View Full Version : Evan Zul, Necromancer (3.5)

2008-06-18, 10:52 PM
Evan Zul was the middle son of a family of highly regarded cryptkeepers/morticians in a small town, and despite their morbid profession, the Zul family was happy. Their youngest son displayed an interest in swordsmanship, and so was sent to the family's uncle to train. The oldest son was a incredibly talented student at a wizards academy. The only daughter, old as the oldest brother was training to become a cleric.

Evan Zul, the middle son, was taught by his parents in the family trade, the keeping of the dead. He learned all his parents could teach him quickly, and became interested in wizardry, which excited his parents.

Life was good for the Zuls. Evan was also quite charismatic, using his then kind and thoughtful personality to get customers to have the most expensive, but best care for the dearly departed. At a young age, Evan Zul made his family rich, and the friends of everyone in town.

That is, until the bandits came to his family's town. A huge number of them came, swarming the town, far too many for the town guard to handle. Men, women and children were being put to the sword when Evan Zul stepped in.

Evan revealed that what the townspeople thought he was studying was wizardry, but in particular, necromancy. Using immense effort, he ordered the dead, bandit and townsperson alike, to rise once more in defense of the town.

Evan's undead soldiers drove back the bandits, and Evan himself personally killed the bandit leader with the Zul family's ancestral morningstar.

However, the surviving townspeople were both terrified of the undead, and despised them, and quickly formed into a mob intent on killing Evan as well. Evan ran to his family's home, where his parents were, scared out of his mind, and begged them to protect him, and told them what had happened.

His parent's agreed to protect him, not judging him by his means of protecting the town, but by the fact that he did protect the town. The townspeople quickly reached the house, and killed his parents for harboring a hated necromancer, as well as burning down the house.

Evan ran once more, away from the town forever, bearing immense guilt for the death of his parents, and still clutching his family's morningstar. The townspeople's lust for a necromancer's blood would cease soon, he knew, but Evan knew he would never be welcomed there again, and that he would be a fugitive, and thus swore an oath in a nearby forest. He swore that he would see necromancy not hated and despised, but treated as just any other type of magic, so that no-one would have to go what he went through.

Evan Zul then thought of a plan. Why not disguise himself as a traveling priest, and help towns near and far, only using a little necromancy, and disguising it as clerical magic? And thus, Evan has become an adventurer. Little does he know, that there is a bounty out for his head.

What do you think? Could I make it better, and how?

2008-06-19, 01:03 AM
So basicaly he's a non-Evil necromancer trying to redeem his profession after the murder of his parents. He sounds pretty good. Besides, I like non-Evil necromancers. They make a lot more sense then non-Evil enchanters anyway.

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-19, 01:35 AM
That sounds like a good back story. You may need to et the DM to remove the Evil descriptor from the Animate Dead spells, though. What are his barred schools? (I know this isn't particularly relevant to his backstory, but I'm curious).

2008-06-19, 09:14 AM
That sounds like a good back story. You may need to et the DM to remove the Evil descriptor from the Animate Dead spells, though. What are his barred schools? (I know this isn't particularly relevant to his backstory, but I'm curious).

Probably Evocation and Enchantment. I've heard that with Shadow Evocation, you can duplicate most any worthwhile Evocation spell, and I never liked Evocation anyway. I prefer the "Batman" wizard.

Enchantment is banned for the same reasons Agrippa said. A non-evil enchanter doesn't make much sense to me. Destroying someone's free will is evil, right? And thats exactly what Enchantment does.

Evan will probably be Neutral, solely because of his use of necromancy, and will be leaning towards Good. Probably Lawful Neutral though, as besides using necromancy, he does try to follow most laws, as he doesn't want to become a bigger criminal then he already is.

2008-06-25, 09:29 PM
So I guess no one has any comments for my character? Huh. I thought a subject such as a non-evil necromancer would get more responses and criticism. Huh. Shows what I know.

Still, if anyone has any comments, please comment.

2008-06-25, 09:51 PM
Attempts at non-evil necromancers are much, much more common than you think. I've spent enough time on the wizards board to know that they are a fairly common idea.

But yeah, you're going to have to think of a darn good reason for a non-evil person to be animating the dead, if you're going that route. If not, it's easier to play non-evil, but it will still require some heavy explanation. You're still specializing in a school that is based upon the desecration of life and/or death.

2008-06-26, 02:07 AM
Hmmm. You could go the route of the necroscope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necroscope) by removing the evil description from Animate Dead and such, and the spell more empowering a spirit to return from the pale to the corpse, for love of Evan Zul. Y'know, a diplomacy check rather than an intimidate. Maybe due to his family's profession he is the first necromancer to truly respect the dead? The first to ask, instead of take?


Basicly to insert the link properly. Go me.

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-26, 02:15 AM
I'd say that animating the dead to protect people is enough of a justification for a non-evil Necromancer (it's not as if you're doing it for your own amusement or because you want to use them to take over the world). I didn't see your responce to my other question on the day when it was made, but I know what you mean about Enchantment (I suppose those spells could technially be used to help people depending on the intent of the caster, though).

2008-06-26, 05:27 AM
My current goodaligned necromancer is a egyptian pharao. Our setting is basicly the real world with all mythologies coexisting. The PC's are all heroes of different mythologies set out to save the world from Tiamat.

In my Egypt necromancy is perfectly normal, and what you do with it determines if it is good or evil. All slave labour is replaced by skeletons or zombies, resulting in a higher standard of living among the living.

It is generally viewed as an honour for the dead to be allowed to keep serving their family. If a family have enough money, a dead member might even become an awakened undead.

2008-06-26, 07:29 AM
If your setting somehow permits it, I suppose that's fine, but then again, if your setting permitted it, he wouldn't have had the trouble in the first place. In a generic fantasy setting, animating corpses to protect people is still animating corpses. Unless all the corpses you use are donated, or evil people themselves, you'd have a hard time explaining that to... well, people.

"I realize I'm desecrating your Uncle's corpse by infusing it with dark energies from beyond the planes, but you have to understand, I have all the best intentions for turning his body into a mindless automaton! To protect and serve and stuff."

2008-06-26, 08:13 AM
According to me animating undead should be viewed as an evil and distasteful act.
Nobody likes to see their own kin re-animated and walking in the streets.
Maybe Evan could use his "infusing unlife" abilities only in situations of "life and death".
But even the other spells of the necromancy school are usually seen as "evil" or "evil like".
(Obviously death by fireball and death by vampiric touch/enervation/nercromancy are .. death in both cases. But the first is a "cleaner" way to die.)

According to me your character is interesting, but he'll walk a trail of loneliness, sadness and misunderstanding.
I think that he will save a lot of people only to be chased away by the townsfolk themselves, after they discover the origin of his dark powers.

A paladin could say: "Doing good actions is not enough. How you behave and the tools you use in doing good actions has a similar, if not greater, importance".

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-26, 08:17 AM
The problem with that approach is that it often doesn't work in real life. For instance in CFG's first post, animating dead townsfolk is preferable to the live townsfolk being slaughtered by bandits.

2008-06-26, 08:35 AM
Its a good story, but its outcome is based on your DM's view of the moral implication of animate dead (or the setting) and necromancy in general.

The typical DnD cosmology is based on objective good and evil (and a poorer job of objective law and chaos). Good reads on that are in the Book of exalted deeds and its vile counterpart.

While in other settings (games) things are a bit different. While not too familiar with Ebberon, I believe there are some undead elves that actually lead their living kin. Also a cool example is in the Heroes of might and magic 5, the original (with the character of Markal, a evil necromancer) and in the Tribes of east expansion (Arantir, I would say a neutral necromancer). Asha uses all.

Eventually the call will be on your DM, but remember the saying: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

2008-06-26, 11:04 AM
The problem with that approach is that it often doesn't work in real life. For instance in CFG's first post, animating dead townsfolk is preferable to the live townsfolk being slaughtered by bandits.

Apparently not, from the townsfolk's point of view. From their reaction, it appears that they would have preferred to fight the battle on their own terms, and quite likely die, than be saved and win through disgusting, evil means.

((Footnote: I love necromancy. I played a good necromancer myself, at one point, but he managed it by specifically avoiding animating/summoning/creating undead. He was a surgeon by profession, but also assisted in murder investigations and such. Even so, he was reluctant to even cast spells like Ray of Enfeeblement or Enervation, since they're basically torture in spell form.))

2008-06-26, 03:26 PM
concept works fine as it is i feel. do not need the evil descriptor removing.

the person thinks they are doing the right and good thing by saving peoples lives, even if he is using undead he is not going around trying to conquer his own empire.
however he is commiting evil acts, but this is a game mechanic and so long as he does not go 'someone cast detect evil on me then' there is no issue surely?
and even if they do only they can tell he detects as evil and many people have been declared as evil by their opponents in real life, never changed the opinion of the 'evil person' certainly did not convince them of their evil.

so in character the person is leading a good life, but occasionally commits evil acts in order to achieve good aims...this character is neutral and possibly becomes evil for short periods after doing the evil then moves back to neutral after doing enough good deeds.
personally i'd just leave them neutral unless their evil acts start to become more numerous than their good ones.