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Secrets of Necromancy V1.1 $1.50
Publisher: Zodiac Gods Publishing
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2009 01:45:03

This is a sizable document - partly due to taking a rather broad and vague concept of its topic to include "black magic", divination, flesh golems and some half-baked Cthulhu Mythos references - but much of it is not particularly usable. I couldn't include the races, necromancer class or many of the rituals as written.

The best of this product is its description of a number of real-world deities centred around the portfolio of death (each with its different interpretation of that concern) and the Acolyte of Darkness abilities for characters serving each of them. The publisher has recently dropped the price to $2.95, which is probably as much as I would want to pay for it and not unreasonable as a sourcebook for some variant abilities for wizards, warlocks and clerics. There is a lot of disappointing material to sift through to get there.

I didn't actually mind the minion creation idea too much, if it is restricted to minions. I somewhat like the idea of a necromancer commanding a horde of uglies all to attack on one of his actions, and it's no worse than what wizard dailies can do.

A particularly poor judgement, though, was the thoroughly gratuitous illustration on page 56.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, Jim. Actually, I most enjoyed writing the section on the deities, an area which thankfully didn't require a lot of new mechanics. Given that this is my first foray in to rule-heavy compendiums for 4th edition, I'm taking everyone's comments and suggestions very seriously, both to improve new versions of this book and to help in the development of future books, so drop me a line if you like about any specific details you want to suggest.

With regard to the mythos content: yeah, it wasn't really intended to be a mythos book, but rather to offer up the trappings of such for a DM to use or disregard as he sees fit. For the better part of the book I was hoping to develop something that worked best in the classic sense of a toolkit, but than can be a problem for some people if the various features end up only providing a small portion of content useful to someone's game.

On the minions: I felt very much the same way you do, and really am looking forward to some official content that handles minion summoning rules from WotC. In the interim, my local gaming groups have had a lot of fun with undead summoning, and it seems to work rather well in actual play.

On the illustration on page 56: you are the second person to raise issues with regards to that particular illustration, which my wife drew. It was the principle reason I added the warning about mature content (or somesuch) in the ad listing. I asked my wife about what she intended with that illo, and to my surprise she said it was a "robbery in progress," and so I mentioned to her that some people (who knows, maybe a lot of people) were taking it rather differently. Not sure I would still exclude it,'s very hard to find free art for a small production like this, but definitely will take in to consideration with any future releases that some people may have issues with sensitive content such as this specific piece.

Anyway, thanks again. My last note is that, given how much I enjoyed writing the section on deities (Anthropolgy graduate here with a pervasive interest in mythology) I am thinking that a really interesting angle to explore for future works would be on culture-specific settings, such as a book on Mesopotamia, or Mesoamerica, in which the myth, history, and culture of a given period and location is provided a detailed treatment suitable for inclusion in an existing 4E fantasy campaign. I think I migh enjoy working on that a great deal more than the surprisingly gruelling effort it takes to produce a class book!

Anyway, thanks again Jim.
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Secrets of Necromancy V1.1
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