- "And they will rise from their graves to march upon the world of the living. Each and every mortal that falls will swell their numbers until only a world of darkness remains. Only then will the world know of the eternal order that lies within the peace of Undeath."
- —Grimoire Necronium, Chapter XII, from the Book of W'soran.[2a]
Necromancers are amongst the most cursed of all those who practice the magical arts, for they have damned their souls and exchanged their humanity for the ability to raise the dead and command them to wage war upon the living.
Such willingness to damn one's soul is often a sign of desperation, for at the heart of each Necromancer's morbid obsession is the need to escape the inevitability of death and to subjugate and punish those who have persecuted him in the past, regardless of the cost.[1a]
Once these men and women go upon this dark road, there is no going back, for although they may extend their lives beyond the mortal limit, death is still an inevitability, and the Death God shows little mercy for those who would transgress his will and deathly domain.[1a]
It is usually Men, rather than the longer-lived races, that delve into the study of necromancy. These few individuals are not necessarily evil to begin with. Some may desire knowledge for its own sake; others may seek immortality, or to prolong the life of a loved one.[1a]
Regardless, something about their unnatural pursuit invariably turns them to a darker path. Perhaps it is the horror and revulsion their fellows feel for them, or perhaps the pulsing energy of Dark Magic that warps their minds. Either way, when men take to the path of necromancy, madness is just as much an inevitability as death itself.[1a]
To learn the dark art, an aspirant must find either a Necromancer or a Vampire and become his apprentice. It is from this need to learn the dark arts that often drives Necromancers to become servants of the Vampire Counts, hoping to learn firsthand from the masters of undeath themselves.[1a]
However, such servitude often comes at a steep price, for once a Vampire takes in an apprentice, they are bound to the Vampire for all eternity. In order to avoid such a fate, some have gone the path of studying the forbidden lore by reading through unholy books.[1a]
Seeking out books of forbidden lore has its own perils altogether. Many are copies of older texts from long-forgotten times, and there is no guarantee that any of the rituals found in them are correctly transcribed. Some simply do not work at all, and others may go disastrously wrong. Even with all the danger, these individuals still persist to accomplish their goals.[1a]
As a person follows the dark path of a Necromancer, they become ever more detached from their mortal roots. Morbidly questing after the secrets of death, a Necromancer who is deeply steeped in the lore of the dead stands on the threshold between worlds, neither wholly alive, nor one of the Undead.[1a]
Their body twisted with unholy power, their mind seared by the horrors they have witnessed, a Necromancer often has more in common with their lurching, moaning minions than with the living they seek to slay.[1a]
- "Drifting between the living and the dead, a Master Necromancer summons Undead minions to fight enemies on his behalf."
- —The Masters of Necromancy.
Extending their lifespan beyond their mortal limits, these evil mages are truly powerful sorcerers that have the ability to conjure up an entire army of Undead all by themselves. Ancient and malevolent beings, they have since lost all touch with their former humanity.
- Arkhan the Black, the Liche Lord.
- Heinrich Kemmler, the Lichemaster.
- Mannfred von Carstein, ruler of all Sylvania.
- Nagash, first and greatest of the Necromancers.
- W'soran, first of the Necrarchs.
- The Dread King
- Helman Ghorst, chief Necromancer of Mannfred von Carstein.