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Overclockworked
I'm looking to make a necromancy type villain for my upcoming Shadowrun 5e game and was wondering about a few things.

1) I've read chatter about "Houngan" voodoo priests but I'm not sure what edition or book they're sourced from? I know its probably not 5th but I can adapt (that being said if there are 5th adaptations out then yes pls).

2) As I understand it, true resurrection is not possible in Shadowrun correct? This guy would be summoning spirits (dubious whether they're deceased or just spirits) and stuffing them into corpses right?

3) I was thinking about an alternate system where he ties his essence into his zombies. He temporarily invests part of his soul into a corpse to animate it, but at the obvious cost of having no cyber and weak healing. If he spreads himself too thin he might get lost in his zombies, like he tries to speak but instead a zombie gargles or he tries to pee but unzips the zombie's pants. The PCs could even use this as a way to kill him by forcing him to spread his soul so thin he snaps. Obviously this mechanic doesn't belong on a stable NPC. Bad, good, awful?

4) Any other ideas for a modern necromancy type, has anybody here run this archetype with particular success? I want this guy to be a charismatic, elusive type that uses a combination of illusion and necromancy to do stuff. He's not going to start off as "bad", at first he'll probably just be collecting corpses for animating. But when the PCs start to really push him about the corpse collecting he's going to reveal an awful, vindictive temper and start using his zombies to do terrorist attacks in their neighborhood. The initial thought was zombie suicide squads and bombers of course, but I'm wondering about what other modern-things a necromancer could do? (these are fast zombies)

Most of all I'm emphasizing the modern aspect of this guy. Im not looking for undead army, lich in a tower type dude.
Sendaz
1) You will want to look at Street Grimoire for the Vodou Tradition. Also might want to read 4th edition version in Street Magic.

2) You are correct, no resurrection. Voodoo is a Possession Tradition, meaning you summon spirits that can take over a body/object. However it doesn't really make permanent zombies unless you are binding and such.

Again magic in SR is a bit different than many systems and we don't have a lot of the 'fire and forget' magics and effects.

3) Interesting concept, but sounds like more than a bit bookkeeping to keep track of it all.

4) Depends on how you define necromancy. In SR ghosts are generally NOT the spirits of previously dead folk, rather they are spirits who imprinted themselves on those dead people's patterns for whatever reason.
Likewise there is ongoing debates on whether Ancestor spirits are really your ancestors or just spirits pawning themselves off as such.
However if you define yourself as someone who specializes in handling spirits, whether aiding or dealing with rowdy ones, it can be done.

Likewise since you will have the same summoning limits like a regular mage, you won't have armies of zombies normally. Again the magic works a bit differently.

What possession spirits are good at is turning an enemy into an ally, if only for a time, but taking over a guard or two can turn a battle right quick.

Overclockworked
QUOTE (Sendaz @ Jul 20 2015, 08:56 PM) *
1) You will want to look at Street Grimoire for the Vodou Tradition. Also might want to read 4th edition version in Street Magic.

2) You are correct, no resurrection. Voodoo is a Possession Tradition, meaning you summon spirits that can take over a body/object. However it doesn't really make permanent zombies unless you are binding and such.

Again magic in SR is a bit different than many systems and we don't have a lot of the 'fire and forget' magics and effects.

3) Interesting concept, but sounds like more than a bit bookkeeping to keep track of it all.

4) Depends on how you define necromancy. In SR ghosts are generally NOT the spirits of previously dead folk, rather they are spirits who imprinted themselves on those dead people's patterns for whatever reason.
Likewise there is ongoing debates on whether Ancestor spirits are really your ancestors or just spirits pawning themselves off as such.
However if you define yourself as someone who specializes in handling spirits, whether aiding or dealing with rowdy ones, it can be done.

Likewise since you will have the same summoning limits like a regular mage, you won't have armies of zombies normally. Again the magic works a bit differently.

What possession spirits are good at is turning an enemy into an ally, if only for a time, but taking over a guard or two can turn a battle right quick.


Thanks for the book reference! Also the idea of a spirit that's imprinted itself on somebody is intriguing, especially if its imitating someone famous or an ancestor. Possession is an interesting take on "necromancy", and I like how they don't necessarily have to be brainless despite being a corpse.

The spirit survives the death of the host right? This guy could keep implanting the same malicious spirit into new bodies and have it blow them up, assuming its bound for long enough?

Also he won't have direct control over them, just like a normal spirit yeah?

Temporary zombies and only a few fit my needs perfectly. My initial thought beyond bombing was having a suicide squad where they go in wreck some data then cause havoc til they die. Like a shadowrunner team except possessed corpses. A series of break ins where 3-4 well equipped "runners" always end up dead, but from several weeks before the crime.
Sendaz
I would recommend reading through the various sections of Street Magic and Street Grimoire first as it can be a bit convoluted.

One big change in 5th is possessing spirits no longer provide Immunity to Normal Weapons to the Possessed Host, which is sort of a bummer but understandable for balance sake.

You do get services from the spirit just like normal so it is not direct control but more like you give a command and it carries it out to the best of its abilities.
You will also want to look at the Channeling metamagic which allows a spirit to possess YOUR body but you still retain control of it along with their abilities.

As for moving from body to body if you have sufficient amount of services you can make it hop around a bit, but see below about damage carrying over.

Damage & Possession: However please note if the spirit or the vessel has already sustained damage, that damage sticks around upon successful possession, but only the greater
set of the combined Wound Modifiers applies (modified by the spiritís Force, for living vessels).
Physical damage incurred during possession is recorded as a single track, and both vessel
and spirit retain the full amount of this damage when possession ends, which is cumulative with
any previous damage.
When possession ends, the vesselís Physical attributes return to normal while the damage stays in place, so this damage
can have potentially lethal side effects.

So if you have the spirit remain in the body while it gets destroyed it is going to fill that physical track and be disrupted and be treated like any normal spirit sent back to their home plane.
Similarly the damage does add up so you can end up disrupting through cumulative possessions.
That is not to say you can not resummon that spirit again, but it may not appreciate it too much if it knows its going on another kamikaze mission.

That said, if you are using it as bomb runners, you could have them move into place and then dismiss the spirit seconds before the bomb goes off so the spirit gets clear and only the body is lost.
Likewise if you have having the possessing spirits in fights, it is a courtesy to withdraw/release them before they go down for the count as noted above under damage.
You don't have to and some do not care if the spirits get disrupted, but I like having a working relationship with my spirit crew.

For example I once took over some guards so that they got into a firefight with the rest of their security team and when they are being chewed up I pulled back the spirits.
So while they were no longer possessed, the formerly possessed guards lifespan was mere milliseconds because they could not convey that fact to the rest of the corp guards hosing them down with lead.
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