A video blogger, user-named Mittierim, recently reviewed the classic book, The Complete Fighter’sHandbook on his Youtube channel, Mittierim gave a fair assessment of the book from a modern perspective; I had tried to comment, but apparently, for whatever reason, Google has deemed it necessary to ban me from commenting on Youtube. I had sent him a message, telling him that I enjoyed the video, and about my feelings in regards to the book in question. It actually stirred up more feelings about the book than I thought were really there, which was surprising to me; so today, I’d like to write my own review about the book, from my perspective.
ADDENDUM: Our friend Brandon Lighter whose blog is The Rosetta Drake had this to say on Google+
As just-another-specialist-wizard, the Necromancer hardly bears discussing as a separate class -- though the Complete Book of Necromancers helps this tremendously (giving a lot of love to the classic villain -- including 1st and 2nd level spells that let them animate skeletons and zombies, albeit only 1 per casting), thus making low-level adventures to stop the zombie-creating apprentice Necromancer make sense. They are no more or less powerful than any other specialist -- though party tactics and the nature of encounters the DM runs can skew this one way or another (i.e. invoker has a clear advantage if the game features large-scale combat too heavily).
One of my longest-running campaigns featured a PC Necromancer who was the only truly good character in the entire party. The party (in 5 years and 28 levels of playing) never acquired a cleric, so the Necromancer quickly stepped up into that role, loading up on spells like: Hold Undead (in place of turning), paired Empathic Wound Transfer and Vampiric Touch (taking her allies wounds on herself then healing them at the expense of their enemies in place of more normal healing), and rampant Reincarnation at high levels (in place of Raise Dead). With the exception of VT for work-around healing, the character was otherwise a committed pacifist, studying the powers of death in order to understand how to counter them.
Talking about Games said:
That's a really good blog post, thanks a lot for mentioning me! So far, my favorite versions of d20 Necromancers are the ones presented in "13 True Ways" and in "Adventures Dark & Deep". If you are curious about those or haven't seen them already, here are the links:
Talking about Games reviews 13 True Ways, and Adventures Dark & Deep
The first one feels powerful and customizable without 'stealing the spotlight' from the other members in the party. The second one is pretty standard old school stuff, but the spells, the ability to create magic items and affect undead make it a lot better.
I also somewhat liked the 3.5 versions presented in "Libris Mortis" and "Heroes of Horror", but the former felt too fiddly, and the latter felt too powerful at times.
CORRECTIONS: Paolo Greco (AKA: Tsojcanth) whose blog is Lost Pages pointed out that Enchant an Item is also associated with the school of Invocation, so Necromancers ARE able to create magic items.
A Treatise On Mages & Armor in AD&D, 2nd Ed.
AD&;D Rare Metals Breakdown
Crafting Systems in Tabletop Games: AD&D, Second Edition
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