Today on Magic Types, we’ll examine one of the most notorious and deadliest types of magic, Necromancy. This won’t take too long since the art of Necromancy is not as broad as other types. The basic definition of Necromancy is:
"The ability to control the spirits/bodies of the dead for a multitude of effects."
Effects of Necromancy
Necromancy range from talking with the dead to bringing them back in different forms.
Basic Necromancy include Zombies and Skeletons with their power depending on the mage and the person that brought back.
The two main ways to do Necromancy are controlling the corpse with mana or controlling the soul attached to the corpse.
There are some unique versions of Necromancy I want to showcase. These show the upper limits of what Necromancy is capable of.
One amazing use of Necromancy I want to touch on is the one presented in the Webtoon “Solo Leveling”.
Jin Woo resurrects the mana of the fallen to create shadow soldiers that sometimes keep their personalities.
This type of Necromancy, one I would lovingly call Shadow Necromancy, is better than the common type. The shadows can hide in Jin’s shadow, regenerate, and teleport.
Another unique version can be seen as the opposite of Jin Woo’s.
I'm thinking of Tyrca from the visual novel Venus Blood Frontier. Her sword, the Nibelung, can temporarily bring the spirits/souls of the dead back to life with their memories and original strength. I’d call this Spirit Necromancy.
If I had to rank the types of Necromancy forms then it would go like:
• Lv-1: Skeleton
• Lv10: Zombie
• Lv50: Shadows
• Lv90: Spirits
• Lv100: Full Resurrection
This is just in general, Necromancers like Dark (Hardcore leveling Warrior) wouldn't be Lv1.
Necromancy's place in the world
If your story has magic that can revive the dead already then the initial purpose of Necromancy is gone.
In most stories, Necromancy is created when someone wants to bring back a loved one and no other magic could do it. After that, some would see the potential of Necromancy and then use it to enslave souls to create armies.
But, when the ability to bring back the dead through other means already exists then it's forced into the evil route. Only people who want an undead army would put in the work to create Necromancy.
Because of this Necromancy is usually used by villains and then seen as evil. After all, the main appeal of Necromancy is creating a slave undead army.
There are exceptions like the ones I mentioned before like Jin and Tyrca. The Necromancer can also befriend their summons if they want. This is a more moral and interesting way of using Necromancy.
An example is the MC of the manga “Yondome wa Iyana Shi Zokusei Majutsushi.”
Finally, if your story is dystopian then necromancy would be a noble and desirable skill.
An undead army would cost much less than a living one, no complaints, no food costs, no rest and no pay. Only cost would be weapons and the Necromancy.
Every major force would have an undead army.
See what you can do with that idea.
Necromancy and Morality
Ignoring the user, is Necromancy an evil art?
In my opinion, Necromancy like everything else can be used for evil or good. Necromancy is just a sub-type of summoning and soul magic at it’s core.
Necromancy at it’s most tame is used to give peace to souls that have passed and those left behind. It can also allow fighters to protect their loved one’s behind the grave or gather information.
The problem comes in when the user forces and enslaves the souls to do things they don’t want to do. Jin Woo had the option to go down this path but respected the wishes of one of his shadows to rest in peace.
Necromancy is as beautiful of an art as white magic given the right usage.
The question is; do your characters have the will to resist the temptation of controlling one’s soul?
If you want more info on Necromancy then check out the video below by the talented YouTuber Mythology and Fiction Explained.
I've said my piece. With that, I’m done.
About the Creator
I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.