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View Full Version : [AD&D] Necromancy for the Non-Cleric...tips and ideas?



Maho-Tsukai
2011-02-14, 09:38 AM
As a gift to my girlfriend for Valentine's day I have decided to play a game of AD&D rather then 3.5e(AD&D was her edition of choice and she only leaned 3.5e after she met and fell in love with me.) and I have decided to play a Necromancer using the Undead Master kit from the Complete Necromancer's Handbook. I have played a little bit of AD&D before(using a Cleric) I know that there are MANY spells and sourcebooks for the game and thus I am asking for all of you old schoolers to point out some of the better Necromancy spells from the various sourcebook and also give me some general tips on Necromancy for AD&D wizards/mages.(I have heard that Necromancy Wizards where actually good in AD&D and despite getting animate dead later then a cleric could still match the cleric in legion size due to a lack of things like desecrate, the deathbound domain and the fact that the kit I am using can give them "rebuke.")

Matthew
2011-02-14, 11:31 AM
What level are the characters?

hamlet
2011-02-14, 12:19 PM
Awwwww, love among the dice . . .


Wait a minute, I think I hate you now.


Anyway, necromancers . . .

Yes, wizard necromancers are quite decent in AD&D, though again, the undead creation and summoning not so much. But with the blasphemous experiments and unholy stitching of two creatures together to make your own . . . yeah.

There is a spell, somewhere, within the AD&D canon (I've forgotten where) that permits you to create undead other than skeletons and zombies. Either find it, or research it. Shadows, ghouls, wights, etc. You want these things under your command. Also, the humble Animate Dead spell is not limited to creating 1-2 HD creatures. Pull a Dresden and animate the biggest thing you can. A 13HD dead T-Rex can be animated as a 13HD skeleton or zombie (assuming you're high enough level). You should be doing things like this.

Other things to consider: there are a pair of spells (fairly high level, but still) that permit you to magically alter a creature's genetic profile to include a power you want it to have, and then make that trait breed true though subsequent generations. Create your own, unholy spawn of evil this way since it is a necromantic spell.

Wizards are, frankly, a little better at necromancy as long as you don't limit yourself to undead mastry. You should look into those things. If all you really want out of it, though, is zombie hordes, then consider the priest. Or, more evil yet, a multi-class necro/priest. Slow advancement, but "phenomenal cosmic power!"

Haven't looked at book of necros in a while, though. Think I'll have something to do, now, on my lunchbreak.

Maho-Tsukai
2011-02-14, 12:47 PM
I actually considered Necro/Priest as a multiclass, especially since my girlfriend houserules away the silly rules regarding racial level caps and racial multiclass restrictions so I could easily go with a mage(Necro)/Priest multiclass and then see if I can, despite being multiclass, take the archetypal necromancer kit on the necro side. The advancement IS slower but it matters not because everybody in the party will be multiclassed as well.

Grelna the Blue
2011-02-14, 01:13 PM
There were so many good spells in Necromancy. 3.0 and 3.5 have not even come close to matching the variety and number of spells the old game had. They had lots of different flavors of necromantic spells: divinatory (speaking with spirits), healing, harming, undeath, blood magic (sadly neglected nowadays), decay... [Edit: So many types I inexplicably forgot bone magic.]

I'll list a few of the the ones I liked. It's been a while, so I know I'm probably forgetting some of the best ones:

1st level: Undead Mount
2nd level: Choke and Rain of Blood were lots of fun. Damage Mirror was possibly more generally useful.
3rd level: Vampiric Touch, Spectral Wings
4th level: Enervation
5th level: Blood Lightning, Magic Jar
6th level: Death Spell
7th level: Nerve Dance was flavorful, but Bloodstone's Frightful Joining was more generally useful (even more so for GM villains) and Lifeproof was THE best 7th level spell ever.
8th level: Energy Drain, Life Force Transfer
9th level: Conflagration (very good caster-killer), Life Water, Wail of the Banshee

hamlet
2011-02-14, 02:36 PM
Oh yeah, Choke was a phenomenal spell. Probably should have been a higher level given its capabilities.

We used to call it "the caster killer" spell.

WinWin
2011-02-14, 03:45 PM
Spells and Power had a good number of necromantic spells.

A half-elf mage/cleric might make a good combination, but don't ignore druid/mage. Zombies are bio-degradable, after all.

Mark Hall
2011-02-14, 04:32 PM
Spectral Hand is a good one. Touch attacks at a range.

hamlet
2011-02-14, 04:44 PM
Spells and Power had a good number of necromantic spells.

A half-elf mage/cleric might make a good combination, but don't ignore druid/mage. Zombies are bio-degradable, after all.

Druids are rather . . . intolerant of necromancy. Violently so.

Zombimode
2011-02-14, 05:14 PM
There were so many good spells in Necromancy. 3.0 and 3.5 have not even come close to matching the variety and number of spells the old game had. They had lots of different flavors of necromantic spells: divinatory (speaking with spirits), healing, harming, undeath, blood magic (sadly neglected nowadays), decay... [Edit: So many types I inexplicably forgot bone magic.]

I'll list a few of the the ones I liked. It's been a while, so I know I'm probably forgetting some of the best ones:

1st level: Undead Mount
2nd level: Choke and Rain of Blood were lots of fun. Damage Mirror was possibly more generally useful.
3rd level: Vampiric Touch, Spectral Wings
4th level: Enervation
5th level: Blood Lightning, Magic Jar
6th level: Death Spell
7th level: Nerve Dance was flavorful, but Bloodstone's Frightful Joining was more generally useful (even more so for GM villains) and Lifeproof was THE best 7th level spell ever.
8th level: Energy Drain, Life Force Transfer
9th level: Conflagration (very good caster-killer), Life Water, Wail of the Banshee

But selection, but you missed the phenomenal ADHW at 8th level. It was probably the most powerful area damage spell in the whole edition.

Grelna the Blue
2011-02-14, 05:32 PM
But selection, but you missed the phenomenal ADHW at 8th level. It was probably the most powerful area damage spell in the whole edition.

[smacks forehead] Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting...right, of course.

I never actually had a character who had access to that spell, but yes, that was definitely a keeper.

WinWin
2011-02-14, 05:45 PM
Druids are rather . . . intolerant of necromancy. Violently so.

That's just silly. Have you seen their spell list? Plus they can charm Yellow Musk Creepers, which is always a fun method of enemy disposal.

edit: To clarify, they have a number of spells focussed on corruption, rot, disease and poison. In addition to necromancy from mage, you could create a flavourful character.

If you just want minions...fighter grants a number of followers at 9th. Summoning spells are fairly effective, especially if you can Bind a monster capable of using Gate to bring in more followers (A Hezrou can for example call in a number of Dretch and Barl'Gura, the Barl'Gura can call in more of their kind ad nauseum). Illusions can also be effective in this regard. Simulacrum is expensive, but has no limits otherwise.

Maho-Tsukai
2011-02-14, 07:46 PM
Ehh...summoning is not quite good enough for me "minions" wise. While I know most people prefer having a small squad of really powerful minions I like having the large army of disposable mooks and summoning provides the small squad of really strong guys, not the massive horde of disposable undead minions I am seeking. Animate dead can create the latter. However, I don't want JUST the mooks. Rather I want the large army + actual spellcasting power of my own and would rather not play a pure cleric this time. So if a Necromancer, even with the Undead Master kit(who gets a cleric's control undead power) cannot make an army as big as a cleric then since I prefer size over strength and want lots and lots of undead + Strong spells of the necromantic variety would the mage/priest be better then a pure mage for this character?(Note that racial multiclass restrictions, racial level restrictions and human's 3.5e-esc multiclassing have all been houseruled away and any two classes can be combined into a multiclass and any multiclass option is avalible to any race.)

hamlet
2011-02-15, 08:19 AM
Corruption and rot are not necromantic. They are a function of nature.

Undead are unnatural reanimated corpses, violations of Nature's Order.

WinWin
2011-02-15, 08:26 AM
necromancy != undead

It a squares and rectangles thang. Your view may vary.

Undead are rather poor minions in AD&D. Sure you can have numbers, but shouting orders to unintelligent followers while casting spells might be a little tricky.

Chain gating demons grants a rather large, if uncontrollable, intelligent force.

One trick with the undead may be to create a simulactum 'lieutenant' to boss them around for you.

Maho-Tsukai
2011-02-15, 09:00 AM
I decided on the mage/priest combination and started playing last night. Pretty fun, I must say and different from 3.5e for sure. Overall the mage/priest combination works out quite well for what I am looking for(Including looks wise since multiclassed characters by our rules get the worse armor of the their two classes(Robes for me, in this case) and thus I could still walk around in the black cloak wardrobe.) with all their fun heal/harm type spells + Mage spells. Oh, and the spells per-day I had was monstrous. It was kinda like playing a mystic theurge who's actually effective, Has "rebuking" that was actually powerful, dose not have to worry about MAD making their DCs crappy and dose not cry over lost caster levels.

Matthew
2011-02-16, 10:18 AM
Good stuff. Glad you are enjoying it!

Maho-Tsukai
2011-02-16, 12:50 PM
Yeah, I also got my hands on the wizard's spell compendiums and two pdfs called the "Great Net Spellbook" and the "Great Net Prayer Book" both of which offer lots of mage and priest spells, some of which are very "adult." (All I need to say is that some of the spells, especially in the mage one, would be fine additions to a AD&D "Book of Erotic Fantasy" XD)

However, the fun part was all the necromancy spells. There was a 3rd level undead animation spell for mages, among other things, as well as higher level animation spells and I MAY even try a pure mage using some of these spells one day. The Undead Master kit mage will LOVE the level 3 animation spell so he can make minions earlier and will also like all the Necromancy spells that focusing on getting info from spirits/the dead since he loses major divination and some of these can fill in the gaps.


Mage/Priest is still a fun combination, though...and the slower level up speed dose not really matter all that much for what I get in return...Also...the RP is a lot of fun in AD&D. Since you don't have skills and such I've been able to make my character quite manipulative without having to do anything mechanically beyond have a decent cha score in addition to int and wisdom. So it's been quite enjoyable...Oh, and my character's deity happens to be a character from freeform RPs(In which some characters actually are strong enough to be deities by D&D standards.) between my girlfriend and I so that makes things even better.

Diarmuid
2011-02-16, 01:56 PM
Word of advice...run any spells you pull out of the "Great Net..." books by your DM before using them. Many are ridiculously overpowered and/or severely underleveled as it's completely homebrewed.

Cherry-picking from those books can make a caster nigh omnipotent.

Quick note, taking the armor restrictions of your worst class is the intended way to work that system just like it is in 3.5. Cleric/Wizard cant wear armor, and Druid/Fighter couldnt wear metal armor, use a weapon outside the druid list, etc.