Darkest Dungeon Wiki
Necromancer attack ranged
Enemy Type Unholy/Eldritch
Size Average (1)
Actions per round Turnticker
Variation Necromancer
Necromancer Necromancer
HP 105 158 215
HP (Stygian/Bloodmoon) 126 190 258
Dodge 0 8.75 22.5
Protection 0 0 0
Speed 8 9 10
Tray stealth Stealth None None None
Poptext stun Stun 75% 95% 115%
Poptext poison Blight 20% 40% 60%
Poptext bleed Bleed 20% 40% 60%
Poptext debuff Debuff 40% 60% 80%
Poptext move Move 25% 45% 65%

The Necromancer is an Unholy/Eldritch boss that appears in the Ruins. He is one of the reanimated scholars that collaborated with the Ancestor, murdered and then brought back with much of his intellect intact, but with little to no humanity remaining. After the Ancestor's death, the Necromancer and his Apprentices took over the Ruins, using their magic to bring the corpses buried there back to life as their servants, continuing their unholy experiments with necromancy.

Ancestor's Memoirs: The Necromancer[ | ]

Mastery over life and death was chief among my early pursuits. I began in humility, but my ambition was limitless. Who could have divined the prophetic import of something as unremarkable... as a twitch in the leg of a dead rat?

I entertained a delegation of experts from overseas, eager to plumb the depths of their knowledge and share with them certain techniques and alchemical processes I had found to yield wondrous and terrifying results. Having learned all I could from my visiting guests, I murdered them as they slept.

I brought my colleagues back with much of their intellect intact - a remarkable triumph for even the most experienced necromancer. Freed from the trappings of their humanity, they plied their terrible trade anew: the dead reviving the dead, on and on, down the years. Forever.

~ The Ancestor

Behavior[ | ]

The Necromancer will always start in position 1. Each time he uses an attack, he creates a skeleton enemy in rank 1, steadily pushing himself back until he is in position 4, where his attacks no longer spawn anything. His attacks do not have to hit a hero in order to trigger this ability - therefore the only way to stop him summoning a minion in a turn is either to stun him, or for there to be 3 of them existing already. Corpses do not block this ability either; they will simply be replaced by newly summoned skeletons.

The Necromancer notably has no weighted skill selection or targeting, making his series of attacks effectively random.

On higher difficulties, the Bone Soldiers summoned by the Necromancer have Stealth for 2 rounds. As of The Color of Madness patch, all of the Necromancer's summoned minions are life-linked to him and will expire when he does.

Strategy[ | ]

The Necromancer's resistances are all relatively low, aside from his fairly high resistance to Stun. This makes the Necromancer very vulnerable to both forms of damage over time, but since he has only one action per turn and no Protect, damage over time is neither necessary nor the most effective way to deal with him. His infrequent actions make Marks, debuffs, and stuns more effective, as he is slow to recover from them. His low resistance to Movement also makes him vulnerable to being pulled forward. He will continue to move back while summoning skeletons, but when all 4 enemy slots are filled up, a Pull can permanently move him to the front. Pulling him can be highly effective, since he moves backwards slowly and most heroes have an easier time hitting the front ranks. Furthermore, the Necromancer takes his skeletons with him when he dies, so taking him down first can prevent more attacks than slowly chopping through his army.

The most consistent strategy is to stun the Necromancer. The Occultist and the Houndmaster in particular can Stun the Necromancer fairly well, but other characters can also Stun him if equipped with the proper trinkets. Since the Necromancer starts in the front ranks, a Stun can enable characters like the Hellion or the Leper to deliver a large burst of damage before he gets a chance to move backwards.

If the Necromancer doesn't get Stunned and manages to summon a skeleton, there are two important things to remember:

1. If the skeleton gets killed before the Necromancer's next turn, the Necromancer will remove the corpse to summon another skeleton, meaning he will not move backwards.

2. His skeletons are usually fairly weak and can sometimes be completely ignored if you manage to Stun the Necromancer after he summons them. Focusing on the skeletons instead of the Necromancer can lead to a snowball effect and cause the Necromancer to move out of range of your big hitters if you fail to take out the skeletons.

This is why you need a backup strategy on your Necromancer team to handle him if he manages to move back. This strategy can change depending on the level of the Necromancer, but here are some general strategies that work at every level:

1. Pulls. Due to his low move resist, you can move him forward with pretty much any pull, putting him in reach of your attacks again.

2. Backline attacks. This is arguably the simplest solution, and most parties need a way to attack backliners anyway in order to get through the dungeon. Still, you should be wary of bringing too many characters like the Leper and the Crusader, as their short reach may make it difficult to recover if the Necromancer manages to summon too many skeletons.

3. Moving skeletons. Although the Necromancer can summon skeletons in front of him, he cannot get behind skeletons if they are already behind him. Skills like the Leper's Purge can push skeletons behind the Necromancer and block his access to the back ranks.

4. Clearing out the skeletons. If your party has high frontline damage, you can simply defeat the skeletons as soon as they are summoned, preventing them from building up and keeping the Necromancer close to the front. However, this may not be practical on higher difficulties, as the addition Stealth to the Bone Soldiers and the high durability of Bone Defenders and Bone Generals can make it difficult to keep up.

On Apprentice, both the Bone Soldier and the Bone Rabble are easily defeated, and the Rabble does little damage regardless. Almost any party can succeed, as even if your party lacks range, it will very likely have more than enough damage to cut down his weak minions as quickly as he can summon them.

On Veteran difficulty, the skeletons demand more attention. While the Rabble is still a non-threat, the Soldier becomes much more difficult to take out, as it now spawns with Stealth. Aside from the usual de-stealthing attacks, area-of-affect attacks such as the Highwayman's Grapeshot can also work, as the Bone Soldier still has low HP. If the Necromancer summons two or more Soldiers, it is very likely that he will be out of reach for most frontliners, so it would be wise to have a backup strategy in case the Necromancer manages to move back. The addition of the Bone Defender is also noteworthy; although it has low offensive power, the Defender fairly durable and can Stun your heroes or Guard the Necromancer. Fortunately, its Stun resistance is not particularly high, so you can simply Stun it to break its Guard if necessary.

On Champion, the Necromancer will no longer summon Bone Rabbles; every skeleton is a potential obstacle or threat. Furthermore, the Necromancer can now summon Bone Generals, who are extremely durable and have powerful attacks in their own right. Worse still, since a Bone General takes up two spaces, the Necromancer will be pushed back two ranks at once, making it more difficult to reach him. Alternate strategies such as Stunning the Necromancer are more important than ever, as it is usually impractical to try to cut through his minions to reach him.

Team Selection[ | ]

Preferred Heroes[ | ]

  • Crusader - His bonus damage is effective against both the Necromancer and his skeletons, and the Crusader can use Stunning Blow to stop the Necromancer in his tracks. Smite is often sufficient to chop through the skeletons on lower difficulties; at higher levels, Holy Lance may be preferable, as the Necromancer can quickly move out of range of a frontline Crusader.
  • Abomination - Trinkets such as the Broken Key and the Padlock of Transference allow the Abomination to Stun the Necromancer fairly consistently. Alternatively, if the Abomination Transforms, he can clear away skeletons by spamming Rake, shove skeletons behind the Necromancer with Slam, or simply pound on the Necromancer himself with Rage.
  • Bounty Hunter - His various stuns and movement skills are great for keeping the Necromancer in reach, and Collect Bounty can deal massive damage once the Necromancer is marked.
  • Grave Robber - Lunge allows her to deal a large burst of damage at the start of the fight, and she can still reach the Necromancer with Thrown Dagger even if he manages to back up.
  • Hellion - She specializes in dealing heavy damage to every rank. She can also use Barbaric Yawp! to stun the Necromancer and/or his minions, buying time for the other heroes to pummel him.
  • Highwayman - Another hero that can deal good damage to every rank. Necromancer tends to use AoE attacks that hit both frontliners or both backliners, so his riposte is also easier to trigger. Don't forget about Open Vein's speed debuff, this can prove quite useful to slow Necromancer down and make him take more time to retreat to the backlines.
  • Houndmaster - Blackjack has a good chance of Stunning the Necromancer, and he can attack any rank with Hound's Rush. The loss of his Bleeds doesn't hurt him that much, since they make up a fraction of the Houndmaster's damage.
  • Occultist - Hands from the Abyss has an excellent chance of Stunning the Necromancer, and Daemon's Pull can force him to the front if he does manage to move back. The Necromancer also happens to be part Eldritch, so Sacrificial Stab and Abyssal Artillery can deal solid damage if the Occultist's disruption skills are not needed for a turn.
  • Shieldbreaker - Yet another hero who can attack any rank for good damage. She also has Puncture, which can pull the Necromancer to the front and has the additional benefit of breaking and preventing Guards.

Reasonable Choices[ | ]

  • Arbalest/Musketeer - Incredible damage against Marked targets and good backline reach make her a good pick for a damage option. However, she cannot target Rank 1 with Sniper Shot, so she has to wait until the Necromancer summons a skeleton before she can deal damage.
  • Jester - Battle Ballad is always useful, and the Jester can try to use Finale to finish off the Necromancer. However, he lacks any sort of stun or disruption skill, and his damage output is fairly low overall, especially since he cannot Bleed the skeletons.
  • Leper - Extremely high damage to the front ranks, but lacks a good damaging move for the back ranks. He can use Purge to throw skeletons behind the Necromancer, but this may not work reliably against Bone Defenders and Bone Generals.
  • Man-at-Arms - With the proper trinkets, he can stun the Necromancer somewhat consistently with Rampart. However, Rampart's range is quite short, and the Man-at-Arms lacks the damage to clear out skeletons quickly.
  • Plague Doctor - Her best attacks target the back ranks, and it's better to keep the Necromancer from reaching the back ranks in the first place. Furthermore, her reliance on damage over time limits her damage output, as the Necromancer only takes one tick of damage per round. However, her stuns are fairly reliable, and she can simultaneously stun the Necromancer and shuffle him to the front with Disorienting Blast.
  • Vestal - Although she has a stun, she lacks the trinkets to make it reliable, and she doesn't contribute much in the way of offense. Nevertheless, her strong, reliable healing can keep the party healthy even if the fight drags on for a while.

Discouraged Heroes[ | ]

  • Antiquarian - Although she can hit any rank with Festering Vapours, the damage is too low to be worth much. Her best chance at making a meaningful contribution is to spam Invigorating Vapours, but even this is only useful if the rest of the party is set up to make use of the Dodge buffs.
  • Flagellant - While the Necromancer does have low Bleed resistance, damage over time isn't very effective against him, making the Flagellant's offense a lot weaker than usual. He also struggles to kill skeletons and has no way of Stunning the Necromancer.

Trophy[ | ]

After the Necromancer's Champion-level quest is completed, he will drop his collar as a Trophy.

Necromancer's Collar
Necromancer Trinket
  • +20% DMG vs Unholy
  • +8% CRIT vs Unholy

Abilities[ | ]

Apprentice Level
Skill Name Range Rank Target Accuracy Crit
Damage Effect
The Flesh Is Willing Melee 1,2,3,4 1+2 102.5% 6% 4-8
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
The Clawing Dead Ranged 1,2,3,4 3+4 102.5% 6% 3-5
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
Six Feet Under Ranged 1,2,3,4 1+2+3+4 102.5% 0% 0
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton

Stress Stress +15
Back Back 1

Veteran Level
Skill Name Range Rank Target Accuracy Crit
Damage Effect
The Flesh Is Willing Melee 1,2,3,4 1+2 108.75% 12% 5-11
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
The Clawing Dead Ranged 1,2,3,4 3+4 108.75% 12% 4-7
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
Six Feet Under Ranged 1,2,3,4 1+2+3+4 108.75% 0% 0
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton

Stress Stress +15
Back Back 1

Champion Level
Skill Name Range Rank Target Accuracy Crit
Damage Effect
The Flesh Is Willing Melee 1,2,3,4 1+2 122.5% 14% 7-15
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
The Clawing Dead Ranged 1,2,3,4 3+4 122.5% 14% 5-10
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton
Back Back 1
Six Feet Under Ranged 1,2,3,4 1+2+3+4 122.5% 0% 0
Summon Summon 1 Skeleton

Stress Stress +15
Back Back 1

The Necromancer's summoning will occur regardless of whether the attack hits a hero or not. The exact enemies summoned vary depending on the boss's difficulty:

Difficulty Bone
Apprentice 33.3% 66.7%
Veteran 20% 60% 20%
Champion 57% 29% 14%

Barks[ | ]

Every base game hero (and the Musketeer) has a unique bark as a reaction to each of the Necromancer's attacks. The two DLC heroes—the FlagellantThe Crimson Court DLC and the ShieldbreakerExclusive to The Shieldbreaker DLC—don't have unique reactions and can only use generic barks. Some heroes share their unique and generic barks.

Class Bark
(All) "...unearthly cold!"
"What can one do against such reckless hate?"
Abomination "My mind's pillars crumble beneath the weight of my fate!"
Antiquarian "I feel his evil pouring forth from the censer!"
Arbalest "My heart burns with regret!"
Bounty Hunter "Unearthly cold!"
Crusader "It wields evil like fire!"
Grave Robber "Agh! How dare you touch me!"
Hellion "It grasps at my soul!"
Highwayman "Reanimated bones...how can such a thing exist!?"
Houndmaster "We are alone in our empty pursuit of justice!"
Jester "It reflects our hatred back at us!"
Leper "I can hear its soul! Screaming out in pain!"
Man-at-Arms "Its evil nature defies my tactics!"
Musketeer "There is no courage inside me! None!"
Occultist "It conjures a fell energy!"
Plague Doctor "Aah! It raises blisters with a touch!"
Vestal "(gasp) It steals my breath!"

Class Bark
(All) "Anchor me, friends! Don't let them pull me down!"
"Fiends from the Pit, you shall not have me!"
Abomination "For all of my other's sins, I am beyond forgiveness!"
Antiquarian "I am still corrupted by the will of my long-dead master!"
Arbalest "All of my regrets! My misdeeds!"
Bounty Hunter "Brace yourselves! Stand your ground!"
Crusader "Fiends from the Pit, you shall not have me!"
Grave Robber "Anchor me, friends! Don't let them pull me down!"
Hellion "It has enslaved the spirits of dead warriors!"
Highwayman "Gods! The earth crawls with these bastards!"
Houndmaster "No comrade would see to our backs!"
Jester "You think you know evil. And then..."
Leper "Helpless souls! It binds them to its will!"
Man-at-Arms "I can hear the screams of my brothers!"
Musketeer "It is a mirror showing me my infinite flaws!"
Occultist "These black arts... Fascinating and terrifying..."
Plague Doctor "Even putting bones in the ground is no defense!"
Vestal "Fiends from the Pit, you shall not have me!"

Class Bark
(All) "I see my doom!"
"Must it all end in such blackness?!"
Abomination "I fear I am merely a figment of its unholy imagination!"
Antiquarian "I killed him... please let him stay dead!"
Arbalest "Why did I run away?!"
Bounty Hunter "Grim visions... But they are mere tricks."
Crusader "I see... I see an old man, alone on his death bed!"
Grave Robber "One tomb too far... My final resting place?"
Hellion "It speaks of my death. And I am unafraid!"
Highwayman "I... I see my death! Stabbed in the back by an ally!"
Houndmaster "This world is for the cold and hard, not the idealist!"
Jester "It shows me my death! Pain... such horrible pain!"
Leper "It whispers of my death. But I know it well."
Man-at-Arms "Is it to be my death? At long last?"
Musketeer "Why did I feel I had to prove myself to the club?!"
Occultist "What is this vision? Torn apart from the inside??!"
Plague Doctor "It whispers my doom. We are all but dust."
Vestal "Must it all end in such blackness?!"

Gallery[ | ]

Regional Necromancer MiniScrollpip Prophet MiniScrollpip Hag MiniScrollpip Brigand Pounder MiniScrollpip Swine Prince MiniScrollpip Flesh MiniScrollpip Siren MiniScrollpip Drowned Crew
Roaming / Event Shambler MiniScrollpip Collector MiniScrollpip FanaticThe Crimson Court DLC MiniScrollpip Thing from the StarsExclusive to The Color of Madness DLC MiniScrollpip Shrieker MiniScrollpip Brigand Vvulf
Boss Minions Cauldron MiniScrollpip Brigand Matchman MiniScrollpip Shambler MiniScrollpip Wilbur MiniScrollpip Drowned Anchorman MiniScrollpip Shrieker's Nest MiniScrollpip Barrel O' Bombs
CourtyardThe Crimson Court DLC Baron MiniScrollpip Viscount MiniScrollpip Countess MiniScrollpip Crocodilian MiniScrollpip Garden Guardian
FarmsteadExclusive to The Color of Madness DLC Miller MiniScrollpip Fracture MiniScrollpip Sleeper
Darkest DungeonContains spoilers for the Darkest Dungeon
Shuffling Horror MiniScrollpip Templar Impaler MiniScrollpip Templar Warlord MiniScrollpip Mammoth Cyst MiniScrollpip Ancestor MiniScrollpip Heart of Darkness