Heroes of Shadow Necromancer and Nethermancer

Necromancer Nethermancer Wizard 150x150 Heroes of Shadow Necromancer and NethermancerAs we march ever closer to the Dungeons and Dragons product release of the Heroes of Shadow Heroes of Shadow Necromancer and Nethermancer players supplement, more teaser information is released each week. This week, we have a few details on the new Wizard class options.

Necromancy and Nethermancy

By broad definition, Necromancy and Nethermancy mean arguably the same thing. In a recent Wizards of the Coast article, the Heroes of Shadow release will differentiate them as follows:

“Necromancy became the magic of death, and spells in this school created undead, destroyed flesh, and did a lot of dirty and nasty stuff. Nethermancy became the magic of darkness, and its powers involved magnifying fears, creating and manipulating darkness, and forming it into monstrous forms.”

Essentially the distinction seems to be that necromancy affects the flesh, and nethermancy affects the mind. So that raises a simple question– would you prefer to conjure evil spirits, or zombies?

Traits Shared by the Shadow Schools

It would be silly for shadow classes to be weak against enemies with necrotic resistance, so DnD has a class feature solution– auto-hit at-will powers that reduce necrotic resistance. The new classes also have abilities that give enemies damage vulnerability, and at high enough levels, their attacks may completely ignore necrotic resistance.

Heroes of Shadow Necromancer

This one is easy. It is just about everything you might imagine it to be– summon undead, destroy undead, make really nasty things happen to the flesh of the living. Wizards has not had to do a lot of explaining for this class, because we all intuitively understand. It lives up to our expectations.

As far as the controller role goes, it seems this Necromancer option will lean toward striker in much the same way as the Essentials Druid (leader) build leans toward striker.

Heroes of Shadow Nethermancer

When it comes to Nethermancers, Wizards has had a lot more explaining to do. Nethermances will be able to summon spirit companions in much the same way that Necromancers summon undead, but their specialty will be the more subtle shaping of shadows. They will likely be true controllers, in that they will focus more on control through various status effects rather than damage.

A Shadowy Digression

As odd as it might sound, when I read about the Nethermancer I immediately thought of Gandalf the Grey from the Lord of the Rings. If you read the books, you might remember that Gandalf was proficient at manipulating light and shadow, and in many scenes, Gandalf’s powers were depicted as attacks on the mind rather than the dazzling fireballs or lighting bolt effects you see in Harry Potter. Even inherent in the name “Gandalf the Grey” is the suggestion that he is not completely pure. If he were to be played as a D&D Nethermancer, you could easily explain the “grey” by saying he had given up a piece of his soul for the advantages of shadow magic.

Your Thoughts?

How do you feel about the Nethermancer and Necromancer options for the Wizard class? Are you dissapointed that these were not created as new, unique, classes, or do you embrace a myriad of Wizard options?

1 comment for “Heroes of Shadow Necromancer and Nethermancer

  1. Galen
    March 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    This is one part of the new book that gets me really hopeful. Having two schools means a substantial amount of new wizard powers. On the idea of shades of grey, any wizard having the option to dabble in the “dark arts” with “evil” powers is a great thing. I am hoping for more powers that weak.

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