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Version 0.21: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This page is about the player background. For the monster, see Necromancer (monster).

The Necromancer is a magician who specialises in the less pleasant side of magic. Necromantic spells are a varied bunch, but many involve some degree of risk or harm to the caster.

Necromancers are magicians who specialise in the less pleasant side of magic - that involving death and the undead. Since many enemies later in the game have some form of life protection, a Necromancer will probably have to branch out into other schools before they start facing demons.

Preferred Races

Hill Orc, Demonspawn, Deep Elf, Deep Dwarf, Vampire, and Mummy are the recommended races if you pick a Necromancer Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Necromancers start with the Pain spell memorised, and can also memorise Animate Skeleton from turn 1.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Necromancer adds 7 to your starting Intelligence and 5 to your starting Dexterity.


Necromancers have some extremely useful spells in their starter spellbook, including Regeneration. They are also the only background who start with the skills to make pain brand weapons useful.

Necromancers are more limited in their religious options than other non-religious backgrounds, as all the good-aligned gods (plus Trog and Fedhas Madash) punish the use of Necromancy severely. Luckily, none of the three major "magic" gods (Sif Muna, Vehumet, and Kikubaaqudgha) are among them. Kiku, in fact, offers powers and gifts designed especially for Necromancers, and is a solid choice for capitalizing on their strong start with the Necromancy skill, especially given that worshipping Kiku is likely to give you much more powerful offensive spells from his book gifts, as well as providing on-demand corpses which cover necromancy's biggest weakness.


Prior to 0.21, the book of Necromancy had Control Undead. The removal of this spell gives Necromancers no way to deal with incorporeal undead using its starting spells. It also lacked Borgnjor's Vile Clutch.

Prior to 0.14, Necromancers started with only 1 level of Spellcasting.

Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterAssassin
Zealots BerserkerAbyssal KnightChaos Knight
Warrior-mages SkaldEnchanterTransmuterArcane MarksmanWarper
Mages WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistVenom Mage
Adventurers ArtificerWanderer