The necromancer role is quite similar to the wizard role. Like the wizards, the necromancers are relatively poor fighters with low HP and strength, but good spellcasters. The necromancers remain restricted in all categories except attack spells and matter spells. They can be a human, orc, doppelganger, drow or vampire. A necromancer will start with a pet, which is always a tame ghoul. A ghoul is very slow (at speed 6, moving half as fast as you) and eats only old corpses. according to the guide book:
Necromancers have delved into the darkest of the magical lore, and mastered some of the most forbidden of the magical lore. Many have fallen to the armies of the undead that they are capable of bringing forth and controlling.
- blessed +1 quarterstaff (weapon in hand)
- 2 random rings
- 3 random potions
- 3 random scrolls
- spellbook of summon undead
- spellbook of command undead
- spellbook of drain life
- one of these five books: spellbook of force bolt, spellbook of knock, spellbook of magic missile, spellbook of create monster or spellbook of wizard lock
- wand of draining
- +0 pick-axe (alternate weapon)
- 20% chance of magic marker
- 20% chance of blindfold
Like the Priest, the necromancers can naturally recognize the blessed or cursed status of each object. (This ability is especially important to a necromancer because undead pets will not avoid cursed objects; they avoid blessed objects instead.) Use this ability to salvage weapons and armor from the dungeon, avoiding cursed armor.
Each necromancer begins with two intrinsics, level-drain resistance and immunity to sickness. At experience level 3, the necromancer gains intrinsic warning against undead, which provides detection of all undead monsters on the level (and allows you to know the location of your undead army).
The necromancer begins with Basic skill in quarterstaff, pick-axe and attack spells. Those that enter the dungeon with a spellbook from the matter category, also begin with Basic skill in matter spells.
|sigil of tempest
Necromancers are one of the more difficult roles to play. Most of the role's skills and techniques that matter don't make a big difference until late in the game; until then, you are playing a weak fighter or subpar wizard who can eat old corpses and make weak zombie pets in the mines.
Your starting spells of summon undead and command undead are unhelpful in the beginning as you will likely a 100% failure rate for all of the early game and most of the midgame. Play the early game like a tank, putting on all armor that isn't cursed and training dagger skill to get the bonus to-hit and multishot benefit. A Drow, by contrast, should train daggers by throwing them, but fight bare-handed in melee to take advantage of the sleep attack. You will frequently need to run away from fights and use Elbereth to survive at the beginning. Use your wand of draining in emergencies, but be judicious; once it's used up, you're on your own. Also, save fortune cookies and the like to tame dogs and cats, and keep a lichen corpse around to pacify them in an emergency.
Head first for the mall and buy or steal any decent weapons, armor, rings (200/300 cost), and wands you find. If you find any potions of gain level, dip your pick-axe to get a dwarvish mattock. Go ahead and train skill in this until you find an altar to get your first sacrifice gift, the inimitable Serpent's Tongue. Once you have cleared out the mall of goodies, head for the mines.
The raise zombies technique can help marginally in the mines, mostly by distracting foes and providing something to dodge behind when tough enemies come your way. If you find yourself surrounded by dead humanoids and satiated, place one in each square around you and activate the technique. Zombies can be created from kobolds, gnomes, dwarves, elves, orcs (including goblins), humans, ettins, and giants, although by the time you see the latter two they are probably not going to be much help to you. In general, all other humanoids will become ghouls or ghasts. Ghouls and ghasts are stronger than most early zombies, which means hobbit corpses are particularly good for raising. Vampire necromancers can raise drained corpses, but will likely find them too slow to keep up with the frenetic pace of the vampire's early game without a magic whistle.
If you're lucky enough to find an altar to Gothuulbe in the mines, camp out and sacrifice for Serpent's Tongue. Look for scrolls of enchant weapon and get this up to +6/+7 as soon as possible, as it will do double damage on the enchantment bonus. If not, head back up to the main dungeon and make your way to sokoban. Be sure to fully explore every level until you find an altar. If you haven't found one by level 19, you can always use the guaranteed co-aligned altar in the Lawful Quest, but it may be difficult to survive against the killer rations, piles of killer coins, and werecreatures you'll meet there if the altar ends up far from the entry portal. Don't attempt your role quest yet; Maugneshaagar is a powerful foe, and the Great Dagger of Glaurgnaa is not as good a weapon as a well-enchanted Serpent's Tongue. After you get your artifact weapon, head to One-Eyed Sam's black market and clear it out. By the time you have done that, and used all the scrolls of enchant weapon and enchant armor, you should be strong enough to try some of the other branches, including Grund's Stronghold (don't attempt without fire resistance), the Chaotic Quest (don't go without a wand of fire or lightning), the Wyrm Caves, and the Necromancer quest.
The Necromancer quest will yield the Great Dagger of Glaurgnaa, which drains enemies just as Stormbringer does, grants magic resistance when carried, and most importantly provides a magic power boost when #invoked, much like The Mitre of Holiness. If you have managed to get DSM by this time, you may switch to spellcasting mode, and the Great Dagger will be a huge boon as you will find yourself running out of magic power frequently due to the Necromancer's low power growth. The Great Dagger will also make a good weapon against poison-resistant foes, however, you should try to sacrifice for a better weapon such as Doomblade, Bat from Hell, Frost Brand, or Fire Brand. Whichever you make your primary weapon, do advance the relevant skill to max.
By the endgame, the Necromancer will have become quite formidable. The class's natural immunity to sickness takes the sting away from usually fearsome opponents such as Demogorgon and Pestilence. Innate drain resistance means you don't have to waste a valuable armor, amulet, or weapon slot on it, not to mention making the Guild of Disgruntled Adventurers, the Wyrm Caves, and The Lost Tomb significantly easier. By the time you have gotten your spellcasting mojo on, your starting spells of command undead and summon undead become extremely useful, and can net you an army of powerful pets. Your sigil of tempest technique will make ordinary ray attacks such as magic missile and cone of cold into powerful area attacks. Necromancers can eventually become extremely powerful offensive magicians, attaining expert in both attack and matter spells.
A good ascension kit for a Necromancer is:
- +7 Bat from Hell, Doomblade, Frost Brand, Fire Brand, or Serpent's Tongue, with the Great Dagger of Glaurgnaa as a backup weapon
- One of the following: +5 speed boots for the extra attacks, +7 elven boots for the AC, +5 jumping boots for the extra movement, or +5 fireproof water walking boots to survive create pool spells
- +7 cloak of magic resistance (enchant an elven cloak to +7 and then upgrade it)
- +5 gauntlets of dexterity
- +5 silver dragon scale mail for the reflection
- +5 helm of brilliance
- an amulet of life saving or flying, or an amulet of reflection if opting for body armor other than SDSM
- All the other items (rings, wands, tools, etc.) in a standard ascension kit