Necromancers are part of the Darker side of the magical world. Though while associated with evil, their intent is not always so. Necromancers rarely enter combat directly, but instead send their undead and demonic minions to do their bidding. Common minions are skeletons (both human and other), demon avatars (imps, for example) other kinds of risen corpses (zombies, ghouls, etc.) and the immaterial dead (ghost, spirits, phantoms, poltergeists, whatever you like to call them). They also speak to the dead, making them a sort of spiritual median, which can earn them a bit of money.
That which I have told you thus far is general knowledge. What's next is my own little beliefs on necromancy's practice.(In other words, this may not be the way others see them, but the way I see them)
A necromancer's power is determined by the number of minions he/she can control. Rising a corpse or spirit is one thing, keeping it up, walking, and in control is another entirely. Many factors come into play, such as:
- What is being risen. Something small (like a dog) will be easier to control than something large(like a Dragon)
- The mental capacity of said Necromancer. A sane, concentrated necromancer will have an easier time controlling their minions if they can concentrate on the task at hand.
- The condition of the corpse. If something is beaten up and falling apart, it won't want to move and react as swiftly and smoothly than a well preserved corpse. (and this goes for spirits and their sanity, too)
- Interference. If another, more powerful Necromancer tries to control something under a weaker Necromancer's control, the more powerful of the two will win.
- Other minions. As minions are risen, they will require a certain amount of concentration to control (see bullets 1 and 2). If a Necromancer's concentration is split between several corpses, they will not be as obedient as the controller will want them to be.
When control of a risen undead is lost (completely, not taken by another necromancer) said risen will not keep it's new found life, it will simply collapse, or in a spirit's case, disappear. This can be useful, though, as abominations (pieced together corpses, such as Frankenstein Monster) can be salvaged by the lucky necromancer who finds it. This can also be used to store creations that the necromancer wants to save for later.
One last note, I often find it a nice idea for the magical users of a world to try and conceal their identities, yet also practicing their talents, by taking up jobs similar to their craft. So, it is obvious that a Necromancer's job of choice would be a Graveyard's overseer. Corpses aplenty, and only a few people visiting at a time. It's perfect.
I hope you've found this useful (or at least interesting). Until next time.