Sunday, November 15, 2020

Review & Commentary On 'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath' By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From James Mishler Games For Old School & OSR rpg Systems

" Necromancers are a sub-class of magic-users who specialize in the magic of death, undeath, and demonolatry (summoning demons). They embrace the dark arts in order to gain power over the living and the dead."

'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath' came into my email box a couple of days ago & its an interesting variation on the traditional Advanced Dungeons & Dragons necromancer class. What this class does is take the standard necromancer PC class tropes & turns them out a bit. These are not just normal necromancers instead these necromancers in fifteen pages are given a whole cloth revamp. These necromancers are NPC's or PC's who studying the arts of the undead have crossed the line into another existence straddling the line between campaign reality & the spiritual or  negative material plane. These necromancers have their souls corrupted by the very act of dipping into the world of the undead;"Alignment: Necromancers cannot be Good; they must be Neutral or Evil, but can be Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic (most are Chaotic and Evil)." 
And it get's better because it affects their ability to heal which is super critical in Dungeons & Dragons style games & this goes all the way into the core of the PC;" Corrupted Body and Soul: Necromancers cannot benefit from the casting of cure wounds spells (light, serious, critical, or heal), nor from potions of healing or extra-healing, or similar magic items; they instead are harmed by the application of such spells and potions (no saving throw). Necromancers are healed by the application of cause wounds spells (light, serious, critical, or harm); they also heal naturally. Necromancers cannot be brought back to life using raise dead or resurrection; to be brought back to life requires the use of a limited wish or wish spell."
Necromaners can use & manufacture poison! Which is a big deal because it plays deeply into the murderous & corrupt nature of the necromancer;"Poison Use: Necromancers learn the manufacture of poisons as they advance in level; they learn one at each level including 1st level. They must learn the lower classes of each of a poison type first before learning a higher-class of the same type. Thus, a necromancer must learn class 1 contact before they can learn class 2 contact; class 12 inhaled before class 13 inhaled; and so on. A necromancer can manufacture a dose of poison at half the sale cost, requiring one day of time per 100 gp cost or portion thereof (minimum one day)."
And it gets worse the necromancer can only really get proficience within their necromatic class; "Learning Spells: Necromancers can only learn to cast a single magic-user spell per level, but are unlimited in learning necromancer spells (and learn one of their choice of a level they can cast automatically and for free each level). Necromancers begin play with read magic, any one other 1st level magic-user spell, and any two 1st level necromancy spells of their choice in their grimoire." 

The necormancer class 
limited to 7th-level spells, like illusionists & that's fine because this is a class is a short handed & somewhat short cut class that is kinda made for villains or players who want to have fun with it. Can it compete in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or The Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg!?! 

This is a nasty & dangerous classs but its 'balanced' in the sense that it does what it sets out to do. That is that it takes a very vague class & sets the person whose PC is paying it on the path of the damned. It makes no apologies for this. Don't believe me?! Check out Krynn Ellis's evaluation;"Since I'm a publisher, I don't get to write reviews, but, here's my opinion of this product, which yes, I did receive from my friend, James, but he didn't exactly buy me dinner or pay my backlogged library fines. OK, on with the personalview: Oh, man! I wish someone would run an online game for me and let me play this class! The new spells alone, while not scaling, each take the various Undead-controlling (etc.) effects to the next degree of mastery, with the higher-level spells retroactively affecting lesser Undead (as one would hope). The fact that the class makes it clear that one is no longer part of the mundane realm and that the Necromancer has learnt its own spell for tending to its injuries, is just another facet of what makes this version of of the time-honoured (BiTD this was advised as an NPC-only class in D&D, but other cool games, like, The Arcanum, for instance, allowed its ilk as a PC...) class write-up so worthy of play. Do yourself a favour and pick this one up. *****"  
Here's the part where she nails this class's features the control of the undead. The necromancer excels at it in spades & beyond. This is where 'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath' By James Mishler,  & Jodi Moran-Mishler  lives up to its 2.49 cent price tag. 
What sets it apart however in my humble opinion are the spells & the magic items plus the add on demons. These really push the whole affair over the top, check out the spell list at first level; 
"1st Level Animate Dead* (C3) Cause Light Wounds* (C1) Darkness (reversed Light) Detect Undead* Skull Sense* Speak With Dead* (C3) Summon Skeletons* Unseen Servant" 

Basically your PC has already gone beyond the normal jog down the path of corruption. The PC is verging on villainous terrority here & the necromancer class only get's sucked into this sewer the lower we go. As they go higer in level folks! 
Even the magic items & treasure are completely made for the grave with things like -  bone armor, cloak of the necromancer, ghoul ring, ring of undead detection, staff of necromancy, wand of wounding, and the mighty vampire cape. 
And the demons complete the picture. So where would I use the 
 'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath' ? Well personally I'd drop the class straight into the original Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign setting as is! This means that whole cloth of the class is preserved along with its essence. 

Since this is a Labyrinth Lord rpg class its easily used in Adventurer,Conqeuror,King rpg  And given its corrupt nature this class is perfect for that person who wants to play the torn & battered necromancer who advises the king. 
For myself I'd drop 'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath'  straight into a Castles & Crusades game as an NPC villain class. Straight up I'd use this class to torture the heck out of the PC's. There's so much laditude to work the material into a usable whole end of a campaign villain. And this the strength of 'Necromancer Class – Masters of Death and Undeath' . I think five outta of five for this one & thanks to James Mishler,  & Jodi Moran-Mishler for sending it too me for review. 

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