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.
Starting equipment Edit
- 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.
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Rank titles Edit
To play a necromancer, you need to learn to leverage the role's skills and techniques. Otherwise, you would be playing a weak fighter or subpar wizard.
The necromancer is not an easy role to start. You begin with 100% failure rate in both summon undead and command undead. Fortunately, you have one option that sometimes works, the technique of raise zombies, which produces pets from corpses. Unfortunately the technique fails if you use the wrong type of corpse or position the corpse on the wrong square. (Note that if you are playing a vampire, the raise zombies technique will still work on corpses you have drained of their blood, so acquiring an undead army does not prevent you from getting food. On the other hand, vampires must often move quickly in the early game to get enough food to survive, while zombies are quite slow to follow you.)
The necromancer's real strengths emerge as the game unfolds. First, their first sacrifice gift, Serpent's Tongue, is an excellent melee dagger weapon that will increase your striking power exponentially through poison damage. Completion of the necromancer quest will yield an even better weapon, the Great Dagger of Glaurgnaa, which drains enemies just like Stormbringer and grants magic resistance when carried. Between the two of these weapons, you should be able to find a weak point on most opponents (other than the undead and the fungal) -- poisoning the demons in Gehennom, draining the angelic beings and elementals in the planes.
Later still, you can wish or possibly have bestowed on you by your god the fantastic chaotic club Bat from Hell. Since the necromancer can become skilled in club, this becomes one of the preferred weapons for cleaning out Gehennom.
Two of the necromancer's main assets only become apparent in the late/endgame: the class's natural immunity to sickness and drain life attacks. Although sickness is a minor concern early on (though it's nice not having to worry about tainted meat after clearing out a roomful of giants), it is the primary weapon of three late game figures: Juiblex, Demogorgon, and Pestilence. Your sickness resistance makes you completely immune to Juiblex (necromancers are encouraged to nap in Juiblex's belly) and eliminates most of the problems you will have with Demogorgon and Pestilence. Although this may seem like a limited domain of application, consider that Demogorgon and Pestilence are probably the two most dangerous figures in SLASH'EM. Sickness resistance almost nullifies the considerable threat they pose to your ascendable characters.
Drain resistance isn't bad, either. It certainly takes away the stress of dealing with graveyards full of wraiths and vampires, and more or less eliminates the need to genocide V. Eventually you'll find monsters zapping wands of draining at you, too; the necromancer has nothing to fear from this attack, which will bounce off (Boing!) like a wand of striking against magic resistance.
Of weapon and spell skillsEdit
Necromancers should dump their quarterstaff as soon as they find any kind of dagger or a dwarvish mattock ("broad pick"). Droven necromancers may want to unwield their quarterstaff at turn 1, and fight bare-handed until they find a dagger or dwarvish mattock.
First enhance your skill in dagger and pick-axe, then enhance your spellcasting skills. To save skill slots, you should never enhance your dart skill. You may wield a dagger for melee, but a dwarvish mattock is the better melee weapon. Do collect daggers and throw them as ranged weapons.
Spellcasting will become easier as you gain experience levels. You should find and wear armor, though it will interfere with spellcasting. To cast a spell, use the "A" command to take off your body armor and shield.
Necromancers can eventually become extremely powerful offensive magicians, attaining expert in both Attack and Matter magics. Be sure to practice these skills as often as possible (while balancing your early game magic use against your lack of food). If you can find an early spellbook of flame sphere or spellbook of freeze sphere, you may wish to use them to attack shopkeepers. Hide around the corner of their shop and summon a score of spheres in succession; the shopkeeper will not leave his store. Since you are chaotic, you will suffer no penalty for murder (though you will be called an evil rogue if you rob the store without killing the shopkeeper -- go figure).
Of the first ghoulEdit
You might want to abandon your ghoul because it is slow. It is dangerous to explore the dungeon while petless (especially if you have AC:10 and lack a useable attack spell), though, so try to retain your ghoul until you tame one or more faster pets, such as cats or dogs.
To retain your ghoul, allow it to follow you into a corridor; then when you find a room, wait in that room until the ghoul arrives. You may want to search for hidden doors and closets while you wait. Keep an eye out for a magic whistle, which will speed up the necromancer considerably and make your undead army much more manageable.
Ghouls and ghasts only eat old corpses. This means that you have an opportunity to do something with each fresh corpse, before your ghoul tries for it. With a prepared technique of raise zombies and a suitable group of corpses, you might try to raise them -- though in the early game nutrition should come first. A gnome zombie is rarely worth the time it takes to shamble into a fight.
Your ghoul will eventually starve to death unless it occasionally eats something. Good candidates to feed your ghoul are any corpse while you are satiated, poisonous corpses, dog and cat corpses, and the corpses of other undead. Linger around the corpse until your ghoul eats it. If your ghoul is too hungry and you do not want it to starve, you can also give it a lizard corpse from your inventory. Alternatively, if the ghoul does starve, you can track down his corpse and resuscitate it with the raise zombies technique.
Leading an undead armyEdit
Eventually, you will have leadership of a group of ghouls, ghasts, zombies, and other undead. Employment of this group of pets is important to your survival, especially in the early game when your armor is scant. Ghouls and the more powerful zombie classes (human, ettin, giant) will make the difference in your early battles.
A ghast or a zombie is equally slow as a ghoul, so be wary of wandering too far from your undead army. At your third experience level, you always detect all undead on the level. You may want to set the hilite_pets option to more easily know which ones fight for you.
Use your pets in battle. Displace or walk around your pets so that they form a barrier between you and hostile monsters. Your opponents die sooner if multiple pets attack them. Even if you have only weaker creatures that seem unable to hit or damage, the diversion that they create will give you time to flank your opponents and strike with attack magic.
Zombies do not eat anything, so do not worry about feeding them. If you have enough pets, ghouls and ghasts should last long enough before they starve.
As you advance in SLASH'EM, you will encounter two realities: that monsters will kill some of your pets, and that you may not be able to lead larger groups down the stairs. Bring some, if not all, pets to each new level, and create more pets.
Undead pets can also stop next to shopkeepers and attempt to fight, while always missing. You may have to abandon such pets. You can also attempt to "push" them out of the shop by trying to displace them; this will cause them to move. However, keeping it away from the shopkeeper and leading it out of the shop is more difficult.
In the late game, undead pets will be almost useless (especially in the event that you choose to genocide L). If you like to bring pets into Gehennom, consider the tame demons that will be assigned to you by Gothuulbe when you sacrifice at his altar.
Managing your foodEdit
Without any food in your inventory, you should #pray as soon as you reach the Weak state, so that your god can fix your stomach. Even if you find a food ration in the first room or level, you may wish to hold off on eating it for a few hunger cycles by praying until you secure a steady supply of food. You may need to avoid praying at other times, so that the prayer timeout does not interfere with your pious diet. Because you are sickness-resistant, you can eat zombies and mummies (though remember kobold varieties will still be poisonous) -- some of which will be fresh.
If, early on, you find food items with relatively little nutrition value, you may want to save them to tame pets, to join some domesticated followers to your undead followers. Collect things like holy wafers and sprigs of wolfsbane to tame pets.