Launching a new subcategory of Start In A Tavern today: Ee Schfive.

I’m playing a Necromancer in a 5e campaign.

First things first: I’m enjoying the game. It’s great. I have a lot of freedom, my character is creeping out half the party plus the GM, I’m getting up to all kinds of nefarious hijinks. It’s fantastic. Just great. More on that later.

How much does any of that have to do with the Necromancer class?

Not. A damn. Thing.

I hate the butchered spell list of 5e. And where has item crafting gone? There’s scarcely a mention of scroll-based spellcasting. Wands. What… exactly separates the Wizard from any of the other spellcasting classes?

Our group hit 3rd level by the end of our second session. That’s cool. See, because I’m looking at the spells and realizing there’s nothing I can really do with magic before about 5th level.

So, 5th level is the new… 3rd level? I don’t know.

You might wonder what I’m on about. And if you had a cursory glance over the spell section, I can’t blame you for not seeing what’s wrong. But try to build a Wizard. Make sure you read the spell descriptions.

In 3e, Blindness/Deafness was a SCARY spell. Necromancy spell — one Fortitude save was the only thing preventing a permanent loss of sight or hearing.

Oh sure, it was essentially a curse and could be easily undone by a cleric of high enough level with the appropriate spell prepared, but B/D was scary.

Honestly, it was one of the spells that made a Necromancer playable until you hit a high enough level to start actually animating and controlling the dead.

Why am I so up in arms? Well, now it lasts ten minutes.

Oh, so terrible. It’s like, if you need to use the bathroom really bad, but a Necromancer casts Blindness on you, you can WAIT IT OUT and then find your way to the bathroom just fine. Ten minutes? TEN MINUTES.

Not even like, an hour? What about a day? How about permanent?

Nystul’s Magic Aura was like, a go-to spell for all kinds of magic chicanery. Want to protect your magic items from being scooped up by thieves with wands of Detect Magic? Make sure to mask the aura of magic items in your home.

Now the spell lasts for a day. If you use it on the same item every day for a month, you can extend the duration to permanent.

But you have to burn a spell slot every day for thirty days.

A 5e Wizard who specializes in Necromancy gets the class feature equivalent of 3e’s Death Knell — when they deliver the killing blow with a spell they regain hit points equal to twice the spell’s level. Three times spell level for Necromancy.

Nothing for Cantrips.

Do you know how often a Wizard deals the killing blow with a spell?

Basically never. That isn’t their job. Crowd control? That’s a job. Doesn’t do a lot of damage. Softening up a group of enemies for the rest of the party to finish? That’s a job. Neither results in a killing blow with a spell.

And the odd time a Wizard levels a mob of goblins with a Fireball?

Tell me EXACTLY how many hit points he was missing before he did that. Go ahead. Lie to me. You know he’s going to use Fireball on the first turn of combat because that’s what Fireball is for. You don’t drop it on your allies unless you’re desperate, then tell me how badly you need to heal 6 hit points.

You heard me right, six hit points. Because you only get the healing once per round. If you kill eight goblins with a well-placed Fireball you only get healing for the first goblin dropped. What’s a Necromancer doing with Fireball anyway?

I ask you.

Maybe I’m complaining too much, but do you know what my Necromancer is doing to contribute to fights? I hired five gnome mercenaries with bows and spears. I pick their targets and roll their dice.

Humperdink, Slapbamwallah, Idan, Mojo… I forget the other one.