And why they may not be all bad
Necromancers and Necromancy get a bad rep in D&D. Mostly because of undead and the association that is what Necromancy is all about. But things were not always like that.
In 3.0 I believe, and also early editions, Cure spells were part of Necromancy. Actually, in 2nd Edition, Cure Spells were part of the Healing ‘domain’ – divine and arcane magic was quite different back then but worked on the same principals/systems.
I don’t think I have ever played a Necro before, but in theme with recent character posts I thought I should take a look at this (and also because one of our players wants to play one).
So, how do you play a Necromancer without been Evil and without creating undead? Well. Firstly, that cuts out about 40% of your spells. Oh well. Not that bad. You can still play a Wizard that Specialised in Necromancy, and ‘focuses’ on fear spells, disease, poison and the like. A whole lot of things and spells without worrying about Undead.
Now, me, because I love Eclipse, would build a character using Eclipse and even Block him from creating Undead (for fear of losing all his powers) and create a sort of arcane/divine meld that hunts undead but can still use negative energy and dark spells for other things. Fear again. Fear is awesome. Can change the face of battle in a mere moment.
So, Lets actually think about this:
I would take 2 x Ranger/Pal progressions. One for Arcane and One for Divine. And a corrupted Base Caster Level. That is only 8cp per level for your magic. Your Spell Lists would have to be approved by the DM as well, although, I would probably make them spontaneous casters anyway – that way the GM might be a bit lax on forcing a spell list out of you. In any event, I would block Evocation Spells and have a Restriction on Creating Undead. In conjunction with this, I would add in Channelling – the Damaging Version that destroys / harms undead rather than standard turning.
I would also probably have high Will and Fort Saves as well as good hit dice (d8 is ok) and a fairly ok BAB.
So, Let’s look at spells then:
Level 1 spells in the Necro area include – Inflict Light Wounds, Cause Fear, Ray of Enfeeblement.
Thats just a few out the top of my head. Which will be enough to get your low level Necro build going and keep him alive. May as well throw in Cure Light Wounds there as well, and possibly Remove Fear or Mage Armour.
For ‘fun’ throw in the Eldricht Magic feat to make your spells look different. Mage Armour can then look like a set of bones or even rotting flesh to further terrify your enemies.
So, in this line of thinking, you can get away with playing a Necromancer. Even in a ‘Good Party’. But he will probably still not be a good aligned character. Many of the fear spells even head down the ‘evil’ route. So Neutral yes, Good probably not.