|Material required?||Humanoid corpses to animate|
|80/100 giving extra checks?||no|
|Obtainable in game?||no|
This dark and forbidden art allows the user to create undead creatures which will serve him (or her). But there is a price to it... and don't forget to bring the necessary corpses for animation. Using this skill permanently drains your Mana attribute, although it is said that your Mana very slowly regenerates itself (but this really seems to be a tedious process).
It's also important to note that Necromancers using this skill are a lot more versatile than simple dabblers in necromantic affairs. Necromancers receive a wide variety of choices for the type of undead they wish to create (starting with level 18).
Applying necromancy allows the PC to select the corpse of a humanoid from their inventory and, if successful, raise it as an undead slave/companion. Failure to apply the skill will result in the corpse being destroyed, and some PP being lost. The skill level acquired seems to directly affect the success of the attempt, with lower scores resulting in frequent failures and high scores (90+) guaranteeing success.
For non-Necromancers and Necromancers below level 6, the slave created will be either a zombie or a skeleton. Successfully creating such will result in a permanent loss of 1 Mana point, and some loss of PP (which seems to depend on the level of monster created). Necromancy trains Mana very quickly, though; the PC will thus only suffer a very short term disadvantage, which usually is not much of a problem at all if they do not raise any more slaves until the point has been regained. Successful application of necromancy also results in an alignment drop.
The level of the created slave 'adjusts to [the PC's] power', although the monster's level is not exactly that of the PC. Instead, their level appears to determined by a function of the PC's level and the monster's own level whilst it was alive. The slave's stats also seems to be influenced by those of the monster it was raised from, speed in particular. Beware not to raise a blessed or cooked corpse — else the slave will already be moderately damaged upon creation.
Note that whilst Necromancers can command their slaves without fail, non-Necromancers using the skill will create companions rather than loyal slaves — meaning that whilst it is possible to issue commands to the monsters (using Ctrl+o), like with any companion they may refuse orders if the PC is not charismatic enough.
As the manual points out, Necromancers have more benefits and flexibility with the skill than any other PCs that somehow manage to acquire it. Necromancers can command any slave to attack, move, follow or wait, without fail. From level 6 onwards, Necromancers start to get different choices of monsters to raise a corpse as, each with a particular Mana requirement. For example, level 6 Necromancers can raise a corpse as a ghul at the cost of 1 Mana point, whilst level 16 Necromancers can raise a corpse as a wight at the cost of 2 Mana points.
The costs of using the skill are halved for level 40+ Necromancers.
Whilst most races practise this chaotic version of necromancy, Mist Elves of lawful and neutral alignments will use white necromancy instead when applying this skill. More details about the white version are found on the appropriate page.
Tactics / Advice
With regards to using necromancy effectively, the choice of corpse is very important, as is the choice of slave type. Undead slaves inherit some of the characteristics of the corpses they are summoned from. This means that, by far, the best corpses to reanimate are those of the quickling family. Quickling slaves are extremely fast which makes them excellent in battle, and they can keep up easily even with really fast necromancers. Do be aware of accidentally enraging them, though! An errant spell or throwing the fire orb into the hole on D:48 can result in an instant death as a powerful slave kills its master before it can react. If quickling corpses aren't available (in the midgame, they appear in the wilderness), it is best to reanimate strong and bulky monsters, such as giants.
Always reanimate slaves in the Small Cave! Monsters generated there are higher level than you, around twice or higher if you're doomed.
What slaves are worth creating? While any kind of slave can be immensely helpful if raised in the Small Cave from the proper corpse, some are certainly better than others. Ghuls are very good options early on for their paralyzing attacks. Skeletons and later, skeleton warriors are good if you have massive amounts of bones at hand: they don't regenerate by themselves, but by giving them bones, you can heal them much faster than other slaves naturally heal. (To get lots of bones, wander on the roads in the wilderness for a while. Skeleton patrols and lone necromancers summoning skeletons can get you a lot.) However, if you don't wish to manage their health with bones, they are poor choices. Monsters that pass through walls (such as ghosts and wraiths) are good choices as they can keep up very easily with you. Liches are also not bad, with their paralyzing attacks and spells, although they may not be worth giving up 8 Mana. Avoid Mummies, who are vulnerable to fire without any other particular advantage to their name.
Black necromancy is also very good for training the mana score. Upon using necromancy the mana attribute is trained a lot. Assuming that casting from health is avoided, the lost mana point is guaranteed to be recovered on the next skill check. The next skill check after that is also close to guaranteed to yield mana. Since a skill check is made every time PC gains a level, a lot of mana can be gained with small amount of planning in the early game. Fastest way is to have one mana point recovered naturally and then leveling up which often yields another point of mana. Mana training only works with black necromancy as white necromancy costs 2 points and therefore does not yield extra mana. This is tested with mist elven necromancer in version 1.2.0.
White necromancy has also uses in the mid and late game. White necromancy can be used to generate living slaves. Living creatures can be healed which means that ultra healing potions can be obtained easily from Jharod. For example homunculi can be healed with healing spells which also moves alignment towards lawful. Players going for ultra lawful ending can also fairly easily get a highly experienced living slave in the small cave, which can then be continuously healed with healing spells. Small cave is also a good source of enemies strong enough to continuously hurt the slave.
Other PCs can obtain the skill only by magical means — i.e. wishing, a scroll of education or a potion of education. Almost all non-Necromancers cannot train the skill very well; Paladins cannot train it at all.
Successfully applying the skill. There do not seem to be any attempt marks given for failed uses of the skill.