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This article was written by the god Dentin, and posted on Jul 23, 2012.

Dentin's Guide to Running Experience with a Necromancer

I've received a lot of questions regarding advice for necromancers, and over the years I've acquired a very distinct playing style for my necromancer characters. This style will probably not work for everyone, and it has its drawbacks, but it may be useful to those willing to put in the time on a necromancer character.

Note that this style of playing is purely for running experience with a primary level necromancer, preferrably with mage and cleric classes and secondaries. If you try to use this technique to kill big, powerful monsters, you'll probably be disappointed - other tanks and minion setups work much better on large, dangerous creatures.

Minions

To start with, I always use a clay man as my tank. The clay man has decent hitpoints, but most importantly, it is quick and easy to cast, and doesn't require any materials. Quick and easy is important, because unlike most necromancers, I expect my tank minion to die. A lot. It's not uncommon for me to create more than one clay man per fight as they die. It takes an awful lot of wood to maintain that pace with wood woads.

Next up, I summon an ebony scaled familiar. This is an unusual demon to use, and most necromancers aren't aware of it's true power: it has hitpoint regen. Normally, this wouldn't be important, but it's the only way to heal skeletons. Skeletons are a limited resource, because you have to go get more dragon teeth if you go through them too quickly, so it's important that they be able to heal at least somewhat.

For my main damage dealer, I raise a ghoul. The ghoul's only purpose is to do damage and tear through enemies. If your ghoul gets too low on hitpoints, you can stop and wait a minute or two for the ghoul to heal back up. You can also create a new one if that's faster or easier.

After these three minions, raise as many skeletal warriors and mages as you can muster. The skeletons are your backup damage and also serve to take hits every now and again. Every hit that hits a skeleton doesn't hit you, and with the ebony scaled demon your skeletons will slowly regain hitpoints.

Note that I'm not using any shadow fiends or any of the other, more unusual minions. I picked this minion set for its simplicity and ease of replenishing - with these, you don't need to screw around with materials, which means you can spend more time collecting experience.

It's also really important that you not let enemies gang up on your minions. You may be able to handle one or two enemies at a time, but if you start getting swarmed, your minions will be quickly overrun. You can sometimes use the 'bone prison' spell to help out with this, and you may also be able to simply retreat if conditions allow.

One final note: don't bother to heal your minions unless you're in a truly desperate situation. It's usually much cheaper to recreate a new minion than it is to heal a damaged one. The only case where it may make sense is with raised undead, which often can take a lot of mana. On the plus side, raised undead naturally heal very quickly.

Equipment

The most important thing to remember about this style is to not worry about hitroll, damroll, ac, or combat gear. This playing style is designed for a necromancer, not a warrior - stand back and let your minions do the fighting. Your job is to keep your minion army between you and the enemy. You should almost always join the fight to make sure you get full experience, but don't expect to do any damage. Mostly, you'll want to join the fight so you know the best time to soulsteal.

However, even though you're not using combat gear, you'll still want to bone up a little bit on protection. Specifically, use the bone shield and bone armor spells: these give your character a LOT of hitpoints, which means you have a lot more time if you get into trouble. These items also help with hitpoint regen, which means you won't have to heal as often when you do get hit.

To reiterate: you are going to get hit by enemies before your minions rescue you. You should have enough hitpoints to take a few hits, and if you have spare mana, use it to cast protective spells. Avoid using sanctuary - it's just too expensive to use unless it's on very specific, hard mobs.

After bone shield and bone armor, the most important thing to focus on is mana regen. In order to support your minions, you're going to need enough standing mana regen to maintain your clay golem and rebuild him when he dies. I recommend a minimum of 20-30 mana regen on your equipment. This is usually enough to recast your clay man periodically and still have mana left over for protective spells and refresh.

Once you've got enough mana regen to run properly, start adding cast level into your set. You'll find that the power of your minions goes up dramatically as you raise your cast level and that you'll be able to take on harder mobs.

If you don't have any cast level in your equipment yet, start out with weaker zones and slowly work your way upward. Make sure you maintain your mana regen!

Skills

Combat exp is only part of the picture. There are many, many necromancer skills that can be used to gain experience as you move from creature to creature:

  • Most importantly: set up an alias, usually a single letter like 'j', to cast soulsteal. You'll want to soulsteal from any mob you can, as long as you have mana to do so. Soulstones have a lot of uses other than raising undead.

  • Set up aliases to harvest spell components and teeth. If you can't carrry any more teeth, drop some and keep harvesting.

  • Bloodsac corpses to help keep your mana up. If you aren't having mana issues, you can sometimes gain extra experience by having your minions consume corpses instead.

  • Learn brew potion with your mage class and use the harvested spell components to brew random potions. Remember that soulstones, coldfire, and cleric 'create food' mushrooms are all brewable.

  • Soulsteal and soulforge for even more experience.

  • If you have spare teeth, don't be afraid to use them on bone prisons.

  • Summon various types of demons to do things for you using your collected soulstones.

  • Use lifetap to trade off hitpoints for mana. If you get really low on mana, sometimes it's faster to lifetap nearly to death, then use deathly sleep to regen quickly.

  • Learn remove and cure poison in case you end up poisoned. Poison can kill your hp and mana regen, which is a death sentence for a necromancer or spellcaster.

Always keep your eyes out for other spells and skills that can give experience while you're on your exp run. Think about which things give the most experience for the least amount of effort or time, and make sure you use lots of different things to mix it up.

Areas

For areas, make sure you rotate through a lot of different zones. If you stay in one area too long, the experience in it will start to drop. As soon as you start seeing the warning messages about not getting full exp, move on to a different area or different mobs.

Below level 30, the islands of Kordan and Archais are excellent places for necromancers. I always keep a list of between 4 and ten areas that my character can handle. This allows me to move quickly from one area to another as I finish it, and makes it easy to keep track of where I've recently been.

When an area starts getting too easy, I take it off the list and watch out for new areas to add.

Remember that you can run experience more quickly on small creatures that aren't worth a cap than big things that are hard to kill.

At level 30 and higher, you might still be able to use the higher level zones on Archais, but usually by this time you'll want to move to the mainland of Alter Aeon. I generally run my characters in areas with a lot of wandering aggro mobs. This is dangerous, but also the best experience.

Final Thoughts

There's an awful lot you can do with necromancers once you learn the various play styles, but the best advice is to split things up. Get your experience wherever you can, and remember that skill/spell experience builds up quickly if you use it a lot.

Good luck!


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