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Is Necromancy illegal in Waterdeep?

Nowhere in the Legal Code from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist does it say one way or the other, nor even is it implied within any other rule - not even those related to religion, temples or gods.

I do think that if you use a necromancy spell to raise a corpse, you're sort of "stealing" the body of somebody's relative. In Waterdeep, is that considered theft?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried to better align your bottom line question with the rest of the question. Please review the edit, and revise if necessary. Welcome to RPG.SE. Thanks for your question; please take the tour and visit the help center to see how to get the most out of an SE Q&A site. Thanks for joining in, and happy gaming. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 18 '18 at 16:44
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I'm assuming that you are referring to the Code Legal from "Waterdeep Dragon Heist". At least from the handout I could find online, there are two obvious legal ramifications with getting a dead body to raise:

  • If you produce the body by killing someone, this is obvious murder.
  • If the body is dead and buried, you'll have to engage in Tomb-robbing, which is listed as a crime against the gods. An obvious secondary charge would be "disorderly conduct within a temple", if you raid a crypt still considered as belonging to a temple.

This leaves you the technical option of raising some who recently died, but has not yet been buried. This one is a bit more difficult and I guess it will depend on the circumstances:

  • If the death wasn't natural causes, you are possibly hampering justice.

  • If the dead body didn't simply lie on the street, you are likely committing Burglary to get to it.

  • There is also the possibility you mentioned, of calling it a theft.

Finally necromancy itself might be problematic:

  • Some gods like their dead to stay dead. Raising some skeleton thus is an act of "public blasphemy".

  • The city officials do not like roving zombies in the streets, in other words, necromancy can be considered disturbing the peace.

  • There is also the "Using magic to influence a Lord/official/citizen" charge, which might be invoked, especially if you annoy someone important, as even a dead noble might still be considered a noble.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the big obstacle here is obtaining bodies without resorting to murder or grave robbery, what about voluntary donations? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Nov 18 '18 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells That's an amazing idea. I like the idea of the Watchful Order having a number of skeletons/zombies on hand to use as shock-troops thanks to people "donating their bodies to the service of Waterdeep". \$\endgroup\$ – syntheticbrain Jan 2 at 16:24

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