1-Best of Intentions
Whilst his beloved father died slowly and painfully of cancer, taking months to die, this talented wizard has delved deep into the dark and forbidden arts of necromancy in the hope of dragging his father back from death. However, these spells to restore the dead are forbidden for very good reasons. At best, they result in a slowly decaying puppet who only does what it is told, and that is the best scenario. More likely the body will be possessed by one of the Traveler Spirits and become a wholly malevolent and dangerous form of Undead, or go on the rampage like a carnivorous beast, killing and eating whoever it comes across. If it does the latter, the wizard who raised it will be it's first victim.
This wizard is a member of The Cultus of Vautu which exists to cause as much danger and death and general chaos as possible in the hope of freeing it's imprisoned Maw. As such he has taken up the study of necromancy. He raises the dead for the sheer chaos it causes, teaches his magic to others, and leaves out without telling them the part of the spell that controls the undead, resulting in the would be necromancers being torn apart by the undead that they would use as beasts of burden.
3-For A Dare
This student at a very old and honored magical university has been dared to raise the ghost of an Arch-mage of the distant past on the school grounds of East Point. Unfortunately for him, when a forbidden spell of that level is cast on school grounds, the currant Arch-mage is alerted automatically, and he will take a very dim view of the spirit of one of the faculty being summoned for fun. The luckless student is extremely likely to be expelled as a result.
This man joined the Shogun's Imperial Naval Academy as soon as he was old enough, and graduated seven years later at the age of eighteen as a Sea Wizard. Several years later he was on the staff of Rear Admiral Brande and was chosen to create Undead, not from the dead citizens of the Shogun's domains, which would have been a national scandal if it leaked out, but from the dead tribes-people of The Brande Islands- there not being enough convicted criminals to be sent to the galleys of the Shogun's fleet. In tests, it was proved that properly enslaved Undead could row faster then living men, did not need food or water, and were even less likely to be able to escape from their chains and revolt.
5-The Preserved Corpse
Rather then risk passing on to what could be a rather unpleasant afterlife, this skilled mage used magic to kill his own body and then in effect got his spirit to break back into it. He had thought long and hard about what could go wrong, and had placed his body in the right environment to get naturally mummified, so when the rigor mortis wore off, he still looked alive. He has to be careful though-even minor wounds will not heal. If he manages not to be uncovered as an intelligent Undead, he could survive indefinitely.If he is uncovered, he will most likely be put to death or at the very least shunned.
6-The Decomposing Corpse
This mage had the same idea and enough skill to cast the spell that the Preserved Corpse did, but he didn't properly think about his aftercare and went about as normal. He was in the woods when rigor mortis set in, and the flies landed on his helpless body and laid their eggs. Heat also took it's toll on his body. By the time he could move again and pull the maggots from his body, his flesh was marbled, blistered, and had plenty of holes in it, wounds that could not heal. His eyes had clouded up, and he had lost most of his sight. Unable to pass properly as alive, he has to hide from others. As his body continues to decay, his spirit may soon be trapped in a body that it cannot use once the muscles rot away.
7-The Unchanging King
This monarch feared death so much that he started dabbling with necromancy, and came up with a top secret spell that leeches small amounts of life-force from everybody in his kingdom. The rich and successful can in effect regain their small amount of lost life-force by eating the right foods, but the middle class die around ten years younger then average, and the poor die twenty to forty years younger then average. He has lived for more then a thousand years through being a clever politician, and having a very capable secret police. His palace guards carry modern weapons now, but their ceremonial armour has not changed in a thousand years. If his people were fully aware of what their Unchanging King had done to them, he would most likely be overthrown, shoved alive into a royal barrow, perhaps with a few token grave goods, and left there to become as insane as one of the Bandage Beasts.
This necromancer bribes undertakers to bring fresh bodies, and then reanimates them as unthinking husks that will do what their master tells them until they are given another command. The souls themselves have normally passed on to whatever section of the afterlife that they will end up in, meaning a failure of the control magic means that the animated zombies will not turn on their master, but just fall *dead* to the ground. This makes them clumsy, so they are normally used for basic labour in mines and other places far from where their families might come across them. Within about three months at most, they will rot to the point where they fall apart.
He also knows how to make Greater Zombies, which are made by dragging the spirit back to the body and sealing it inside with powerful magic. These are much less clumsy and take twice as long to rot. But for the owner, if the control spell should fail, then the Greater Zombie will turn on him or her. Most Greater Zombies have been enslaved by enemies that they made in life.
This necromancer works for a crime family, sending undead corpses out to murder people. The bodies are quite slow, but they are very strong and lie in ambush. Only lopping off their heads will *kill* them. When their task is done or if they are captured, the soul is automatically released to go to the afterlife and the dead body falls to the ground, stopping the information about who paid for the hit or animated the zombie in the first place from getting out to law enforcement or to those who would seek revenge.
This necromancer thought that the Undead should be free, and after buying a small number of Greater Zombies, he told them this and then set them free. Rather then attack him and tear him to pieces, they agreed with him and were very pleased that he willingly freed them. Since then, the owners of undead slaves have been attacked and freed and their slaves have been freed and joined what has become a small Undead army fighting for Undead to have the same rights as the living. As they are undead, they don't need to eat or drink and only decapitation will kill them. By day they stay out of strong sunlight as it makes their bodies decompose faster. Those they kill are just left dead to rot.
Captured on the battlefield and fitted with a Convict Collar that will choke him to death on the spot if he disobeys and order, this luckless wizard has been forced to raise the dead of his own side, one by one. These decomposing husks are then sent forward as a front line to spread panic and help to break up his own side's formations, and have to be beheaded or hacked into small pieces before they can be returned to Death's domain. He hates what he is forced to do, as he is betraying his own country as well as using dark magic.
This court wizard is an almost fanatical supporter of the king of his country. Now the king lies dead on his bier, assassinated by a team of no less then 30 Assassins who banded together to get past his guards. The wizard has decided to try and raise him back to life again, but what he is likely to get is either a shambling husk or a body that is possessed by a Demon as the King's soul moved on to the afterlife at his death. He is so grief-stricken by the king's death, that he can't see that what he is doing would be considered blasphemous and wrong by most people, not to mention dangerous.
Without in any way meaning to, this priest of Mathom, the God of Delays has become in effect an accidental necromancer. Those within half a mile of him who die stay in their bodies as if alive because Death has not turned up to claim them. What is more, their bodies do not decompose, as it seems decay cannot be bothered to affect them, so they can live their lives as normal within this little bubble of null-time. Should they go any more then half a mile from the Priest, they fall dead on the spot and their bodies quickly decompose. Such is the boundary, and the price, of this strange kind of immortality.
In the far future, life can be prolonged for those with the money to afford technology such as robot hearts and other such things. But even the finest magi-tech cannot keep death away for ever. This necromancer has found a way to raise corpses using the tech that kept them alive in life, resulting in something that is half robot and half zombie.
This necromancer considers the raising of human corpses to be wrong, but for a fat fee will preserve the bodies of dogs and other such pets and bring them *alive* again, so that the pet owner has an Undead pet. It's easier to bind the souls of pets into their bodies, and they are much less likely then human souls to go on the rampage. Such pets don't need food or water, or defecate and urinate, although they still need walks.
16-I Can Do It
Most people think that necromancy is impossible, but this person has illegally dug up a freshly buried human body and is determined to prove to himself that she can raise the dead. But the dead normally greatly dislike being raised, and if she has not drawn her protective pentagram just right, she will meet her death at the hands of the Undead which she went to so much trouble to raise.
A spy for the king and one of the best at what he does, he has at great personal risk infiltrated a hidden cabal of necromancers who are planning to create their own army of the Undead and use it to try to topple the regime. Should he be uncovered, he won't just be murdered but raised again as an enslaved Greater Zombie. But now he has been asked to raise a zombie to prove he is who he says he is, and he is not sure that he really has the knowledge and the magical skills to do so.
18-Maker Of Tomb Guards
As the Royal Necromancer at the court of the King of Segren , it it is he who provides Undead tomb guards for the tomb of the dead king. When the monarch dies, a certain number of royal guards are grabbed, ceremonially slain, and then he enchants them to guard the dead king and his royal treasures for eternity in his tomb. Such zombies are activated by light. As you can imagine, he is one of the most unpopular members of the royal court.
This Necromancer has found the body of a dragon who has recently died of old age, and has dreams of enchanting it, turning it into his Undead slave, and then using it to extort a huge ransom from his country's large towns. Whilst he most likely has the power to reanimate the dragon, only an arch-mage would have the strength to enslave it successfully. Most likely, he will be quickly snapped up and eaten, and soon the undead dragon will be in agony as it's huge body swells and rots and falls apart. It might blame other humans for what has happened to it and seek revenge, burning down all the nearby towns. Whilst it's hide will no longer be as strong as it used to be, it will still be a potent threat.
20-End of the World
This Necromancer is searching for an artifact that if real, would enable him to raise all of the world's dead at once. There is a strictly limited time to find and use it, as it only works during a planetary conjunction that only takes place every 157 years. The PCs must find and stop him before he can plunge the world into an Undead nightmare. He thinks the world he is in is so horrible and evil that it needs to be destroyed.
This Necromancer was slain after he made a slight mistake in drawing out a pentagram, his throat bitten. His wife managed to banish the demon that he had summoned, and sought a way to restore her husband's soul to his body. The only spell she could find that would bring her husband back as more then a zombie, was one that means every ten days he must slay a living person and eat his brains. Only that will keep decay and brain death at bay. He keeps his neck wound bandaged as being Undead, the wound will not heal.
22-Money, Money, Money
This Necromancer has no morals at all, and does what he does only for money. From reading Tarot Cards at on end of the scale, through talking to the dead, to illegally raising the dead or binding the soul of a hated foe into a chamber pot, he will do anything for the right price.
Rather then raise dead bodies, which is highly illegal, dangerous if anything goes wrong, and disgusting and smelly if the body has had time to rot, this Necromancer mainly binds souls into objects. The soul of a great warrior might be bound into a sword that if held in a certain way can speak to it's wielder, or someone's beloved deceased daughter soul can be bound into a necklace that can speak in it's owner's mind when worn. He always makes sure the spirit can only speak to it's owner if a certain thing is done, to keep it from nagging or otherwise being obnoxious. He also knows how to make Ironbones but rarely does so and only for a high price.
This Necromancer specializes in driving ghosts from houses.Unknown to those who are paying him, he has an arrangement with the ghosts where he will protect them from more dangerous spirits and give them a warm place to sleep if they arrange to *haunt* houses so he is paid to *exorcise* them with pretend rites of exorcism that in reality do the ghosts no harm at all .
After every battle, he raises the dead of the army he has fought about as lesser zombies and send them against his foes. The zombies are husks who do not fight very well, but there are a lot of them and they are useful for absorbing arrow fire. Also, it has a terrifying effect on the opposing army as they are having to fight the decomposing bodies of their former friends and know that they could end up in the same way. Should he be injured eiher the zombies he controls will either fall dead or turn on him and his army.
Romeo is deeply in love, to the pont where he would do anything for his girlfriend-who has dared him to raise the dead to prove what a great mage he is. Should he manage to raise the dead, it is most unlikely that he would be able to have much control over the zombie that he summons, and both he and she could come to a very violent end.
Trustee was given a sentence of life imprisonment for treason, spared the death penalty so that he would live and suffer longer, after trying to use an Urn Beast as a grenade to kill the king. After three years in a cell the country he was in had a financial crisis and it was decided to use Undead as prison guards to save money. As one of the very few mages who knew how to use dark magic at this level, he was given a conditional pardon and the post of Warden if he would raise and command the new Undead guard force of Ironbones. Since if even one prisoner escapes he will be in serious trouble, he is ruthless in preventing escapes.
Faker claims to be able to speak with the dead and raise ghosts, but the ghosts he raises are just illusions and he has no real necromantic powers at all. Should people start being attacked by the Undead, then he will be unfairly blamed for it and might well face execution.
Piper holds one of 7 Magical Instruments ,a pipe that has the power to make people dance against their will and even to raise the dead. Given that then magic only works when he is playing the pipe, raising the dead with it would be most unwise as when he stopped playing they would turn on him.
Speaker is fascinated with the afterlife and has raised a score of ghosts to speak with them about it, offering to carry out certain tasks for them in exchange, as long as the tasks do not involve murder or other serious crimes. He is careful to protect himself with the proper pentagrams and charms when he summons ghosts, as by no means all of them are friendly to the living.
31-The John Hex
This necromancer has the power to bring the dead back to their bodies and the bodies become fresh again and able to move and speak, but only whilst he still holds them, and holding them for too long causes them to burst into flames. The more decomposed the bodies are, the longer he can hold them before they burn up. He can ask them questions, although they can speak falsely if they want to. Not all dead are happy to be treated like this, but many are happy to answer the questions that he puts to them.
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? Responses (5)
Interesting list of necromancers, I like that they branch out into being forms of undead, and dealing with other types of undead.
A better list than I was expecting - I had thought it hard to find another 30, but these are good!
As the for the luckless individual attacked by all 30 Assassins, I would be surprised if there was anything left to be raised :)
Might not want to link to 7 Instruments yet -that link does not work.
I really like how you tied the entries to other Strolen posts.
Mathom's Priest is great in a satirical way - that would make a nice one-shot non-serious campaign.
Very interesting divergence from the typical 'black robes and horde of zombies' necromancer. Several of these could come to light in my future games.
I wasn't as thrilled with this one in the beginning as I am now. I honestly didn't think it would pan out as well as it did, similar to val. But I was surprised at the addition of the undead in the list. As I first read it and was disappointed I then realized that some necromancers turn to themselves as beings of Undead eventually. Not all stay living and that i s when I went and reread this and enjoyed it more. Good job Cheka...