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Necromancy and superstitious prejudice against it: know the difference.

Nissiku
Nissiku
Soul Shriven
As I am really into Necromancy, and sometimes it gets under my skin when people keep repeating same old misconception about The Art...

NO, NECROMANCY IS NOT ILLEGAL, except for Morrowind, Hammerfell, and Valenwood, and maybe some other places. Necromancy not only perfectly legal in Elsweyr, but also traditional Khajiit culture sees no sanctity in a dead body and have no superstitious prejudices against Necromancy.

NO, NECROMANCY IS NOT "ENSLAVEMENT OF SOULS". It could be done, but you also could burn orphanage with Destruction, which does not mean that Destruction is school of magic that burns orphanages - it's an obvious logical FALLACY. Furthermore, known necromantic texts advice against trying to do so (with an unwilling soul), even for a practical reasons - it's dangerous and have no benefits.

SOUL TRAPPING IS NOT DANGEROUS OR IMMORAL, UNLESS DONE WITH A BLACK SOULSTONE. Roughly speaking, there are two main components of a soul in TES, similar to Vodou, for example. There are "big souls", which are "fuel" - they can be captured by usual soulstones, and the there are "small souls" which are consciousnesses, and they can be trapped by black soulstones - it is enslavement of a soul, obviously bad thing.

And daedra summoning, when it concernes summoning unwilling sentient daedra, more dangerous and morally questionable than Necromancy.
Edited by Nissiku on April 1, 2019 8:41AM
  • VaranisArano
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    Mmm, there's a Summerset merchant I'd like to report for illegal summoning of a flame atronach pack animal then.

    I really don't recall Daedra summoning being illegal from a gameplay perspective in Summerset. There's a quest in Auridon that says that - and then the matter is dropped like a hot potato everywhere else.

    I think the stronger arguments are in terms of gameplay.

    In TES III, you can summon undead as a perfectly normal part of Conjuration. Black Soul Gems didnt exist in the lore yet, but you can soul trap whoever you like for enchantment. The Telvanni are fine with practicing necromancy on certain groups of non-Dunmer, but it's treated as a significant taboo when you have to pillage a Dunmer tomb for Llevule Andrano's skull for a necromancer in the Main Quest. (Yeah, remember that priest you help out in ESO Morrowind? Him, or some relative with the same name.) Moreover, the Dunmer have a very heavy cultural emphasis on ancestor...not exactly worship, but close enough. They/their ancestors use a lot of magic that might be considered necromanctic by outsiders, but it's all consenting.

    In Oblivion, the whole issue comes up in light of the Mages Guild confrontation with Mannimarco and his Order of the Black Worm. Hannibal Traven throws all the necromancers out of the Mages Guild, and they largely turn to banditry and very unsavory methods as they join up with the much less restrained Order. This is also where we first see the distinction between white and black souls, with the creation of black soul gems under the Necromancer's Moon and with Mannimarco hinting that the souls captured are still conscious. However, even a Mages Guild member in good standing can still summon undead minions through conjuration! So the MG ban seems to be on reamination of corpses and Black Soul gems.

    Skyrim flips this around a bit. Conjuration no longer has summon undead spells. However, for the first time, players can reanimate the dead - and the town guards arent too happy about it. We also get our first glimpse at the actual fate of soul-trapped people. They wind up as prisoners in the terrifying Soul Cairn under the domain of the mysterious Ideal Masters, with whom powerful necromancers like Valerica and Durnehviir tried to bargain with for power. Furthermore, we find out the difference between a Black and white Soul because the Falmer used to have Black souls until the Dwemer warped them to better serve as fuel for their automatons.

    ESO thus far has not allowed players to summon undead or reanimate the dead...and that's about to change! We know some of the cultural viewpoints on necromancy still.
    Redguards despise it, but won't fight their dead ancestors.
    Dunmer happily practice rituals on their own ancestors, but hate if anyone else does, while not caring about practicing Necromancy on anyone else, clearly seen in the Pact questline.
    Argonians want the bodies and souls returned to the Hist.
    Imperials tended to be much more comfortable with daedra worship and necromancy prior to the Planemeld.
    The Psijic Order forbids necromancy and expelled Mannimarco for his work.
    The Mages Guild has allowed some elements - enchanting with souls - but also draws a hard line at organization.

    The thing with TES lore is the lore is a conglomeration of biased viewpoints and that how its meant to be. I find it much easier to debate from the gameplay of previous games, and fron there we get a pretty clear picture of necromancy in Tamriel.
  • Nissiku
    Nissiku
    Soul Shriven
    It was my mistake about Summerset and summoning - it's from some speculations that took place a while ago, not official lore. Other than, that, however, my points are still valid.
    Edited by Nissiku on March 31, 2019 12:57PM
  • RealWhiteGuar
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    The Khajiit tend to burn their dead, at least down towards Anequina.
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  • dazee
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    The Khajiit tend to burn their dead, at least down towards Anequina.

    The only way to be sure.
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  • Nissiku
    Nissiku
    Soul Shriven
    Edited by Nissiku on April 1, 2019 8:50AM
  • Ratzkifal
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    Nissiku wrote: »

    Thanks, I've been looking for that source for a long time! Sload airships carrying corpses, corpse trading in Elsweyr, Orc corpses being greatly sought after... it's all there in one book! :smile:
    This Bosmer was tortured to death. There is nothing left to be done.
  • LMar
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    Ratzkifal wrote: »
    Nissiku wrote: »

    Thanks, I've been looking for that source for a long time! Sload airships carrying corpses, corpse trading in Elsweyr, Orc corpses being greatly sought after... it's all there in one book! :smile:

    That book is written from the viewpoint of a necromancer so it's quite biased.

    All these sound like the debates of necromancy apologists. I suggest you read some books from the other viewpoint.

    What you need ti remember is that the Mages Guild regulates magical law so it has the power to ban or not necromancy
    So in provinces it is most active it bans thr practice esp in this time period with Vanus while in Cyrodiil currently the MG was banned by the corrupt government which was infiltrated by the Worm Cult
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  • Korah_Eaglecry
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    Ive always found it odd that every culture in Tamriel has a very specific reaction to necromancy yet somehow it isnt banned or outlawed. Its a pretty vile art that cultures like the Redguards go out of their way to head off and actively prevent. And considering how many undead armies are roaming across Tamriel in the year 2E 582 you'd think someone would have the brilliant idea to outlaw it. Then again, I imagine necromancers arent the types to turn themselves in to the local guard on his morning patrol. So there just might not be a need to outlaw the act since it will inevitably lead to a violent confrontation anyway that will either result in the necromancer dying or slipping away. I also imagine most necromancers do it for more personal reasons, that have no need to erect a giant gangrene neon advertisement that says "stereotypical bad guy here with nothing better to do than make your old dead aunt nancy harrass your neighbors".
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  • luizhd
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    People have a disdain for bosmers for being cannibals. It's cultural. Not everyone will see the manipulation of a dead body as a normal thing to be done.
  • ArchMikem
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    Technically the Mage's Guild is the defacto authority on all Magic in Tamriel and under Vanus Galerian Necromancy is a "banned" practice. I use quotation marks cause its banned in the sense that people will be very cross with you.

    OP sounds more like a Necromancy lover who just couldnt take the opposition anymore and wanted to defend what they think is cool.
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  • VaranisArano
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    ArchMikem wrote: »
    Technically the Mage's Guild is the defacto authority on all Magic in Tamriel and under Vanus Galerian Necromancy is a "banned" practice. I use quotation marks cause its banned in the sense that people will be very cross with you.

    OP sounds more like a Necromancy lover who just couldnt take the opposition anymore and wanted to defend what they think is cool.

    Kind of. https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Guild_Memo_on_Soul_Trapping

    In that book, Vanus Galerion explains that the current acceptance and prevalence of soul trapping is due to the expansion of Mannimarco's order convincing people that its totally okay to soul trapping everything and anyone and that it will take time for the Guild's stance to become dominant.

    So while the Guild certainly disapproves of Necromancy and bans its teaching and use, the authority of the Mages Guild doesn't hold absolute sway over Tamriel and its easy to speculate that in places where the Order of the Black Worm made significant headway (particularly in Cyrodiil) quite the opposite might be the case.

    Of course, its still going to make most people cross with you, and still going to get you a bounty from the town guards.
  • DocFrost72
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    The reason you can't argue pure logic and rationality when discussing the legalization necromancy is that it is a very emotional magic.

    To illustrate: I could likely convince you that raising a body isn't harmful by necessity, or at least any more so than being able to conjure fire from my hands. What I could not be sure I could convince anyone of is that they would be okay with me raising their loved ones or favorite pets for my own use. It feels like a violation, a desecration of things you once loved.

    I can tell you intellectually my old pet is gone, but if you elected to raise her I'd have a very strong emotional response. And you may have to duck :innocent:
    Edited by DocFrost72 on April 5, 2019 4:28PM
  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    Some evidence from the game:

    While I was hanging around in the Vulkhel Guard Mages Guild hoping to catch the guild savant's pronouncement on inter-evocative hermetic harmonic resonance I heard her say this about Necromancy:

    vlUUmCJ.jpg

    The fact that the guild savant had to take it upon herself to ban Necromancy in her own classroom implies that it is not automatically banned on Mages guild premises. It was the savant's personal decision to ban it here, not the Guild's. The fact that some of the savant's students had been enquiring about why she had banned Necromancy implies that it is not automatically a banned practice for Mages Guild members or guild savants.

    This also suggests that Necromancy is not completely banned by either the civil or religious authorities in Vulkhel Guard.
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  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    Perhaps issues of privacy and consent are relevant when judging the legality of Necromancy. Doing it on the street is defined as a criminal act in game mechanics. Doing it to other peoples' ancestors without consent is clearly not OK from the point of view of those other people. Doing it to your own ancestors in the privacy of a family tomb is clearly an intrinsic part of some cultures. Doing it to enemy troops and civilians in wartime also seems be acceptable to your own side because the enemy's privacy and consent are not an issue in wartime.

    I wonder if there will be Justice Achievements from criminal acts of Necromancy.
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  • BretonMage
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    I think there are two factors affecting the morality of necromancy. The most obvious one to me is the issue of consent, as Raddleman mentioned above. A necromancer is basically taking control of a person's soul/soul energy, without their consent and against their will. It's a violation of their natural rights.

    Perhaps it would less immoral if you acquired their consent first, but then you have the second factor that is actually laid out here in Elder Scrolls lore: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Necromancy, where it summarises the TES position:

    "Necromancy has generally been considered immoral and illegal in most cultures, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits."

    You may like necromancy, but you can't sweep the moral implications of its activities under the rug. I mean, I usually play a fairly moral character in TES, but in ESO I spend 50% of my time thieving because it seems to be one of the few ways to get motifs and plans. I just have to accept that it's immoral.
  • Ghanima_Atreides
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    Nissiku wrote: »
    As I am really into Necromancy, and sometimes it gets under my skin when people keep repeating same old misconception about The Art...

    NO, NECROMANCY IS NOT ILLEGAL, except for Morrowind, Hammerfell, and Valenwood, and maybe some other places. Necromancy not only perfectly legal in Elsweyr, but also traditional Khajiit culture sees no sanctity in a dead body and have no superstitious prejudices against Necromancy.

    It's also super-illegal in Summerset, and Bretons don't practise it openly either. As for Skyrim, obviously in the times of the Dragon Cult Necromancy was completely legal and commonplace, but by the 4th Era Nords have become as suspicious of it as any other form of magic, and more than some because they are quite attached to their ancestral tombs. There's a NPC in Skyrim who complains about his family tomb being "defiled by filthy Dark Elf necromancy". Phinis Gestor from the College of Winterhold warns you against using it openly.
    Nissiku wrote: »
    NO, NECROMANCY IS NOT "ENSLAVEMENT OF SOULS". It could be done, but you also could burn orphanage with Destruction, which does not mean that Destruction is school of magic that burns orphanages - it's an obvious logical FALLACY. Furthermore, known necromantic texts advice against trying to do so (with an unwilling soul), even for a practical reasons - it's dangerous and have no benefits.

    Well...it kind of is. It binds the soul to the corpse in order to reanimate it, so it enslaves it on that basis. In Skyrim, reanimated corpses showed a certain sentience and awareness of this condition, sometimes begging you to release them.


    Edited by Ghanima_Atreides on April 7, 2019 9:45AM
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  • LMar
    LMar
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    Some evidence from the game:

    While I was hanging around in the Vulkhel Guard Mages Guild hoping to catch the guild savant's pronouncement on inter-evocative hermetic harmonic resonance I heard her say this about Necromancy:

    vlUUmCJ.jpg

    The fact that the guild savant had to take it upon herself to ban Necromancy in her own classroom implies that it is not automatically banned on Mages guild premises. It was the savant's personal decision to ban it here, not the Guild's. The fact that some of the savant's students had been enquiring about why she had banned Necromancy implies that it is not automatically a banned practice for Mages Guild members or guild savants.

    This also suggests that Necromancy is not completely banned by either the civil or religious authorities in Vulkhel Guard.

    You can't really judge a whole guild's or society's rules from a single off hand comment of teacher. It could be she's just joking around with one liners to get the attention of her students. I assure you Vanus would go ballistic if she did practice nevromancy in her class.
    "If a stick of fish is a fish stick, it will stick like other fish sticks stick"
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  • Bruccius
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    BretonMage wrote: »
    I think there are two factors affecting the morality of necromancy. The most obvious one to me is the issue of consent, as Raddleman mentioned above. A necromancer is basically taking control of a person's soul/soul energy, without their consent and against their will. It's a violation of their natural rights.

    Perhaps it would less immoral if you acquired their consent first, but then you have the second factor that is actually laid out here in Elder Scrolls lore: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Necromancy, where it summarises the TES position:

    "Necromancy has generally been considered immoral and illegal in most cultures, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits."

    You may like necromancy, but you can't sweep the moral implications of its activities under the rug. I mean, I usually play a fairly moral character in TES, but in ESO I spend 50% of my time thieving because it seems to be one of the few ways to get motifs and plans. I just have to accept that it's immoral.

    UESP does not provide a citation for that claim, thus it is worthless.

    Necromancy is permitted in most cultures on outlaws, since outlaws have no rights.
  • BretonMage
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    Bruccius wrote: »
    BretonMage wrote: »
    I think there are two factors affecting the morality of necromancy. The most obvious one to me is the issue of consent, as Raddleman mentioned above. A necromancer is basically taking control of a person's soul/soul energy, without their consent and against their will. It's a violation of their natural rights.

    Perhaps it would less immoral if you acquired their consent first, but then you have the second factor that is actually laid out here in Elder Scrolls lore: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Necromancy, where it summarises the TES position:

    "Necromancy has generally been considered immoral and illegal in most cultures, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits."

    You may like necromancy, but you can't sweep the moral implications of its activities under the rug. I mean, I usually play a fairly moral character in TES, but in ESO I spend 50% of my time thieving because it seems to be one of the few ways to get motifs and plans. I just have to accept that it's immoral.

    UESP does not provide a citation for that claim, thus it is worthless.

    Necromancy is permitted in most cultures on outlaws, since outlaws have no rights.

    Surely you know better than to call UESP "worthless". That statement is a summation of the position of various cultures in Tamriel on necromancy, in which you will notice, if you read the article, that it is almost uniformly reviled in Tamriel, with the *possible* exception of Elsweyr.

    And we all know that anyway; anyone who has played ESO/TES is aware that most cultures have a reverence for the soul, as well as the soul's journey to the afterlife, whether it is Aetherius, Sovngard, the Far Shores or wherever. It's not the biggest logical step then to realise why they would be against a necromancer taking control of someone's soul and preventing its progression to Aetherius.

    Regarding Elsweyr, we haven't had much content on their beliefs regarding necromancy yet, but I'm sure we will see an abundance of material come June. Also, let's be clear here, if it is illegal in ESO (through the justice system), then it is illegal.

    Also see https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Black_Arts_On_Trial on a short take on the Psijics, necromancy and souls: "The Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum, precursor to our own Mages Guild, also forbade its use, not only because it was dangerous, but their belief in the holy and unholy ancestor spirits made it heretical. "
  • Bruccius
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    BretonMage wrote: »
    Bruccius wrote: »
    BretonMage wrote: »
    I think there are two factors affecting the morality of necromancy. The most obvious one to me is the issue of consent, as Raddleman mentioned above. A necromancer is basically taking control of a person's soul/soul energy, without their consent and against their will. It's a violation of their natural rights.

    Perhaps it would less immoral if you acquired their consent first, but then you have the second factor that is actually laid out here in Elder Scrolls lore: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Necromancy, where it summarises the TES position:

    "Necromancy has generally been considered immoral and illegal in most cultures, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits."

    You may like necromancy, but you can't sweep the moral implications of its activities under the rug. I mean, I usually play a fairly moral character in TES, but in ESO I spend 50% of my time thieving because it seems to be one of the few ways to get motifs and plans. I just have to accept that it's immoral.

    UESP does not provide a citation for that claim, thus it is worthless.

    Necromancy is permitted in most cultures on outlaws, since outlaws have no rights.

    Surely you know better than to call UESP "worthless". That statement is a summation of the position of various cultures in Tamriel on necromancy, in which you will notice, if you read the article, that it is almost uniformly reviled in Tamriel, with the *possible* exception of Elsweyr.

    And we all know that anyway; anyone who has played ESO/TES is aware that most cultures have a reverence for the soul, as well as the soul's journey to the afterlife, whether it is Aetherius, Sovngard, the Far Shores or wherever. It's not the biggest logical step then to realise why they would be against a necromancer taking control of someone's soul and preventing its progression to Aetherius.

    Regarding Elsweyr, we haven't had much content on their beliefs regarding necromancy yet, but I'm sure we will see an abundance of material come June. Also, let's be clear here, if it is illegal in ESO (through the justice system), then it is illegal.

    Also see https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Black_Arts_On_Trial on a short take on the Psijics, necromancy and souls: "The Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum, precursor to our own Mages Guild, also forbade its use, not only because it was dangerous, but their belief in the holy and unholy ancestor spirits made it heretical. "

    A wiki which does not provide citations for its claims makes the article it appears on lose value, yes. Anyone can sing on for the UESP, anyone can edit its pages. Blindly taking it at face value is extremely petty.

    Using necromancy is perfectly legal in most of the Empire during the Third Era. Especially the corpses of outlaws and bandits are more than welcome to the picking, considering those have no rights. The line is drawn with law abiding citizens being resurrected; where the regulations are far more strict.
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