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Necronomicon Vol. 8: Fleshcrafting, Healing, and the Undead

Tags: #Tips and Tricks Guides  #Tips and Tricks Leveling  #Tips and Tricks Magic  #Necronomicon 
  • May 25, 2016

    Welcome everyone to volume eight of the Necronomicon, links to the previous seven volumes can be found in the Prologue Today I plan on discussing what I see as the other half of necromancy represented by the Restoration skill.

    So far I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Conjuration.  We’ve delved into the various necromantic spells one can obtain and even went in depth with the master level spell.  Last time we talked about how to preserve our favorite corpses in game.  I feel like a discussion on how to heal them during game play is a natural progression.  So today I’m going to deviate from the Conjuration skill and talk about what I see as the other half of necromancy, specifically the Restoration Skill.  Therefore, I would like to expand upon the definition of necromancy to include not just the reanimation of the dead, but also influencing, controlling, and maintaining the undead. 

    We see this already with our reanimation spells.  The necromancer is able to raise the body and to command them to perform actions.  In Skyrim this is simplified to defending the player and attacking his enemies but other tasks besides “body guard” are represented.  For instance most necromancer lairs have undead guards posted within them, and some warlocks have even commanded their undead servants to mine and excavate the ruins they currently reside in.  With these examples of the necromancer influencing and controlling the actions of his own servants, it stands to reason that a powerful necromancer would be able to influence the undead servants of others.

    This leads us to two possible skills that could influence the servants of others, Restoration and Illusion.  Illusion requires a great amount of investment (skill level 90) to unlock its potential with undead, it also has no undead specific spells.  In fact it goes out of its way to exclude undead until you have taken the level 90 perk that removes the limitation.  This makes it a poor choice in my opinion (both in gameplay and roleplay) but I wanted to mention it as a possibility.

    I feel that Restoration suits a necromancer both from a mechanics point of view, and from a role-play perspective.  There are already a slew of spells and abilities specifically geared toward the undead.   Turn/Repel Undead spells are often seen as the purview of priests and clerics who use these spells to cleanse the unnatural abominations that are our undead servants.  However, it would be easy to imagine a necromancer having the same ability to repel the undead servants of a rival.

    Another aspect of Restoration that makes sense for a practitioner of the dark arts is healing magic.  Many necromancers devote a lot of time to preparing a body for reanimation.  This is covered in books within the game that detail how to properly prepare a zombie for reanimation.  It stands to reason that necromancers would be skilled in healing magic considering the anatomical knowledge gained through experimenting on corpses.  Most healing spells don’t work on the undead, however the Dawnguard DLC introduced a couple of spells that only work on the undead.  These spells seem tailor made for the necromancer.

    Finally, there is the perk Necromage which increases the potency of your spells when used against the undead.  This perk was obviously meant to interact with the Turn/Repel Undead spells allowing them to better scale with the player.  I’m not going to go into detail on this perk today but I suggest you check out Albino’s post on Necromage Vampirism and its many interactions.

    What I would like to look at are the specific Restoration spells that best suit a necromancer.  The spells fall into two groups Turn/Repel and Undead Healing.  The Turn/Repel spells represent the necromancer exerting his control on the undead.  Success will cause the target to flee since having two masters vie for control is very confusing.  These conflicting signals end up causing the target zombie to simply flee until only one master remains.  The Undead Healing spells represent the necromancer’s command of “fleshcrafting” their ability to patch up damaged undead minions.

    Turn/Repel Spells:

    • Turn Lesser Undead:  Target undead up to level 6 (7) flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Fires a projectile that affects a single target.

    • Repel Lesser Undead:  All affected undead up to level 8 (10) flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Fires a wave that can affect multiple targets.

    • Turn Undead:  Target undead up to level 13 (16) flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Fires a projectile that affects a single target.

    • Circle of Protection:  Undead up to level 20 (25) entering the circle will flee from combat for 30 seconds.

    • Repel Undead:  All affected undead up to level 16 (20) flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Fires a wave that can affect multiple targets.

    • Turn Greater Undead:  Target undead up to level 21 (26) flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Fires a projectile that affects a single target.

    • Bane of the Undead:  Set undead within 80 feet on fire and cause undead up to level 30 (37) to flee from combat for 30 seconds.

    • Guardian Circle:  Undead up to level 35 (43) entering the circle will flee from combat for 30 seconds.  Caster heals 20 health per second while within the circle.

    Numbers in parentheses represent the boosted magnitude caused by the Necromage perk.

    Undead Healing Spells:

    • Necromantic Healing:  Heals undead target 10 points per second.

    • Heal Undead:  Heals undead target 75 points.

    Note:  The healing spells are unaffected by the Necromage perk.

    None of the Dawnguard “sun” spells are included above since they are only accessible if you join the Dawnguard which seems unlikely for a necromancer, furthermore they don’t represent control or influence over the undead so much as outright destruction.  However, if you do choose to join the Dawnguard the only spell you are foregoing is the Heal Undead spell while gaining access to the potent “sun” spells.  This may be preferable since it turns a defensive skill we are already focusing on into an offensive skill, adding a great deal of versatility to the necromancer character.


    Restoration is notorious for being one of the slowest to level among all the magic skills.  Here I would like to share my method of leveling this skill that just so happens to fit thematically with being a necromancer.  First you will need an undead minion created using an enthrallment technique, the best is Dead Thrall since magicka replenishes itself, but a Reanimation Staff will work just as well so long as you have soul gems to power it with.  Second, you will need to know a Turn/Repel Undead spell.  Repeatedly cast the spell on your minion.  This will level up your Restoration skill rather quickly and is the fastest method I have found to level this skill to 75. (Besides the NecroGrind!)

    To continue leveling Restoration past 75 you will want to switch out your Turn/Repel spell for Circle of Protection.  Simply casting this spell will give you skill experience even without an undead target.  However, the experience is boosted if there is a target so I suggest you keep your “whipping draugr” around.  Furthermore, being a vampire also boosts the skill increase.  I often use this method to obtain the Avoid Death perk.


    That concludes my discussion on Restoration and its uses from a necromantic perspective.  In the end the playstyle of a necromancer parallels that of a healer.  Both stay behind the front lines away from immediate danger and make sure that their companions stay alive; or un-alive as the case may be.

    Until next time, I’ll be in the Hall of the Dead…shopping.



  • May 26, 2016

    I have to say, that for me, as a person who never really delved into necromancy in Skyrim - which basicaly means I never played a necromancer - this Necronomicon is proving extremely valuable and full of precious knowledge to me. So many facts I wasn´t aware of before and I´ve been  playing Skyrim since 2011. 

    So yeah, keep fighting the Good Fight, Vargr. I certainly will use this in the future when I´ll start my first necromancer character. 

  • Member
    May 26, 2016

    Great stuff, as usual!

    Master of the Mind requires a skill of 90 rather than 100, which makes it a *bit* more accessible... but it's still buried behind a bunch of other perks.  Of course, if you're going to use it on your summons, you'll probably need those perks anyway.  I guess going up the middle branch would be the best way to approach it, but Quiet Casting is also attractive.  In the end, you might end up just taking the whole tree! 

    There is a question of *how* you'd use Illusion spells anyway.  Restoration's Turn Undead spells already cover the "fear" effect anyway.  So Master of the Mind would allow you to Calm and Frenzy other undead, or to cast Rally spells on your own.  Could be nice, I guess.

  • May 26, 2016

    Thanks Paul.

    There is definitely potential for Illusion, and I know I've seen a build that used it in this way.  However, Restoration interacts with the undead from the very beginning and will level with your character, while Illusion is basically a light switch that at level "ahem" 90 illusion you can flip on.   In the end I feel Restoration gives you more bang for your buck by including healing spells, and according to UESP Restoration is one of the main skills of necromancers, so there's that as well.

  • Member
    May 26, 2016

    I second this motion, this Necronomicon is really interesting, especially for someone who has never played a "pure" Necromancer (I played a Necropaladin once, that was fun).

  • Member
    May 26, 2016

    I'd say fury is a great way to get corpses for reanimation in the first place, so I'd wager it makes Illusion all the more viable (though not as close as restoration). Also, with necromage the stacked buff spells makes so your undead minions become true monsters (Oneness' Sorceress uses this trick).

  • Member
    May 26, 2016

    Welcome everyone to volume seven of the Necronomicon, links to the previous six volumes can be found in the Prologue.

    This is volume eight of the Necronomicon, so there's seven previous volumes. 

    Other than that, this is great, like always.

  • May 26, 2016

    Yes the Sorceress is one of those builds I was thinking of.  I knew I had seen it somewhere.  You make a good point with fury as an opening to combat leading you to reanimated progressively stronger enemies. A very compelling play style. 

  • May 26, 2016

    Thanks for the catch Albino. I decided to bump up that Soul Cairn Summons post and neglected to edit the change into this one.   It has been corrected to make sense. 

  • Member
    May 27, 2016
    Great! I think you can buy circle of protection at restoration lvl 60, just saying. :)