Necromancer Gameplay Guide I have found my necromancer roleplay to be my most enjoyable character so far through skyrim and I have tried many different builds and styles across hundreds of hours of gameplay both in oblivion and skyrim. What is Necromancy?: Necromancy is often referred to as black magic, and it was primarily used for communication with the dead. It can be both the summoning of a persons spirit form or the actual reanimation of the body. The rituals involved vary immensely but most summonings or spells require a sacrifice. Cannabalism is often associated with necromancers because often the rituals may involve the consumption of the dead. Necromancy in Skyrim: Throughout skyrim you will frequently encounter necromancers, necromancy itself is feared and those who practice it are shunned or persecuted, forced to operate away from civilisation, although it is not illegal. Playing a Necromancer: As a necromancer you need to heavily invest in the conjuration tree, I personally choose every perk except those for apprentice,expert and master spell magicka reduction. This is because you do not need to cast spells frequently as a necromancer. I choose to also invest in the atronach line for versatility, necromancy also involves the summoning of demons and daedra are essentially demons so the summoning of the atronachs and the dremora lord is a part of this build. Necromancers are also masters of life forces so restoration is important, the necromage perk increases the max level of all dead enemies that are reanimated, this includes npcs with the dead thrall spell. the increased magicka regen perks are also useful as well as avoid death, after all if anyone is to avoid death it should be a necromancer. Alteration is very important too because you will not be wearing any armour, I like to invest in novice alteration, then apprentice, then i go for 3 levels of mage armour and 3 levels of magic resistance, after that get adept alteration and stability to increase spell duration. As well as the useful flesh spells alteration includes the detect dead spell which is very useful for keeping track of your dead thralls. Do not get the atronach perk it makes conjuration spells have a 30% failure rate as they are classed as being cast on yourself. Illusion can be a useful school for the necromancer, Fear spells in particular are excellent to keep enemies away from you whilst your undead minions chase them down. You will need most of the perks except the cost reduction, dual casting is important because it doubles the level of the enemies the spell will effect, so if it would make them flee up to level 9 then when dual cast it makes it level 18, with master of the mind and necromage, illusion spells can effect undead up to level 70. Invisibility can also be helpful whilst your summons do the work. Destruction should be focused on frost spells, as ice helps preserve the bodies. Take the dual casting and impact perks as well as both augmented frost perks and deep freeze. Frost spells also help negate your main threat, melee enemies by slowing them down, reducing their stamina and paralyzing them. You could also invest in the shock perks as a Necromancer could possibly use electricity for experiments on the dead, avoid the disintegrate perk though because you will not be able to reanimate or thrall the bodies that turn to ash. As for the other skills it is mostly up to you, I invest in enchanting and alchemy too, obviously armour is not needed, 2 handed is useless. bows could be useful for supporting your summons and sneak could be good in combination with silent casting to summon and hide in the shadows. Necromancer Races: Race really does not matter, any race can be excellent as a necromancer it is more down to your personal preference. However I believe Bretons to be the best because of their excellent magic resistance, also any other race with resistances can be good such as dunmer or nord. The high elves +50 magicka bonus is great too but it is not as important for this build as very few spells are cast per fight, and with dead thrall you do not need to cast any spells, therefore I believe a race with resistances is far more useful. Standing Stone: It has to be the ritual stone. This allows you to reanimate all surrounding dead bodies in a large AoE once per day, incredibly useful in many situations. It is great for reanimating the dead minions of a boss npc and using them against him, you can easily get into the low teens in numbers. Equipment: You need Necromancer robes or self enchanted black robes preferably hooded. as well as boots, gloves and enchanted jewellery. I would reduce the cost of conjuration by no more than 25% if at all because it is not necessary, you would be better off with enchantments you find useful maybe destruction reduction or fortified carry weight etc. Fortify magicka is better than fortify magicka regen because regen is incredibly slow in combat no matter how much it is increased. Higher magicka also means faster regen as it is calculated by a % of total magicka. I like to use the ring of namira for roleplay too, as many necromancers are cannibals. Weapons: Your minions are your weapons but a back up is also good, I like the bound sword, bound bow could also be used. Ancient nord sword also fits well because a necromancer would likely use a weapon from the dead burial sites, any dagger will work well too. The ghostblade is an excellent weapon due to its low carry weight, its ignore armor effect and it looks the part. Enchantment wise I would suggest Fear because when you use your weapon it will be a last resort so enchanting your blade to fear the living and/or the dead can be very useful, alternatively frost magic and soul trap is always a good combo for a necromancer. Spells: Your primary spells at low level should be reanimate, summon fire/frost atronach, fear and ice spike. As you master the skills of the necromancer your main spells will become storm atronach (only for dragons), dremora lord for tanking and damage dealing. The icy spear spell because it is an accurate projectile(so less likely than blizzard or ice storm to cause damage to your summons). Rout for crowd control and finally Dead Thrall. Dead Thrall: This is such a useful spell that it needs its own section. With dead thrall you can permanently reanimate any npc, not creatures, not draugr but only npcs. The duration is permanent until they die and upon death they do not ash so they can be re-thralled. You can kill them then store your things in their body and then reanimate them for easy moveable storage, but you have to kill them to access it. you can place new weapons on their body but they will only use the exact armour they die in, you can remove it and smith and enchant it however and then return it and they will use it. You can thrall unique npcs like Orchendor, he retains his teleport ability when thralled making him an amazingly powerful follower. In my experience the most powerful thralls are Volkihar vampires, and you need to be a high level and have Necromage to thrall them. Do not place valuable items in thralls as they often go missing. The level cap is 40 unless you have Necromage then you can reanimate vampires up to 50. Unique Thrall NPC's: Orchendor: Maintains his teleport ability (which heals him) he is an incredibly powerful mage. Permanent corpse. Rigel Strong-Arm: Very powerful bandit chief. Permanent corpse. Anska: Is from the scroll for Anska quest, she's a powerful mage. Permanent corpse. Umana: Is from the quest to retrieve the elder scroll she has targe of the blooded, she seems to shield bash much more frequently and is a good tank. Permanent Corpse. Sulla: From the same place as Umana he is a spellsword in imperial officer armor. Permanent corpse. Cicero: Will continue to dance and keep voice clips after death. I believe his corpse is permanent but I have not tested him. The reason I list if they have a permanent corpse is because if they do, you can kill them and store them in your home which allows you to swap thralls whenever you want to. I'm sure there are also many other named NPC dead thralls with permanent corpses too, but do not assume each named npc will be permanent. Those in towns for example will disappear to the hall of the dead. Followers: As a necromancer you need your assistant to do all the grave digging, most characters of this nature would have a submissive less powerful follower that they use and manipulate for their own ends. Therefore I like to use Sven as my gravedigger in his original clothes and with his normal weaponry. However you could go for any follower you like. With twin souls and dead thrall you have 2 zombie followers + your follower + your horse(shadowmere is recommended)+ an animal follower (dog/troll etc depending on dlc) you can also get followers that summon and/or equip your followers with summoning staves and the sanguine rose for an unstoppable party. Summary: I hope you found my guide informative, I know it is very long but that is why I called it the ultimate guide haha. I must give credit to The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages or UESP, it is a very helpful source that has been an aid both in writing this guide and all throughout oblivion and skyrim for me. Enjoy Summoning your undead!