The Corporeal Necromancer

Here is a new template for new players, or rather a twist on the Bonisagus template. What say you?

This magus is fascinated by the human body, and conducts eerie and gross experiments on his subject-matter. His ultimate purpose is to accomplish some extraordinary magical feat - such as raising the dead. A specialist in Creo Corpus, he is often sought after for medicine and antisense. This archetype is based on the core book Bonisagus template, but specialized in a more typical area (instead of Auram).

The Corporeal Necromancer is based on the core-book Bonisagus template. The only changes are:

  • The two Affinity with (Art) virtues have changed arts, from Creo and Auram to Rego and Corpus.
  • Art scores have been switched around to their current values.
  • Spells have been replaced by the new selection.

Arts: Cr 12, In 0, Mu 0, Pe 0, Re 3, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 12, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 4, Te 0, Vi 0
Spells Known:
Restoration of the Defiled Body (CrCo 25) +25
Charm Against Putrefaction (CrCo 10) +24
Dust to Dust (PeCo 15) +12
Whispers Through the Black Gate (InCo(Me) 15) +4
Pilum of Fire (CrIg 20) +12
Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh (InCo 10) +12
Strings of the Unwilling Marionette (ReCo 25) +15

Customization Notes: In addition to the notes in the core book, it is worth noting that this character's major virtue, Secondary Insight, is not particularly well-suited to the concept and is considered a weak Major Virtue. It can be replaced with some other Major Virtue such as a Major Magical Focus in Necromancy, or with three minor ones (possibly including a Minor Magical Focus in controlling corpses and corporeal undead).

The Arts of Creo and Corpus were chosen for their in-game applicability: a Creo Corpus specialist is useful for healing and logevity rituals. It also has great topics for projects he is Driven to perform - we have chosen raising the dead. It is therefore a more "typical" choice than the Creo Auram of the base template. A more standard necromancer, however, would rely on Rego Corpus to control and animate bodies, so you may want to consider focusing on those Arts instead.

Consider why the character is so obsessed with raising the dead. You may want to take on a Flaw to represent this in-game, instead of one of the template's flaws. You may be plagued by the ghost of a person you killed (your family?), represented by Plagued by a Suprnatral Entity or a Dark Secret. Or maybe you have a Lost Love. Or so on.

Roleplaying Notes: The character is Driven to develop a spell that will raise the dead, improving on The Shadow of Life Renewed, probably with a higher-level spell. Even reaching the power-level required to learn TSoLR is a long-term goal, improving on it is doubly so.

Although primarily a lab-rat, the character picked up the standard attack spell Pilum of Fire to be "ready" on the fied; this is probably inadequate, but should be generic and useful enough to not make him totally useless in a fight. It can be replaced with some other spells, if desired.

Supplemental Customization: The character is effectively seeking to break a limit of magic, so should be interested in Original Research towards this aim (HoH:TL).

1 Like


Changing the Major Virtue to Focus: Necromancy is a good idea, although with the stated motivation it isnt quite so good though.
And a necro with that high Creo feels a slight bit off. Maybe lower it by 1-2 and use the XP to raise Re/In/Pe and Me a little bit might be suitable.

Did you fail to switch Rego and Creo? 3 seems pretty small for something you have an affinity for.

That's an editing error - I ended up just specializing in Creo Corpus instead of Creo Auram.

The intention is really to have a Bonisagus Creo Corpus specialist, instead of a Creo Auram specialist. But I agree that some Re and Me at least would make sense; I'll try to cram some in.


Creo Corpus focus suggests a researcher into healing rather than necromancy. Even an obsession with bringing someone back to life fits better with a healer mindset. Necromancers tend to be more focused on making use of things that are already dead without changing their alive/dead status.

anti senescence?
Because antisense is related to DNA transcription.

1 Like

The potential trouble with having him focused in CrCo for the purposes of raising the dead is that he is just as good a healer/longevity expert. But as it was said Secondary Insight is perhaps not the veyr best choice, a Focus seems better. I'd go for a minor one, leaving room for a Major Hermetic Virtue, or several other minor ones.
It was also mentioned that Rego might have been the correct Technique for him to focus on.
Also, as Shadow of Life Renewed has a Mentem req. he'd need to not completely shaft that form, otherwise he'd never be able to pull it off.

(Raising the dead is not ReCo?)

Having a major focus in The Dead meaning "spirits and bodies of dead animals and humans" seems like a perfectly reasonable Major focus to me. He can only heal dead bodies using his focus, so no potion expert for you. His studies of the process of decay will make him better than your weather witch at brewing longevity rituals, bu8t that is true for anyone that has a cursory interest in the human body. He is not a longevity expert in any case. Unless you are dead, and then he is the guy to search for to prevent your undead body from decaying.


Nope, Creo apparently. Shadow if the Life Renewed gives 'the semblance of life to a corpse'. Rego is for animating corpses.

My point was that such a magus, concentrating solely on Creo Corpus and only by way of Arts, and thus doesn't have a focus is just as good as raising dead as he is at healing or longevity (well, actually worse, since SotLR has a Me req.)
Of course, this magis is not as good as a *specialized' healer or longevity magus, who actually has a relevant focus.
But any specialist should IMHO have a focus, in order to differentiate his abilities, so he is better at a narrow field within his best TeFo that he is generally within those arts.

And as a Major Focus in necromancy seesm to cover elements of both Co, Me and An the corporeal necromancer (being more specialized) could 'save' virtue points by taking a more narrow, minor focus. or even reserve his major hermetic virtue slot, perhaps for either one of my absolutely favourite Major Hermetic Virtues: Flawless Magic or Flexible Formulaic Magic.

Well, animating already existing corpses tend to be the classic deal with necromancers... Not creating the corpse and then barely being able to animate it.

There is a canon example of Major Focus "Necromancy" already. Its very nice and broad so i would totally pick it for a necromancer character.

I know this is an old thread but need to give it some new life.
I am very new to Ars and out of haste made the stock lab rat with the Creo Corpus changes suggested at the following link. (which i believe is the same above)

Corporeal Necromancer (Template) - Project: Redcap

Since creation, I have shifted my focus to healing spells instead of necromancy.

After playing the game for a bit. I'm finding the Painful Magic Flaw to be limiting. I've searched this forum and others to find ideas to mitigate the flaw but either I'm blind or there is not a lot of discussions on the topic.

Any suggestions as to how I can minimize this limitation?

My immediate thoughts are Endurance of the Berserkers or a PeCo spell that prevents someone from feeling any pain for the duration.


If there was ever a thread for which necromancy was appropriate, this is probably it :wink:

Welcome the forum and to Ars Magica - we're happy to have you!

Painful Magic is harsh. Probably too harsh to be worth it.

@Samsaptaka suggests Endurance of the Berserkers which is not a bad idea, though I'd personally invent a D: Sun version or similar. D: Conc is not the best for that effect. Or the effect can be enchanted into the Familiar Bond if you have one of those.

My immediate thought however, would be to focus on devices rather than spells. After all, Painful Magic only kicks in when you cast spells. Not when you activate devices.


Other possible helps with painful magic are:
-Enduring Constitution Pro: makes two fatigue levels free of negative modifier; con: requires taking the virtue, doesn’t reduce number of fatigue/pain levels
-Withstand Casting Pro: Reduces fatigue levels taken so you only have to worry about pain levels with casting; Con: Can’t be used with fatiguing Spontaneous casting, requires virtue
-Stalwart Casting spell mastery ability Pro: doesn’t take virtue and the forethought that requires, reduces fatigue for mastered spell even if spell doesn’t succeed; Con: takes experience/time unless you have Flawless Magic, requires access to Mercurian spell mastery abilities

I have a Witch of Thessaly with both Flawless Magic and Enduring Constitution but had to think about how to limit the required major hermetic flaw. It is a rough one. I like the character but she does avoid casting more than she probably should.

Bummer that you're not enjoying the character! Any chance your troupe would let you change to a different flaw even though character development is over?

Maybe the change could be played out in saga. Gannon, an itinerate Merinita with smarmy presence shows up, sympathizes about the painful magic, and says, "I was just like you until I found (hushed tones) ....the cure." Mechanically he uses obscure cult lore to initiate you into a major Virtue that is effectively "Major Immunity to Magical Pain." Of course the Ordeal to gain this wonder leaves you with Magic Addiction, or "Necessary Condition: Gannon's Tonic."

Either way, you swap out the unwanted flaw for some kind of other ongoing difficulty. Plus you've now got a faerie drug dealer who shows up periodically to extort vis and offer you a variety of desirable minor hermetic virtues, but always with for a twisted price.

1 Like

Keep in mind that a Major Hermetic Flaw is supposed to be ... well, a major limitation :slight_smile:
Meaning that it will significantly hamper one broad class of magical activities.

Painful magic severely penalizes quick, easy spellcasting, the type you might get with relatively low-level mastered spells, or non-fatiguing spontaneous magic. It's terrible, for example, for the stereotypical fire-slinging Flambeau.

For a healer/necromancer, it should not be so bad.
First of all, it's essentially irrelevant if you are a Ritual caster: just wait 2 extra minutes, on top of the 15/magnitude of the Ritual, and the pain is gone. Even for non-Ritual healing, it only slows you a bit. Are healing magics things your magus casts over and over during a quick tense situation? The same is true for many necromantic magics: raise a corpse, and recover from pain while the corpse does its stuff. Last but not least, if you do have a few effects that you use over and over, enchanting a device with those effects should solve the problem.

Perhaps it would help if you posted what magics your magus tends to employ in slightly greater detail -- say, a handful of spells/tactics that you find particularly ... painful, with Painful Magic? That would help people get a better sense of the situation, I think.

The key to being more comfortable with Painful Magic is your Talisman. Put three effects into it: ReVi to sustain spells you have cast to Moon. Note that canonically this uses the non-halving guideline, as though you're casting it on a spell you've cast. Use the same guideline to suppress them as per Suppressing the Wizard's Handiwork. Include a PeVi effect to dispel Vim effects. Now, if you're clever, you can still have quite a few things available quickly as needed. This is a combination I recommend for everyone, but making sure it's all in the Talisman is especially useful here. Painful Magic will still be a problem, but you should feel like you can do quite a bit more with your magic this way.

Actually, Concentration is probably the best possible Duration for this.

Assuming you're using ReVi to maintain it, it'll work.
If you're not using ReVi to maintain it... I'll respectfully disagree :wink:

This comes from the "Talisman is part of you, and R:Per spells cast by one affect the other", right?
I would tend to agree, but I think some troupes would not. Do you know if there are any published examples?