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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Greetings. I wish to ask how exactly one plays a Necromancer under the Pathfinder rules.

    I am currently hoping to play a level 6 Oracle of Bones in a campaign. I have never played a necromancer under Pathfinder and i'm trying to understand how they work.

    Necromancer feats seem to revolve around summoning whatever bodies are in the dirt where you happen to be. Does this mean that you cast the spell and the GM tells you what corpses happen to be in the graveyard? Or do you build your own skeletons and just assume they happen to be in the dirt where you are?

    The other half of the Necromancer equation seems to assume that you happen to stumble along some undead- Command Undead and various others rely on dominating the undead. So, what happens if, say, you are attacked by the other 95% of common enemies who are ALIVE?

    Just trying to get a picture of how a Necromancer character acts and is combat effective.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    It's a pet class, really. You and your party run around killing things, and then you raise whatever you killed as a minion to do damage in your place.

    A had a character in a session that had a pair of minotaur skeletons, plus a bunch of 1HD human skeletons with full plate and tower shields that were pretty much just there for cover. It actually worked pretty well for him.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    You are completely missing the third part of necromancy (Aka, the actual reason to play a necromancer): Decay spells. Spells like ray of enfeeblement, ray of sickness, ray of exhaustion, enervation, poison, all of the good ones that deliver powerful debuff effects or ability damage.

    Granted, most of these are arcane and not divine, but that's exactly why sorcerers make such better necromancers than oracles. An oracle necromancer gets early access to animation techniques, while a sorcerer has to wait 2 more levels, but in exchange his entire necromancy spell list is full of ways to decay living creatures, making him infinitely more useful in combat, rather than just "I attack with my skeleton, while my oracle sits there and either heals or total defenses".

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    It really depends almost entirely what KIND of necromancer you are playing. They come in lots of different flavors. If you are playing an Oracle of Bones necromancer, for instance, who will have the ability to summon a single powerful undead (without the need for a nearby corpse) and generally won't have a large number of undead minions at any given time, you are going to be playing a very different character than the cleric of a death god who has to build her (usually individually less powerful) undead from available corpses but gets a multitude of them, or from the wizard necromancer specialist who might (for example) concentrate on fear-based crowd control, debuffs, and/or save or die spells. That's just scratching the surface. Necromancy has so much "creepy cool factor" that the game has many feats, spells, archetypes, and prestige classes (if you include 3.5 stuff) that cater to it. The only real gaping hole in the ruleset is the lack of much in the way of "white necromancy" for good-aligned necromancers who don't utilize undead or [evil]-branded spells.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Grelna the Blue View Post
    The only real gaping hole in the ruleset is the lack of much in the way of "white necromancy" for good-aligned necromancers who don't utilize undead or [evil]-branded spells.
    That's not true. Necromancy is magic over life. White necromancy is stuff like resurrection and raise dead and true resurrection. It's just been improperly categorized as "Conjuration" for some reason.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    That's not true. Necromancy is magic over life. White necromancy is stuff like resurrection and raise dead and true resurrection. It's just been improperly categorized as "Conjuration" for some reason.
    Okay, granted. What I meant and should have specified is there isn't much in the game for arcane necromancers who want to emphasize the Light Side of the Force. It is very easy to play a black magic arcane necromancer; quite possible to play a grey necromancer who straddles the line; but there is precious little for an arcane caster who wants to use positively themed necromantic magic.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    JuJu revelation is probably better than Bones for minion-mancy, if that is your goal.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ravens_cry's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    That's not true. Necromancy is magic over life. White necromancy is stuff like resurrection and raise dead and true resurrection. It's just been improperly categorized as "Conjuration" for some reason.
    In older editions, this was exactly the case. I'd also make the Cure line and Heal spell this as well.
    Of course, if we are going to be etymologically pedantic, there is but one true Necromancy spell, at least in Core.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    ...why sorcerers make such better necromancers than oracles. An oracle necromancer gets early access to animation techniques, while a sorcerer has to wait 2 more levels, but in exchange his entire necromancy spell list is full of ways to decay living creatures, making him infinitely more useful in combat, rather than just "I attack with my skeleton, while my oracle sits there and either heals or total defenses".
    ?
    I must disagree, not completely though.

    Sorcerers might have a 'Necro-Caster' advantage (at least over Oracles), but don't come anywhere close in the 'Necro-Minion' area.

    Undead Sorcerers have NOTHING that helps them on the Minion side. The Sanguine mutated bloodline does give a +1 Caster level to Necromancy spells though.
    Also, EVERY Bloodline spell from Undead is already a Sorc/Wiz spell.

    The Bones or Juju Mysteries bonus spells are mostly not on the Cleric/Oracle list.
    Bones Oracle can get a temp-Undead of 'HD=Class level', and can Control Undead with Negative Channeling.
    Juju Oracle can Animate Dead 6HD of undead per caster level instead of the standard 4HD per caster level. And also has Control Undead (channeling).

    As long as we are comparing possible Necromancers...

    Undead Lord Clerics get a bonus "HD=Class level" minion, can Control Undead (channeling), can channel Negative energy normally, and, when healing Undead, they heal more than normal. Also they get some non-Cleric-list Domain spells (Ghoul Touch and Enervation), although because they are Domain spells, are 1/day.

    Necromancy Wizards also get Control Undead.

    For sake of completeness, Witches have the Gravewalker archetype. As far as "Necromancers" go, Witch is probably the worst choice.



    Agent of the Grave is a very solid Necromancer-specific class. EVERY level counts double for maximum Animate Dead HD (according to the example, even the 1 non-'+Casting' level counts twice!).

    A level 20 caster can control 80 HD of undead with Animate Dead.
    A level 15 caster + 5 Agent of the Grave can control 100 HD of undead.
    A level 20 Juju Oracle can control 120 HD of undead.
    A level 15 Juju Oracle + 5 Agent of the Grave can control 130 HD of undead.
    Last edited by grarrrg; 2012-07-06 at 05:15 PM.
    [retired]

    Horribly out of date guide goes here:
    Oradin Guide

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Note that the bones oracle minion is 1/day (2/day at 10th) and only lasts for CHA mod rounds. Which makes a cool ability not so great.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
    ?
    I must disagree, not completely though.

    Sorcerers might have a 'Necro-Caster' advantage (at least over Oracles), but don't come anywhere close in the 'Necro-Minion' area.
    Yes, but as Necro-Minion casters bog down gameplay and combat, Necro-Casters are much more playable at an actual table. *shrugs*

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How to play a Necromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Yes, but as Necro-Minion casters bog down gameplay and combat, Necro-Casters are much more playable at an actual table. *shrugs*
    Agreed.
    Wizard/Sorc are better Necro-Casters (better Spell Lists, little/no Minion support)
    Oracle/Cleric are better Necro-Minions (earlier access to Animate Dead, worse list(s) otherwise, LOTS of Minion support)
    Witch is overall sub-par for Necro-any (limited spells, little Minion support).

    Just remembered, you can sort of make a Necro-Druid!
    Blight Druid archetype, choosing the Death domain.
    Necro-Druids are by far the WORST choice for a Necro-build (only counting Full Casters of course). 1/day Animate Dead doesn't do much. And even though Create Undead AND Greater Create Undead are both in the Domain, the Druid has no way to control what he creates.
    [retired]

    Horribly out of date guide goes here:
    Oradin Guide

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