Necromancy and AL

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jrothwell

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We have someone who is set on playing a necromancer for the new season of AL. Can you do this and not be evil? I have tried explaining to him that he is going to have difficulty with the rest of the party if he does this. He thinks he can play a lawful good necro. I wish this choice was listed as banned for AL play.
 

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kalani

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Yes. You can play a non-evil necromancer. With that being said, some necromantic spells are inherently evil (such as animate dead). Other spells are neither good/evil, and should be perfectly fine. Even in the case of the evil spells, you can sometimes justify it.

For example - a Good Necromancer (what I call a white necromancer) would cast speak with dead and ask permission of the soul before casting Animate dead on a corpse. They would explain their reasoning, and would let them return to their eternal slumber ASAP (usually at the end of a single combat or after an hour or so). They would never walk around with armies of the risen dead as they would see that as disrespectful.
 


jrothwell

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That is exactly my feeling. And in Barovia, if you were to ask a spirit if it was okay to borrow its corpse, I think the loud NOOOOO would be heard across the land.
 

RCanine

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With that being said, some necromantic spells are inherently evil (such as animate dead).

Woah woah woah, let's not jump to judgement here. What if he only animates evil people and makes them do good deeds as punishment for their crimes? What if his necromantic spells are simply research as he tries to cure some dread Faerûnian disease? As a lawful good necromancer, maybe he's chairman of the Institutional Review Board for a magical academy, which ensures only safe, humane use of necromantic magic? Sure, small-minded villagers might misunderstand his work, might not share his vision, but that doesn't make him evil.

If your player wants to play something unique like that, it's an awesome opportunity for creativity and storytelling, which is the heart of D&D. Just because Kalani and Skerrit are admins, don't let them sway you: the option is perfectly legal. The worst crime you could conduct against an excited, engaged player is to force him to abandon his unique idea and make him adopt an over-played trope.

Obviously, that isn't carte-blanche to be disruptive or hog the spotlight. But challenge the player to describe that apparent contradiction in story terms and it might make the game amazing.
 

kalani

First Post
Oh I think a necromancer in Season 4 is an excellent idea.... Seriously! It would be full of flavor and would really be in keeping with the fact that characters in Ravenloft tend to have tragic elements to them. A necromancer with a pure heart is just the sort of tragedy and emotional angst that Ravenloft is built upon.... Makes you a good candidate for a Van Helsing / Van Ritchen type character who fights fire with fire, and studies undead with the hopes of learning how best to put them down.

The road to Dark Lord is paved with good intentions........

P.S: I am not an admin :D
 
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Byakugan

First Post
Kalani, you are leaving out the part where you need to explain the elephant in the room.

'I wanna play a necromancer!' is usually code for 'I want to have undead servants following me around!'

You should explain how Animate Dead works in AL....ie that it basically doesn't. The point of the necromancer bonuses is that they can keep more undead buddies around, but AL basically chops off your undead hoard at the end of every session...every game your guys are dead again and you have to cast the spell again. Whereas in a normal game, you would just re-up the casting and build up your army over a few days. But AL doesn't let you because there is no accounting for time spent in between missions. You might get a lenient DM to let you, but its technically against the rules as far as I know.

The PHB states that casting animate dead is evil, and that only very evil people would do it regularly. So there is a little bit of wiggle room, but not much.
 

jrothwell

First Post
I understand where necromancer could be an excellent avenue to play a tortured soul especial with the new background for CoS. However, I agree with Byakugan, I think in this case it is 'I wanna play a necromancer!' is usually code for 'I want to have undead servants following me around!'

He has been playing in my AL for a year now, I ran him thru Princes of the Apocalypse and I played with him thru Rage of Demons. Not once during that time has he RP'd. He has really been in there for the killing.

The GM he wants to play with next session is very anti-evil player characters and does not want a necro but may make some compromises. If the player really wants to play a full necro then he will have to choose one of the other GMs to play with or accept his choice GM's limitations (no raise dead, no evil spells) and expectations that he start actually role playing his character.
 

kalani

First Post
The DM doesn't have any power to prohibit legal character choices. Lawful Evil is a perfectly legal alignment in AL (for two of the factions).

Lawful Good Necromancers are also perfectly legal (however the character should RP as such). Should they keep casting a lot of animate dead however, the character is not really as good as they think they are.

AL DMs must remember - this isn't a home game, and that they should leave their personal feelings at the door when it comes to DMing for AL characters. The variability of DM/player feelings/preferences is precisely why we have an ALPG which clearly outlines what is(n't) allowed in AL (in respect to character options).

So long as the player doesn't choose Chaotic Neutral and then act Neutral/Chaotic Evil - everything is good. Then again, that is also why we have the Code of Conduct and guidelines for what to do in respect to a disruptive player.
 

RulesJD

First Post
Kalani, you are leaving out the part where you need to explain the elephant in the room.

'I wanna play a necromancer!' is usually code for 'I want to have undead servants following me around!'

You should explain how Animate Dead works in AL....ie that it basically doesn't. The point of the necromancer bonuses is that they can keep more undead buddies around, but AL basically chops off your undead hoard at the end of every session...every game your guys are dead again and you have to cast the spell again. Whereas in a normal game, you would just re-up the casting and build up your army over a few days. But AL doesn't let you because there is no accounting for time spent in between missions. You might get a lenient DM to let you, but its technically against the rules as far as I know.

The PHB states that casting animate dead is evil, and that only very evil people would do it regularly. So there is a little bit of wiggle room, but not much.

The only reason Necromancy is bad in AL is because of the Action Economy and trying to automatic having 10+ minions. But it's no different than the Animate Objects spell. So no, Necromancy is perfectly compatible with AL.

As for the argument that Necormancers are inherently evil...no. Just, no.

And I quote, from the PHB:

"Most people see necramancers as menacing, or even villainous, due to the dose association with death. Not all necramancers are evil, but the forces they manipulate are considered taboo by many societies."

Read the description of Animate Dead. Want to know what it DOESN'T say? That the spell is inherently evil. Just like the Conjuration spells don't do that either. So no, Necromancy isn't by definition Evil, and it is perfectly allowable by AL rules.

Hell, you might have motivated me to make a Necromancer just for the new season.
 

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