Worldbuilding Power: Necromancy
Use black magic in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures!
Necromancy is magic that deals with the dead. That covers a lot of ground. It includes communicating with spirits as a form of divination. The unliving can be summoned, and usually commanded, by the caster. Raising the dead, as skeletons, zombies, or fully resurrected living beings is included in this category as well. That makes necromancers pretty powerful, not just in terms of game abilities but in story potential as well.
The term necromancy comes from the Greek words nekrós, meaning “dead body”, and manteía, “divination by means of”. It’s often what people in the real world are referring to, albeit not always accurately, when they talk about black magic, witchcraft, or Satanism. It’s generally considered to be an abomination in most cultures, and assumed to be an innately evil practice.
Protagonists who dabble in necromancy have to deal with the moral and ethical considerations. Even if they’re just seeking knowledge, or working toward the greater good, they need to deal with the perceptions of the culture, the prevailing religions, and even laws and political entities.
Antagonists won’t use necromancy as ethically as a protagonist might, if they consider the ramifications at all. They will use this power to bring forth undead monsters to fight their battles The necromantic magic items they use will be put to use furthering their selfish desires. A villain will use necromancy as a potent weapon when they execute their evil schemes.
More so than most types of magic, necromancy will inspire fear and misunderstanding among the common folk. The necromancer calls forth the dead to do their bidding, which is seen as more unnatural than other forms of magic. Rumors will suggest they gained their powers through pacts made with dark forces. Such casters will face resentment from those who feel such power is innately unethical, no matter how it is used. There may be a great deal of distrust if necromancy magic is used openly, even for helpful purposes.
In this book, we’ll show you how to utilize necromancy in your worldbuilding endeavors. You’ll see how it can influence character, setting, and story elements. By the end, you’ll understand how to make necromancy into an essential, useful, and entertaining part of your campaign.