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Lloyd Dupont

Beyond Necromancy!

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Daring to share a possibly unpopular opinion I am willing to claim, I find the universal bad rep of Necromancer a bit over the top and irrational.

I mean adventurers have been killing people since forever and it's fine. But raising a skeleton cow suddenly make you a mad sickening despicable individual?
Nope, I  dare say! The necromancer is the doctor of the magic world! (who were shunned for digging body for "scientific" research)

I will argue no further and leave each one one to their own conscience on the necromancer guilt, or lack of there of.

However, I understand that a good RPG story might need some villains. A Necromancer ring seem the ideal typical villainous faction (augmented by numerous undead folklore stories all around).
But, playing Assassin Creed Odyssey, watching some of the statues in The Underworld and also thinking of some creative spell I read elsewhere... I am thinking of a new, novel, perhaps even more entertaining villain. For lack of a better word I would call them, the Fleshomancers!

Mad Wizard (let me tell you, those are definitely mad and psychopathic!) who merge multiple living creature's body to create some monstrous chimera. Merging their flesh into some unholy construct and, most verily, shattering their mind in the process!
They shall forever be marked with the sign of inexpiable shame!

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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25 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Mad Wizard (let me tell you, those are definitely mad and psychopathic!) who merge multiple living creature's body to create some monstrous chimera. Merging their flesh into some unholy construct and, most verily, shattering their mind in the process!

In Glorantha, that would be Delecti. He also inhabits fresh corpses until they go off, then he gets into a new one.

 

NecromancerAid.jpg

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BAH!

Your rhetorical tricks cannot disguise the EVIL that is necromancy!

Neither sorry corpses and spirits (enslaved to their vile master), nor "free" undead (inflicting their unnatural hungers upon the living) can ever be anything BUT evil.

No doctors, they:  true resurrection, return to Life, is beyond them; and their horrific acts are the exact opposite of what doctors do, a horrid mockery of that sacred service!

 

(also, necromancy has been one of the hallmarks of villainy in myth & fantasy since LONG before the first pre-publication playtesters for Gygax&Arneson were running levels 1-13 of Castle Greyhawk, murderhobo'ing their merry way)

 

 

 

(cos SOMEBODY gotta speak up for the Honorable Opposition)

😉

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12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Mad Wizard (let me tell you, those are definitely mad and psychopathic!) who merge multiple living creature's body to create some monstrous chimera. Merging their flesh into some unholy construct and, most verily, shattering their mind in the process!
They shall forever be marked with the sign of inexpiable shame!

The Monster. Frankenstein's monster. It's alive and all that jazz.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

No doctors, they:  true resurrection, return to Life, is beyond them; and their horrific acts are the exact opposite of what doctors do, a horrid mockery of that sacred service!

Life? Don't talk to me about Life. :)

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1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

Life? Don't talk to me about Life. :)

Did you just quote Hitchhiker’s Guide? GREAT book!

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On 5/21/2020 at 7:47 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I mean adventurers have been killing people since forever and it's fine. But raising a skeleton cow suddenly make you a mad sickening despicable individual?

The thing is that how Necromancy works matters. The traditional view historically was that raising a corpse involved bringing the ghost of that corpse back from the land of the dead, violating their peace in death and enslaving the spirits of the dead. That seems to be how most forms of Necromancy in Glorantha seem to work.

Also bear in mind that in the ancient world it wasn’t as simple as there being separate physical and spiritual parts of a person, it was often much more complex. The Egyptians wrote about 5 parts of the soul. The Norse had at least four. None of them in either case correspond directly to our concept of the physical body, but include concepts of shape or form, and ‘heart’ depending on the culture, that include some physical aspects but not others. So in these belief systems interfering with a corpse in almost any way involved directly interfering with aspects of the soul itself.

The idea that undead are just material physical forms animated by impersonal magical forces seems to be a modern re-interpretation. In the pre-enlightenment eras there largely wasn’t even a concept of impersonal motivating forces in the first place. Remember, people believed and Gloranthans know that the dead still exist and are people. Animating and controlling a corpses is seen as really little different from controlling a living person through invasive brain surgery.

Edited by simonh
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1 hour ago, simonh said:

The thing is that how Necromancy works matters. The traditional view historically was that raising a corpse involved bringing the ghost of that corpse back from the land of the dead, violating their peace in death and enslaving the spirits of the dead...

[...snip...]

...The idea that undead are just material physical forms animated by impersonal magical forces seems to be a modern re-interpretation.

Roger Zalazny's Lord of Light (a book I can't recommend highly enough) describes a coterie of scientifically/psychically exalted planetary colonists who model themselves after, primarily, the gods of India (one of whom is effectively the Buddha, who emerges to break the unending cycle of divine privilege, but that's not germane to this discussion).  One of them, Nirriti, is actually a devout Christian, who fashions himself as the Dark Lord of necromancy, raising armies of soulless human husks to kneel and pay homage to his faith for eternity.  And to march forth and take over the world.  Again, not a positive take on the reputation of the Necromancer.

The spiritualist movement of the turn of the 19th century perhaps pursued a more positive take on necromancy, promoting the notion of communion between the living and the dead as a means of solace.  It had its more cynical agendas, too, not the least of which was often outright charlatanry.  Revivication and raising of corpses didn't figure highly, though.

!i!

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My approach was not really in Glorantha and / or RQ.
More like D&D inspired, and also inspired by ancient Greek (and "Isu") imagery in Assassin Creed Odyssey (Atlantis DLC) where you can still a lot of hybrid creature (starting with Cerberus and his 3 heads).

And I though that such creature concept was cool and totaly mad if you explore it a bit further. And also in D&D,, soulless Zombie do not seem inherently evil...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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6 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Roger Zalazny's Lord of Light (a book I can't recommend highly enough) describes a coterie of scientifically/psychically exalted planetary colonists who model themselves after, primarily, the gods of India (one of whom is effectively the Buddha, who emerges to break the unending cycle of divine privilege, but that's not germane to this discussion).  One of them, Nirriti, is actually a devout Christian, who fashions himself as the Dark Lord of necromancy, raising armies of soulless human husks to kneel and pay homage to his faith for eternity.  And to march forth and take over the world.  Again, not a positive take on the reputation of the Necromancer.

Lord of Light is my favourite Zelazny novel (which is saying a lot, as I love everything the man ever wrote) and indeed my favourite novel of all time.

While Nirriti is certainly opposed to Sam (the protagonist), I wouldn't necessarily say they're any more evil than some of the others - the horde of corpses is mentioned fearfully more because of their military might than any suggestion that souls were involved (and souls definitely exist in Lord of Light - there are some "bad guys" that are essentially just souls).

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