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Necromancy and Conjuration (summoning and binding) are topics that were fairly thoroughly addressed in previous editions of D&D, and these topics certainly pop up often in fantasy literature. I don't see these in the D&D 4e books anywhere, are they addressed at all in this edition? Are there any add on books that cover them?

Inspired by Raising Dead and Binding Daemons

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Summoning was introduced as a new keyword in Arcane Power on pg 98:

New Keyword: Summoning Powers that have the summoning keyword bring creatures from other planes to serve you in a variety of ways.

  • It is an allied Creature
  • It Uses your Defenses (not including temporary bonuses)
  • Hit Point Max is equal to your bloodied value
    • When it drops to 0 hp you lose a surge
  • It has no healing surges
  • It has no actions of its own, you have to spend actions to command it
    • you need line of effect
    • it lists a number of actions you can command it to do as a minor action
    • powers may have other actions you can specifically command it to do
  • You make attacks and checks through the creature (again, without temporary bonuses)
  • Lasts until end of encounter unless otherwise stated

It also has new build: Summoner Wizard. There are a number of powers in Arcane Power that have the summoning keyword.

PS: I don't know much about the necromancy side of this question, other than there is necrotic damage...

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I pulled this reply from the StackRPG twitter feed:

PerilBanhua: @StackRPG I remember someone asking about Nercomancy resources. It can be found in Dragon Magazine 372

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And one final point:

Open Grave includes a number of necromantic rituals, including Undead Servitor. The resulting servant is a non-combatant, which may not satisfy the need for necromantic play, but see Baelnorn's point about reflavoring powers. If I were playing a necromancer, I'd use a warlock with a lot of necrotic powers and take a few Open Grave rituals.

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I think the class/build requiring the least amount of reflavoring would be a Dark pact warlock. –  user660 Sep 24 '10 at 23:32
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yhw42 pretty much answered the question. However, there are two things I'd like to add.

First: Shadow power source

The DnD product catalog entry for Heroes of Shadow (scheduled for March 2011) lists a necromancer class to be included in that supplement. But I can't say if that class is going to include undead summons or not, sorry.

Second: Reflavoring

Anyway, if you want to reflavor a certain aspect of the game the DMG encourages you to go ahead and change the description/appearance of your powers or feats or magic items (as long as it doesn't give you any additional advantages beyond an altered appearance). So you can certainly make all summons from Arcane Power appear as undead or purely elemental creatures if they aren't already.

Also, if your DM agrees you can also change damage types. There's that example in the DMG of swapping all paladin powers that deal radiant damage over to necrotic damage if you want to play a paladin following an evil deity. However, in that case the DM should definitively know what he's doing because changing damage keywords can really alter balance. It can open up horrible loop holes (side effects with certain feats or items) or leave the character weaker than intended (e.g. switching too many powers over to necrotic damage in a campaign with many resist necrotic monsters).

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