Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 39

Thread: Good Necromancy

  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Good Necromancy

    I was wondering just many examples out there there are of necromancy being used for good, be that legitimately used for good or just merely 'good' or anywhere in between. Granted for the most part necromancy is often seen as just about the most unfathomably evil thing one can do that it might be hard to justify using it for noble purposes but given how popular 'bad is good' with protagonists and the like I can't imagine there not being some examples of such.

    Personally, off-hand, the most solid example that I can think of is Johannes Cabal. Granted he's far from a hero or even really hero material but rather more of a lesser evil that happens to be at odds with whatever bigger evil might be going on and he doesn't like it when things get in his way.
    Last edited by BiblioRook; 2017-10-21 at 12:47 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    The Fury's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    There's the Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. The main characters are generally a type of Necromancer that are mainly concerned with un-reanimating the dead and helping them pass on, which I thought was a cool idea.
    Iop brain.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Two examples I can think of off the top of my head:

    The first is the necromancer in Discworld, Professor Hix. Necromancy is illegal, so he is the head of the "Department of Post-Mortem Communications". He is contractually evil, but this just seems to be more rules lawyering. The man himself is quite nice and his art is never used for bad purposes.

    The other case is Ultima VIII, where the Necromancers are protecting the people from the evil Titan Lithos. They made a pact with him long ago to stop him from sending earthquakes that were making the planet unlivable. In return for some of his power, they placated him by acting as his priests and interring the dead into his service. Good people in the service of an Evil god, essentially.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Good Necromancy

    Mortimer from Dresden Files

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kitten Champion's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Conceptually, most of the various characters from the manga/anime series Shaman King are rather necromantic. Some do wield nature spirits, but the rest operate by manipulating dead human souls in various ways. Though the only character explicitly labelled a necromancer in the text is Johann Faust VIII.

    The Chronicles of the Necromancer series by Gail Martin is, as implied, about a hero with a secret gift for necromancy.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Benevolent ghosts or spirits are somewhat common in Asian fantasy stories. Evil ones too, but magic-users with sometimes a whole host of spirits and ghosts are not as totally evil as they tend to be in the Western stories.
    Another distinction seems to be that evil magicians capture, use and corrupt spirits that are often neutral or natural by themselves, instead of ghosts being intrinsically evil.
    I can't name any good ones (heh), but there are many anime and manga stories about some young kid who can see spirits, and then starts befriending and punching 'em.
    The xianxia (cultivation, Chinese fantasy subgenre) novel A Regular Mortal's Journey to Immortality has the main character controlling and using the reanimated, empty human shell made by one of his early enemies, but the creation was clearly evil.

    There are several amateur short stories based on this idea, thrown around on Reddit's /WritingPrompts subreddit. I think I also read one that might have originated on some *chan imageboard. Some premises I can think of:
    - the defeated, since-retired villain had used his zombie army to fight a bigger evil. Hero comes begging for his help, but he's grumpy ("I told them, but they wouldn't listen!")
    - The necromancy is a family business, with the ancestor spirits hanging around to give good advice, outdated advice, embarrassingly specific relationship advice and perhaps reanimate a body every now and then when a new pair of socks needs to be knit.
    - a horde of the undead swarms over an old, down-on-its-luck village. The villagers barricade themselves in the church. After a night of horrible noise, they come out to renovated village, tilled fields, and no clue whodunnit.
    - a bitter soul is given one more day in the sun, and the necromancer makes sure it's a good one.
    Last edited by endoperez; 2017-10-21 at 06:36 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kitten Champion's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    I remembered another -- Eucliwood Hellscythe from Is this a Zombie? is a necromancer and raises the protagonist as a zombie. Though that's all the actual necromancy she performs - at least as far as I've read - and in terms of the series it's not Good or Evil but more of a buyers beware sort of thing.
    Last edited by Kitten Champion; 2017-10-21 at 07:25 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Montreal
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    The Necromancer in Diablo II is pretty nice. Him and his fellow Cult of Rathma (?) Are usually depicted as grim, guardians of the world and nature.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    material & internet plane
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Magic: the Gathering has some examples. On Tarkir, there is the Abzan clan, which practice ancestor worship and use necromancy to communicate and summon the spirits of their kin. On Amonkhet, the fallen inevitably gets reanimated, either unassisted as the usual vicious undead, or with the aid of a particular embalming ritual that allows them to be the labor force of their society (which the citizens are totally cool with, I guess)

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
     
    druid91's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Lemuria
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    There's the cycle of Arawn. Where the Necromancer's are presented in a more or less morally neutral light with tinges of good.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grey_Wolf_c's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Tynian in the Elenium briefly uses necromancy to try to figure out what happened with the McGuffin in a battle some 500 years prior to the start of the book.

    GW
    My Motto:
    Forum Motto:
    There is a world of imagination
    Deep in the corners of your mind
    Where reality is an intruder
    And myth and legend thrive
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant & Yendor View Post
    GIANT IN THE PLAYGROUND: On a saner forum,
    there wouldn't have been such speculation.
    Interested in MitD? Join us in MitD's thread.
    Scientia est similis fluminis te capere non possunt in perpetuum
    (Knowledge, like a river, cannot be constrained forever)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Odessa, Ukraine
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Visenna from Andrzej Sapkowski's story The Road of No Return uses necromancy to find out the truth and stop the villain.
    The last crazy minstrel.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Wiz in KonoSuba is a Lich who guides/protects spirits and is helpful & kind to the protagonists. Though I haven't seen season 2 yet. She is technically a member of Team Evil but all she did was create a barrier and was free to leave & do whatever.

    Pretty sure somewhere in Forgotten Realms lore there are Good Elf lich Necromancers that protect stuff.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Jonathan Strange (in the book Jonathan Strange & Mister Norell) is a wizard in the Napoleonic wars. For the purposes of gaining intelligence, he brings the souls of 17 dead Italian soldiers back from hell and into their bodies to interrogate them. The Ritual itself, as well as its effects, however, are thoroughly unpleasant. For one, the corpses are still decaying and the dead constantly plead with him in the language of hell not to send them back. And they refuse to die again.

    A different attempt, by Mister Norell that time, to bring a noble Lady from the dead at first looks much more promising, as she seems entirely alive and well and is not decaying at all, but the consequences are quite dire for all involved in the end, as tends to happen when the Fair Folk get involved.
    “It’s honest. What our religion tells us, the part that is a religion, is that the gods created life to try and make meaning. It’s ultimately hopeless, and even gods die, but the effort is real. Will always have been real, even when everything is over and no one remembers.”
    -The Litany of Earth, Ruthanna Emrys

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Benthesquid's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    In the Odyssey, Odysseus travels to the underworld and makes a sacrifice. The spirits of the dead drink of the sacrifice's blood and give Odysseus various prophecies and warnings.

    Kind of a stretch, but in terms of 'divination by the dead,' iZombie features a heroic zombie mortician who eats the brains of the dead, gets flashes of memories from the deceased, and uses those to solve murders.
    Avatar courtesy of Kaariane!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Guild Wars took a 'both' approach, as it did with any of its classes. Though the big bad of "Prophecies" did turn out to be a Necromancer Lich (who wanted to access an even greater form of minion mastery) the players were invited to use a wide range of Necromancy powers themselves as the saviors of Tyria. Dead friends, family, enemies...all fuel to create undead. Or use as biological bombs. Or flesh to consume to replenish your own health.

    Then again, the world of Guild Wars is so screwed up that most Necromancy is really par for the course more than anything. In brief, in Tyria its really only seen as good/bad as the goals of the person using it. Necromancers, individually, might lean a bit more towards the 'evil' side (as NPCs) but Necromancy as a practice was socially acceptable.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ravens_cry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    I have a necromancer free form RP character whose first major act of necromancy was animating the family draft horse so that the harvest could be brought in on time.
    I am a firm believer in the idea of magic's only morality is what you do with it, unless it's something that requires suffering, like sacrificing people or animals in painful ways, to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    the closest example I can think of that's not already covered is Gaul-doth halfdead from Heroes of might and magic 4.
    it's not a case of good so much as a case of pragmatic evil which ends up being a lot better than many alternatives.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Bergen

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Probably because Gauldoth isn't remotely good. Dude casually sacrifices the living for his own gain and forces people into eternal undead servitude as petty revenge.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Grytorm's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    The first book at least of the Necroscope series the main character can speak to the dead and uses them to get knowledge and learn things from dead people who have had nothing to do but think for hundreds of years. Near to the end he reanimates a small army and uses them to defeat the villain another necromancer who tortuously rips secrets from the dead and after becoming a vampire plans to take over the soviet union.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Troll in the Playground
     
    tonberrian's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Marona from the video game Phantom Brave (and its various remakes, and several appearances in other Nippon Ichi titles) is the kindest, most pure 13 year old orphan girl in the whole wide world - and utterly despised by the common folk for her ability to communicate and summon the dead. She's the main character, and uses her ability to grant various phantoms corporeal forms to save the world from an ancient evil while proving to everyone she is, in fact, the kindest, most pure 13 year old orphan girl in the whole wide world.
    The name is "tonberrian", even when it begins a sentence. It's magic, I ain't gotta 'splain why.

    Rick Venture avatar by kpenguin, his GM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    In the Deathgate cycle of book by Weiss & Hickman (creators of Dragonlance) on one of the worlds the only way the population are able to live is by extensive use of reanimated dead (it's effectively underground with very few resources and lava about the only energy source). Although necromancy is regarded are very evil everywhere else, here it is necessary and saving that life thee is left.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    danzibr's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Back forty.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Probably doesn't count since there's only one copy in existence (and dated at that), but I wrote a book (~300 pages) with a good Necromancer for a protagonist.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
    Spoiler
    Show
    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    In the Deathgate cycle of book by Weiss & Hickman (creators of Dragonlance) on one of the worlds the only way the population are able to live is by extensive use of reanimated dead (it's effectively underground with very few resources and lava about the only energy source). Although necromancy is regarded are very evil everywhere else, here it is necessary and saving that life thee is left.
    it's important to remember that

    Spoiler: Spoiled for anyone who hasn't read
    Show
    for every body they brought back this way, another life died early elsewhere. The Sartan who were doing this are responsible for the death of most of the rest of the other Sartan. And that's not counting the problem of Lazars (bodies with the soul still strongly attached instead of loosely like with most of the dead).


    So their intentions may have been good, but the results themselves? Not so much.
    My current “Fantasy Fantasy” team (5 members allowed, only 1 from a world, series must be active): Jon Snow, Percy Jackson, Harry Dresden, Minmax, Belkar Bitterleaf. Back to 1/5ths Dinosaur mounted , dang it!

    Spoiler
    Show
    (And yes, I know I'm playing the long odds on some of these!)

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    it's important to remember that

    Spoiler: Spoiled for anyone who hasn't read
    Show
    for every body they brought back this way, another life died early elsewhere. The Sartan who were doing this are responsible for the death of most of the rest of the other Sartan. And that's not counting the problem of Lazars (bodies with the soul still strongly attached instead of loosely like with most of the dead).


    So their intentions may have been good, but the results themselves? Not so much.
    Yeah, they weren't aware of
    Spoiler
    Show
    the trade-off, though they did understand the danger of creating lazars IIRC (been a long time since I read it).

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reddish Mage's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Place of Great Chi
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    In Dungeons and Dragons, Necromancy is full of spells that are labeled inherently evil (particularly anything to do with creating undead). Cannonically using magic to deal with "negative energy" that gives life to undead and kills the living, is inherently evil. Once that label is present you really can't expect to see those spells to be depicted as good, at least within the franchise.

    I wonder, however, if there are examples of good necromancers in D&D.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
    The laws of physics are not crying in a corner, they are bawling in the forums.

    Thanks to half-halfling for the avatar

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    In the Palladium Rifts sourcebook Vampire Kingdoms 2nd Edition there's an interesting variation. A cabal of Necromancers joined forces with a group of Vampire Hunters using their deep understanding of undeath to become a powerful force of vampire destruction. With the plan of taking over themselves when the vampires were defeated. But over the course of the decades long war against the vampires the gratitude of the people they saved and being treated as heroes changed them. In the present day they've abandoned any plans for conquest and have started taking apprentices that they train to value selflessness, honor and virtue.

    Necromancy is feared and considered inherently corrupting in other parts of the setting but they inadvertently proved that its not true by successfully reforming and continuing to use their powers freely. However what is true is that a living thing regularly channeling the essence of death does have mental side effects and Necromancers tend to accumulate more and more death related quirks and habits as they grow in power. Coming across as somewhat obsessive or crazy to ordinary people.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    I could certainly see a world or zone where Necromancy is only available to government individuals on a police or federal level:
    • Death spells used for executions
    • Justice passing by the courts imposed by giving negative levels or conditions like blindness, exhaustion or Mark of Justice
    • A ton of spells that would be useful for CSI-type investigators
    • Astral projection and Riding Possession as a sort of "wire"
    • Disease manipulation, healing spells, as well as warding death spells
    • Animate dead used to redefine the term "multiple life sentences".

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    The first necromancer is a 'good if grim' guy in the webcomic Dominic Deegan. Plenty of bad necromancy, too, though.

    Spoiler: spoiler from webcomic
    Show
    He was also a fun-loving jovial guy when he first invented necromancy.

    There's also a flesh golem (made via necromancy) who is a good guy.

    And--major spoiler from near the end--even the
    Spoiler
    Show
    evil necromancy, the main character's brother, becomes good near the end. Or at least is working towards that. I forget the details



    Though Garth Nix's books are the biggest example to my mind.

    Edit/add: in Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, one of the nations animates corpses via magic to be workers, soldiers, etc. It's more like a construct than an animated corpse, but close enough to necromancy to maybe be an example.
    Last edited by JeenLeen; 2017-10-23 at 04:37 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reddish Mage's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Place of Great Chi
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Good Necromancy

    Well sure in Palladium or a fantasy of your own imagination you can envision Necromancy being different. Settings other than D&D show necromancy, or similar powers that happen to be akin to it, to be good or neutral.

    D&D states that a lot of the more powerful spells are evil though and use of these spells cause alignment-shifting. That’s a pretty high barrier to depicting good necromancers in supplements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
    The laws of physics are not crying in a corner, they are bawling in the forums.

    Thanks to half-halfling for the avatar

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •