the study of death magic, life-force manipulation and the ability to destroy undead at the cost of not being able to cast Evocation or Enchantment spells of any kind why am I not a Necromancer? What am I if not a Necromancer? How are Enervate or Energy Drain anything other than Necromancy? How about False Life or Vampiric Touch?

4) Why do you presume all Necromancy must be evil? Animate Dead is evil, but lots of other things that fall inside the bounds of death, unlife and life-force manipulation are not evil. Why is your focus so narrow and prejudiced? Are you role playing as a Paladin?

Dark Archive

Dark_Mistress wrote:
Anyways, I noticed more than a few of you talked about the spells not fitting the schools as well ect. Um so why not just toss all the spells back in a pot and redo the spells. Personally i would love to see that done cause I agree not all the spells currently really fit their schools all that well.

Ditching the illusion and necromancy schools, and parceling out their spells to enchantment (fear, hypnotism), evocation (light, darkness, sonics, visual/audio illusions, negative energy blasts), conjuration (summon undead or shadow forces) or transmutation (ray of enfeeblement, etc) would be the best way to go, while retaining some of the old-school feel. There would be six schools, instead of eight, and specialties like 'illusionist' and 'necromancer' would speak instead of generalists who adopt the relevant theme.

Heck, I'd turn Cure X Wounds (and Inflict X Wounds) into Transmutation effects and ditch the entire 'positive energy plane / negative energy plane' nonsense as well.

Anything beyond that runs the risk of taking too much of the D&D flavor out of it, IMO. An example of 'too far' would be revamping the magic system to have more of a 'noun / verb' structure, like Ars Magica (or, vaguely, the original Mage the Ascension). Neat idea, but not D&D.

Contributor

Studpuffin wrote:
Somebody said that they don't understand why Cure spells aren't necromancy school spells. Seriously? :p They call powers from another dimension, which is the hallmark of conjuration spells.

I liked them better as necromancy spells, just because the use of positive energy sets them distinctly apart from the rest of the conjuration bunch. And those particular energies are linked to life, again unlike anything else in the conjuration school. I never understood the rationale (if one was ever given) for removing them from necromancy in 3.5.


Argothe wrote:
1) Why are you using the Commoner standard? Why would anyone on these boards base their understanding of what Necromancy is on the hypothetical opinion of a commoner? Why would a commoner even know the difference between a Necromancer and any other type of Wizard? We call it Arcane magic because it is not knowable to the average commoner.

There you go again. I'm sure you must be a lawyer.

I suppose my entire post loses validity because a few lines of that post contain the word "commoner"? This is your leading argument, counselor?

Argothe wrote:
2) The rules define Necromancy as magic that manipulates death, unlife and life-forces. Animated Dead only represents a subsection of a subsection of Necromantic magic - ie there are lots of things you can do with unlife other than raise dead. Raising the dead only accounts for 7% of the Necromancer's spell list; there are more spells related to destroying or controlling undead than there are spells that create undead.

I've already agreed with you on this point. The rules do clearly define the necromancy shool, and the rules do clearly give that school a lot more to do than just animating dead.

And I agree that these rules are valid and good. Necromancers should have more to do than playing checkers with zombies.

Argothe wrote:
3) Why is Raising the dead the only thing that can be accounted for when determining if a character should be considered a Necromancer? If I devote myself to the study of death magic, life-force manipulation and the ability to destroy undead at the cost of not being able to cast Evocation or Enchantment spells of any kind why am I not a Necromancer?

Oh yes, you would be a necromancer. By the game's definition.

But if you were standing side by side with an Illusionist who also prepared and used the same spells you have listed in this thread, and neither of you animated any undead, then nobody, not even other wizards, could tell which one of you is a necromancer.

The most that could be said of both of you is that you both seem to have a fondness for necromancy magic. Sure, deep down inside, you know you're a necromancer because the rules say so. But that is the only distinction that makes you a necromancer.

Argothe wrote:
What am I if not a Necromancer?

I dunno, maybe a universalist who likes necromancy magic and doesn't like evocation or enchantment - you didn't specify that you truly do specialize in the necromancy school, so I cannot even definitively say that the game rules would label you a necromancer if you really are just a universalist with preferences.

Argothe wrote:
How are Enervate or Energy Drain anything other than Necromancy? How about False Life or Vampiric Touch?

Totally necromancy. Absolutely. Never doubted it or argued against it.

And yet, every kind of wizard from universalist to necromancer to non-specialist to sorcerer can cast these spells, and while everyone would oooh and ahhh and say "that guy uses necromancy magic, maybe he's a necromancer", really, only the guy who IS a necromancer is a necromancer when he uses these spells. The rest of the guys using these spells are universalists, abjurers, conjurors, diviners, enchanters, evokers, illusionists, or transmuters who happen to cast those spells.

Argothe wrote:
4) Why do you presume all Necromancy must be evil?

I don't. I've never said that. I have said animating dead is evil.

Argothe wrote:
Animate Dead is evil,

So we agree on this point? Great! Now, if I were you, I would harp on this one point and turn it into the reason why everything else you've said here is wrong - but that's not my tactic.

Argothe wrote:

but lots of other things that fall inside the bounds of death, unlife and life-force manipulation are not evil. Why is your focus so narrow and so prejudiced? Are you role playing as a Paladin?

Nope.

This whole silly debate between us started when all I did was ask if we are talking about "Necromancers" with a big "N", the kind of guys who make undead do their bidding, or "necromancers" with the little "n", the kind of guys who don't make undead do their bidding but do use necromancy magic and/or call themselves necromancers.

I believe the big "N" Necromancers are irredeemably evil. I believe the little "n" necromancers can do what they want and can be of any alignment, and their actions will decide, just like an evoker's (etc.) actions would decide whether he is good or evil.

That's all I was saying, and then you had to lay into me with this big circular argument, putting words into my mouth that I didn't say and quibbling over semantics. Quite silly of you actually.

I hope I've cleared this up for you, councelor.

Liberty's Edge

Todd Stewart wrote:
I liked them better as necromancy spells, just because the use of positive energy sets them distinctly apart from the rest of the conjuration bunch. And those particular energies are linked to life, again unlike anything else in the conjuration school. I never understood the rationale (if one was ever given) for removing them from necromancy in 3.5.

I think because they do a little bit more than just restore life points. A cure spell is also sealing wounds, repairing flesh, doing things to the physical body instead of to the spirit (which seems to be one of the key aspects of necromancy). Does it really matter that the energy type is different, would it be an evocation spell if it utilized fire to heal an elemental?


Studpuffin wrote:

Okay, I have to bring it up again...

Somebody said that they don't understand why Cure spells aren't necromancy school spells. Seriously? :p They call powers from another dimension, which is the hallmark of conjuration spells.

I don't understand why Inflict spells are necromancy at all, they also call on power from elsewhere. That sounds like conjuration to me.

I do agree, however, that both groups of spells should probably be cleaned up and at least put into one group or the other. As it stands they are too similar for me to buy that they're from different scholls.

Originally Necromancy covered all means of straight making living stuff dead, and making dead stuff living.

Since originally the Cure spells brought dead stuff back to life, they were squarely necromancy, while the Inflict spells made life stuff dead, also necromancy.

In 3.5 healing actually got fluffed out to "summon positive energy that heals" instead of "bring dead stuff back to life" (Dead being injured/dying cells, missing bits being grown back et al), which changed it from necromancy to summoning (in an odd way) which of course changed it to conjuration. However the Inflict spells stayed "make live stuff dead" instead of being changed to "summon negative energy to damage living stuff". Alternately Inflict spells had their fluff changed, but summoning negative energy is considered a specialized summons covered by necromancy instead of by conjuration (much like fireball summons fire but is a special form of summons covered by evocation).

Liberty's Edge

Abraham spalding wrote:


Because originally the Cure spells brought dead stuff back to life. Which of course is squarely necromancy, while the Inflict spells made life stuff dead, also necromancy.

In 3.5 healing actually got fluffed out to "summon positive energy that heals" instead of "bring dead stuff back to life" (Dead being injured/dying cells, missing bits being grown back et al), which changed it from necromancy to summoning (in an odd way) which of course changed it to conjuration. However the Inflict spells stayed "make live stuff dead" instead of being changed to "summon negative energy to damage living stuff". Alternately Inflict spells had their fluff changed, but summoning negative energy is considered a specialized summons covered by necromancy instead of by conjuration (much like fireball summons fire but is a special form of summons covered by evocation).

But you cannot cure someone who is dead, nor can you inflict upon the dead. It only works on the living and undead, which are two very different things from the dead. Manipulation of life energy doesn't just fall under Necromancy squarely anymore. Abjuration, Transmutation, Conjuration, and Necromancy spells all do this to some extent. They just do it in very different ways.

Inflict and Cures just do it in a way that calls on energy from other planes of existence which is why I think they should be conjuration spells and not necromancy. I even go so far as to say that I think inflict spells should now be conjuration spells. I totally agree they should be lumped together, I just think that school should be conjuration and not necromancy.

Especially with the integrated rules for positive and negative energy coming down the line. I wouldn't mind seeing some of the spells lumped together for convenience sake, let alone consistencies sake.


DM_Blake wrote:
Circles and Lawyers and Illusionists... oh my.

The argument begins here:

DM_Blake wrote:

There isn't much left for "white" necromancers to do. Speak With Dead, a few damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death (though using necromancy to kill people may be difficult to justify as "white" - but then so is killing people with a sword).

Not much call, as I see it, for white necromancy.

Obviously, other DMs with other cosmological views would see things differently.

Your reasoning for that position was hidden beyond a long spoiler which essentially argued that raising the dead was evil.

This is where our disagreement begins. As I posted:

Argothe wrote:
Necromancy does a lot more than play with Undead. Only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells are considered to be evil leaving 37 other viable spell choices.

Your belief that there is no room for White Necromancy because all they would be able to do is "Speak With Dead, a few damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death" is just wrong. There are many many things that a Necromancer can do using Necromantic magic that are not evil; meaning they could be employed by a White Necromancer.

You contradicted yourself again when in response to my question as to why you think all Necromancy is evil you posted:

DM_Blake wrote:
I don't. I've never said that. I have said animating dead is evil.

If you agree that there are non-evil options for a necromancer how does it make any sense at all to say there is no room for White Necromancy other than Speak With Dead or Damage Spells?

DM_Blake wrote:
I suppose my entire post loses validity because a few lines of that post contain the word "commoner"?

Your whole argument doesn't lose validity, your example citing the dialog between a farmer and a commoner, which you use to support your point of view, does fall apart due to its own absurdity. You might note I also addressed the remainder of your post with additional points.

DM_Blake wrote:

Oh yes, you would be a necromancer. By the game's definition.

But if you were standing side by side with an Illusionist who also prepared and used the same spells you have listed in this thread, and neither of you animated any undead, then nobody, not even other wizards, could tell which one of you is a necromancer.

The most that could be said of both of you is that you both seem to have a fondness for necromancy magic. Sure, deep down inside, you know you're a necromancer because the rules say so. But that is the only distinction that makes you a necromancer.

In the interests of giving your merry-go-round here one more spin... if the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Animate Dead, how do you know which is which? If the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Major Image how do you know which is which? This is an infinitely looping non-argument that doesn't demonstrate anything.

It is not the spells you cast, how you feel inside or what the common person understands that makes you a specialist Wizard of any stripe. It is the dedication to a specific school of magic, at the exclusion of two other schools, in exchange for bonus spells and other related abilities that makes a Wizard a Necromancer or an Illusionist or a Diviner etc.

If you have given up on two types of magic in order to focus on magic that deals with death, unlife and life-forces you are, drum roll please, a Necromancer; regardless of whether or not you learn or cast any particular spell(s) that many seem Iconic to the commoner who just can't seem to get over the whole raising dead bodies thing.

The idea that a Necromancer must "command armies of deathless minions" in order to be considered a Necromancer is an artificial construct of your own creation that isn't founded in the rules, in flavor or in common understanding of the term. It is literally something you just made up. You completely discount the 88% of the Necromancer spell list that is non-evil in favor of the 7% that deals with raising dead for absolutely no discernible or logical reason.

A White Necromancer who doesn't cast Animate Dead, Create Undead or Create Greater Undead may not be optimal, but is certainly feasible and faithful to the flavor of the school. When you have a DM, such as the OP, who wants to balance the abilities granted by the school to allow their player to be a White Necromancer, even better.


Studpuffin wrote:
Stuff

I agree that is what it does now . However I'm saying where it came from.

And yes you can "Cure" death. It's called resurrection, or in 1st and 2nd edition any damage was a "small death" so was cured with cure light wounds.

Now I'm not saying that you are wrong about where it is currently, or where it maybe headed, I'm just saying where it came from, and why people would like it to return there.

Positive and Negative energy as usable parts of the player's game is something new. Originally Turn Undead worked by Divine Power (God says so) were as healing and inflicting death were (divine) but part of the study of life (and death) and the means around both (undeath for example) which was all covered by necromancy.

In 3.x we have moved beyond that however, placing the healing of wounds and the turning of undead into the providence of Positive Energy while the inflicting of wounds and the bolstering (and making of) undead are generally covered by Negative energy.

The issue in 3.x becomes, if all these spells go into conjuration because they deal with summoning energy from specific places, then what do we need necromancy for? Almost everything necromancy does is through the manipulation of negative energy, or can quite easily be squared away in another school (speak with dead goes quite nicely into Divination for example while Fear can go right back into Enchantment).


Argothe wrote:

The argument begins here:

DM_Blake wrote:

There isn't much left for "white" necromancers to do. Speak With Dead, a few damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death (though using necromancy to kill people may be difficult to justify as "white" - but then so is killing people with a sword).

Not much call, as I see it, for white necromancy.

Obviously, other DMs with other cosmological views would see things differently.

Your reasoning for that position was hidden beyond a long spoiler which essentially argued that raising the dead was evil.

This is where our disagreement begins. As I posted:

Argothe wrote:
Necromancy does a lot more than play with Undead. Only 5 Arcane Necromancy spells are considered to be evil leaving 37 other viable spell choices.

Your belief that there is no room for White Necromancy because all they would be able to do is "Speak With Dead, a few damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death" is just wrong. There are many many things that a Necromancer can do using Necromantic magic that are not evil; meaning they could be employed by a White Necromancer.

You contradicted yourself again when in response to my question as to why you think all Necromancy is evil you posted:

DM_Blake wrote:
I don't. I've never said that. I have said animating dead is evil.
If you agree that there are non-evil options for a necromancer how does it make any sense at all to say there is no room for White Necromancy other than Speak With Dead or Damage Spells?

You're correct, councelor, I did say those exact words. When I said "a few" I hadn't really counted them. You, however, did. I'll take you at your word for it that there are 36 other spells in addition to the undead stuff and Speak With Dead.

To me, 36 spells out of a book that has, what, 500 spells? More? 36 spells is a few. Obviously you feel otherwise.

Once again we're quibbling about semantics, and I'm going to give you this one. I never should have said "a few". Most people would say, and so would I, that 36 is way more than "a few". I was careless, mostly because I didn't realise that my simple statement would end up with me on the witness stand defending my testimony against your expert cross-examination.

If it's not too late, counselor, this witness would like to amend his original testimony as follows: "There isn't much left for "white" necromancers to do. Speak With Dead, 36 other spells, some of them damaging spells like Chill Touch or Finger of Death, some of them not damaging like Cause Fear and False Life".

(I'm surprised that the expert counsel here didn't also drag this witness through the mud for saying "damaging spells" when clearly many are not - quite the slip up for the prosecution. I hope my amendment sufficently shields me against that future cross-examinatin too).

Argothe wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

Oh yes, you would be a necromancer. By the game's definition.

But if you were standing side by side with an Illusionist who also prepared and used the same spells you have listed in this thread, and neither of you animated any undead, then nobody, not even other wizards, could tell which one of you is a necromancer.

The most that could be said of both of you is that you both seem to have a fondness for necromancy magic. Sure, deep down inside, you know you're a necromancer because the rules say so. But that is the only distinction that makes you a necromancer.

In the interests of giving your merry-go-round here one more spin... if the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Animate Dead, how do you know which is which? If the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Major Image how do you know which is which? This is an infinitely looping non-argument that doesn't demonstrate anything.

It demonstrates everything that I am saying: who is and who is not a Necromancer (big "N") is in the actions that he takes, not in the school he studies or in which he specializes.

Again, I know the rules say "if you specialize in the school of necromancy you are a necromancer". Fine. That's the rules. I never argued that point.

The original discussion was whether or not a person could practice necromancy without being evil. I asked one simple little question which amounted to "well, are you doing the really bad Necromancy stuff (big "N") or the not-bad other necromancy (little "n") stuff?".

And now here we are quibbling over semantics like the world is going to end on this very point.

I know necromancers can cast stuff that isn't evil. Never said otherwise.
I know necromancers can even cast fireballs and teleports and wish spells if they want to.
I know other classes can animate dead without being necromancers.

I know all this, and so do you.

My only statement was to the point that, when talking about the behavior of necromancers and the implications to their alignment, we must clarify whether they are doing the ultimately evil stuff or not.

That's it. That's all.

So why the cross-examination, counselor?

Argothe wrote:
In the interests of giving your merry-go-round here one more spin... if the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Animate Dead, how do you know which is which? If the Illusionist and the Necromancer both cast Major Image how do you know which is which? This is an infinitely looping non-argument that doesn't demonstrate anything.
It is not the spells you cast, how you feel inside or what the common person understands that makes you a specialist Wizard of any stripe. It is the dedication to a specific school of magic, at the exclusion of two other schools, in exchange for bonus spells and other related abilities that makes a Wizard a Necromancer or an Illusionist or a Diviner etc.

Certainly.

But the shingle you hang on your door, or the title you give yourself "Hey, everyone, I'm a Necromancer!" doesn't answer the original poster's question as to whether practicing necromancy is evil or not.

Surely practicing False Life and Gentle Repose won't make you evil. But surely hauling someone's soul back from their happy-ever-after in their afterlife and animating their corpse and bending it to your bidding is evil.

I was just trying to clarify what kind of N/necromancy we're talking about here, and you're trying to pound it into my head that there are two kinds of N/necromancy and N/necromancers can make choices to act for good or for evil.

Fine!

You've made your point. Strange thing is, I was already there before you began pounding.

Argothe wrote:
If you have given up on two types of magic in order to focus on magic that deals with death, unlife and life-forces you are, drum roll please, a Necromancer; regardless of whether or not you learn or cast any particular spell(s) that many seem Iconic to the commoner who just can't seem to get over the whole raising dead bodies thing.

And now you're back to the game terminology. I have agreed with this point over and over and over - why do you keep pretending I haven't?

And if you're a "white" necromancer, surely you don't go around animating dead. Which doesn't leave much for you to do. Speak with dead and 36 other spells (if you counted right). I stand by that original statement, with your well-justified amendment.

But if you're a "black" Necromancer, now you have armies of undead to force your bidding, and you can still do all the stuff your pansy "white" counterparts can do. It's still not much. What, 42 spells if I recall your numbers correctly.

Both kinds of N/necromancers will surely be borrowing from Conjuration, Evocation, or whatever, to pad their spellbooks.

Back to the OP, answering the question of "is necromancy evil" really requires us to examine what kind of N/necromancy the person in question is practicing.

Argothe wrote:
The idea that a Necromancer must "command armies of deathless minions" in order to be considered a Necromancer is an artificial construct of your own creation that isn't founded in the rules, in flavor or in common understanding of the term. It is literally something you just made up. You completely discount the 88% of the Necromancer spell list that is non-evil in favor of the 7% that deals with raising dead for absolutely no discernible or logical reason.

Oooh, better put your percentages into a pie chart, counselor; they are much more easily understood by the jury when you make them visually representative.

The idea that we cannot just answer the question about whether necromancy is evil or not without defining which parts of the tools available to the necromancers are evil, and which uses of those tools.

And once we have those definitions, then we need to ask how the specific necromancer in question is using those tools.

Then we can answer whether that necromancer is evil or not.

So why when someone tries to engender this clarification do you feel the need to get all argumentative about it?

Argothe wrote:
A White Necromancer who doesn't cast Animate Dead, Create Undead or Create Greater Undead may not be optimal, but is certainly feasible and faithful to the flavor of the school. When you have a DM, such as the OP, who wants to balance the abilities granted by the school to allow their player to be a White Necromancer, even better.

And that necromancer is not intrinsically evil, though he might certainly still use his remaining spells for evil purposes.

My contention is, why be a NECROMANCER when you deliberately avoid the portion of the hallmark necromantic powers that

a. give the class its flavor
b. give the class most of its power
c. generally define what everyone believes to be the core of the class?

Why not just be a universalist and play with some spells from the necromancy school?

Yes, you can do everything you've said. You can be a necromancer and never cast any evil spells or do any evil deeds.

Likewise, you can be a fighter and never hit any enemies with any weapons. You can be a bard and never perform any kind of bardic performance. You can be a barbarian and wear tuxedos and sing ballads and never ever rage or commit uncivilized acts.

You can do all that.

But why?

The whole point of N/necromancy is undead. The rest of it is fringe benefits so the school won't have just 5 spells. Or 10. Or 15.

Without the undead element, there isn't much for necromancers to do.

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