I think the necromancer could be a fully legitimate user of magic, but having a mindset, or religion if you will, that includes what we living call "the dead". Many religions tell us that death is only a doorway to another life. In most scenarios, death is eschewed by the living, but a "necromancer" would have a different view, just like most major religions tell us to die is not the same as annihilation. He/she is not evil, necessarily, but has a divergent philosophy.
I would point to Nobody's use of a Necromancer in "The Last War". Not the typical dark sorcerer, but someone who has a different world view. Nihilistic, perhaps, but not "evil". Obviously, if I faced death by the hand of a necromancer or his/her minions, I would fight this as an "evil", but, if I were resurrected to eternal life in death, I might conclude I was ignorant to that point. Go to Comment
While it's not exactly high literary art, a good reference book for an entire /society/ based on necromancy is Fire Sea, of Weis & Hickman's Death Gate Cycle. The undead are used for a source of slave labor, to stave off the final death of a dying world, at a rather gruesome cost: to reanimate the dead causes someone, somewhere, to die. Go to Comment
Excellent, looking forward to this. One of the most memorable players I gamed with had a horse with a major attitude. It was the most stubborn thing imagineable, but he and his horse had an understanding. Probably not the greatest thing in real life, but made excellent fun in the game, whenever the horse was being really stubborn a stern fist on the nose would knock some sense into the horse for a bit. But then the horse would always get back by dragging him against a tree, low hanging branch to stopping suddenly from a gallop and flinging him. It was great fun to see what he and his horse would come up with next. Basically always doing pranks on each other. Go to Comment
(I will probably chime in occassionally. We owned a horse for a few years while we lived in Spain and it was a riot. Brings back some fond memories.)
Some horses will also lay on the ground and flop around itching their back after a nice long ride. It is a sight to behold when a horse gallops and jumps around in excited freedom after a good ride and then lays itself on the ground, rolls onto its back flopping his feet over to one side and back, just like a dog would to do to itch a hard to reach place.
That could be embarassing for a stoic professional that has a reputation to uphold. He unsaddles his horse in town after a long ride, a couple of people are eyeing him as he drops his horse at the stables. As the groom takes off the bridle and saddle the horse busts away to the small corral and proceeds to flop around like a fish. Go to Comment
Can you imagine my fingers itching for creating a generator for authentic horse personalities?
But this is better left to the imagination of players and GMs. (There are already a few interesting quirks, will we create a list of them?) One case, when a horse (dog, or any pet) clearly must have personality of its own, are One player campaigns.
I've heard an old story of a preacher, that had the horse of some heavy drunkard. So whenever they passed a bar, the preacher had to enter it, at least for a moment, or the horse would not continue. Soon gossip started to spread, and the poor honest man really ended up as an alcoholic!
But if there are adventurers, what if some notorious adventure-seeker's horse has a bit of supernatural sense, and can feel dungeons, and other "adventure-worthy" locales, if coming near to them. While this may seem as an excellent plot hook, the characters may not appreciate it, if they must enter every little hole, finding usually nothing, sometimes murderous enviroments... Go to Comment
That's right. These critters have "minds" of their own, with their own personalities. Most are reasonably functional, while others are marginal (those that are not good at being domestic are either eaten or escape to the wilds).
While I know this and a few tiny things about horses, I don't know much about their day to day existance. But to add this flavor to the game, horses (other mounts- say Dragons- and important pets) became minor NPCs.
Horses as NPCs can literally double the number of characters you have to keep track of as a GM. This can be a little daunting. So, if you want to have spirited horses, use troupe styled play for the horses. Other players are assigned other player's horses to play (the limit on this is that you can not run the horse of the person running your horse). Most of the time, there will be little "horse roleplay". Every now and again, the horses will "act uppity" (mostly because the players are bored).
To keep this from being abused, tie "horse play" to standard rewards for each player's main character. The quality a players Horse RP becomes a minor modifier to the experience reward for the player's main character (+/- 10% in our case).
This rule made buying a horse a careful decision it is in the real world, rather than the "off the equipment list" sort of purchase it is normally. Players begin to carefully evaluate the mounts after this, to make sure they have compatable personalities and acceptable disads.
(We gave horses extra disadvaantages, like characters, and they used those points to buy extra abilities. So you can have a stronger, faster, smarter horse, but it might be a bit too quirky to be handled except by an expert rider (and even then it might be an issue) ). Go to Comment