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Necromancy in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 5th Edition (5e) refers to a magical practice that is both fascinating and feared by many within the game's universe. At its core, necromancy involves manipulating the forces of life and death. This manipulation includes summoning the dead, reanimating corpses, draining life energy from others, and even conversing with the spirits of the departed.

What is Necromancy?

Necromancy is one of the eight schools of magic in D&D, known for its focus on the energies that govern life and death. Practitioners of necromancy, often called necromancers, are capable of casting spells that can heal as well as harm, bring back the dead as servants or allies, and even foresee future events by consulting the spirits.

Necromancers in D&D

Necromancers in D&D can be of any character class, but they are most commonly associated with Wizards who specialize in the school of Necromancy. These necromancer wizards study the secrets of life and death, seeking to understand and control these fundamental forces.

Necromantic Spells

Necromantic spells in D&D are varied, ranging from those that deal damage by leeching life from opponents, such as "Vampiric Touch," to spells that raise the dead to create zombies or skeletons as minions, like "Animate Dead." Other spells can protect the caster from death, restore health, or even bring the dead back to life.

The Role of Necromancy in a Campaign

Necromancy can add depth to a D&D campaign, serving as a tool for storytelling and character development. It can present moral dilemmas and challenging decisions for players, especially when dealing with the ethics of raising the dead or using dark powers for personal gain. Necromantic spells and characters can be integral to a campaign's narrative, serving as formidable adversaries or powerful allies.

Playing a Necromancer

When playing a necromancer, consider the character's motivations and how they view the power over life and death. Are they seeking knowledge, power, to bring back a lost loved one, or perhaps to protect others? This backstory can greatly influence how the character is played and interacts with the world and other characters.

Ethics and Necromancy

Necromancy is often viewed with suspicion and fear by the inhabitants of the D&D world. As such, characters practicing necromancy might face prejudice, fear, and hostility from others. This adds an interesting dynamic to role-playing, where necromancers must choose how openly they wield their powers.


Necromancy is a complex and richly themed school of magic in D&D 5e that offers players and Dungeon Masters alike a wide array of narrative and gameplay possibilities. Whether used for good, evil, or something in between, necromancy can add a layer of depth and intrigue to any D&D campaign, challenging players to explore the ethical implications of wielding such power.

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