Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Body, Bone, Soul: Necromancy in Tarfel
Two posts in one day! I better pace myself or I'll collapse from exhaustion. Truth is I've got a minor backlog of 21-ish posts at completion levels ranging from 0% to 25%. I try to knock out one every so often.
Carnomancy is the magic of the flesh. It makes wounds heal or fester, it restores withered limbs or makes healthy ones rot on the body. Carnomancy is the most common form of healing magic and also the least restricted. Carnomancers are also employed as animal and monster trainers, using magic to sharpen or dull some biological responses; they are also sometimes found working as torturers or loansharks, able to mete out and heal injuries. Carnomancers with an interest in undead can animate dead flesh, creating stereotypical zombies. Such zombies are sluggish because the magic coursing through them only animates their flesh, not their bones; without a skeleton to support it, undead flesh is limited to a slug-like locomotion. Needless to say, such activities are not well-regarded both for their desecration of the dead and the risk of disease.
Osseomancy is the magic of bones. It restores bones to their original condition, reshapes them and strengthens them, or warps into instruments of torture or violence. Ossemancers in civilized lands mainly work as bonesetters and surgeons. Like Carnomancers, some Osseomancers get involved in seedier business relations but they demand higher pay than Carnomancers. Their cost makes criminal Osseomancers somewhat of a novelty. The stereotypical undead created by Osseomancers are magically animated skeletons of all kinds. In most civilizations, Ossemancers make a point of avoiding the animation of humanoid remains, preferring to animate animal skeletons. Skeletons never cause as much panic as a zombie but they aren't exactly popular either.
Animancy is the magic of souls. It alone is the only component of Grand Necromancy that is nigh-universally outlawed, hated, and feared. Animancers manipulate souls, changing personalities, imposing terrible curses or dubious blessings, and denying souls their eternal rest by turning them into monstrous spirit-things. Wraiths are one of the many vile creations of Animancy.
Least Necromancy is the most common form of "True" Necromancy. Least Necromancers have a knowledge of both Carnomancy and Osseomancy as well as mundane sciences such as surgery and medicine. Least Necromancers rarely tend to be the types who raise an army of undead or what have you; they tend to operate openly as healers and secretly use undead they create as servants, orderlies, and test subjects for treatments that are too dangerous or illegal to practice on living people. The only dark side of the Least Necromancers is that they need bodies for all those assistants and test subjects. They acquire them most often by grave-robbing, although some don't mind murder either. Greater Zombies (or Fast Zombies as the unimaginative call them) are an example of a Least Necromancer's craft.
Lesser Necromancy is generally what people are thinking of when they hear "Necromancy". Lesser Necromancers know Animancy and either Osseomancy or Carnomancy, but never both. Lesser Necromancers can (and do) create small armies of undead. Because they taint Carnomantic and Osseomantic magic with Animantic elements, most undead they create tend to possess an instinctual hatred of the living and kill them whenever possible. Lesser Necromancers who master Animancy and Ossoemancy may eventually transform themselves into Liches; those who pursue Animancy and Carnomancy tend to create monstrosities such as the Blood and Flesh "Elementals".
If Lesser Necromancy is the popular face of the discipline in the eye of the public, Grand Necromancy is the popular (and most feared) face of Necromancy among Mages. Grand Necromancers unify Animancy, Carnomancy, and Osseomancy in a terrible synthesis. While Least Necromancers tend to be eccentrics and Lesser Necromancers are little more than local nuisances, Grand Necromancers can topple entire kingdoms. Thankfully, few individuals are focused and skilled enough to master all three of this discipline's components and so they are thankfully rare. Grand Necromancers can create exceptionally powerful undead such as Mohrgs, Mummies, and Vampires.