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    1.10 Summoner Necromancer Guide by Happy Wanderer

    Version: 1.01 | Updated: 02/01/04 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                          Diablo II: Lord of Destruction v1.10
                            Summoner Necromancer Guide v1.01
                                   by Happy Wanderer
                                 Last updated: 02/01/04
    1.0   Introduction to the Summoner & This Guide [Intro]
    2.0   The Summoner's Stats [Stats]
    3.0   The Summoner's Skills [Skills]
     3.1   Summoning & Control Discussion [Summons]
     3.2   Poison & Bone Discussion [P&B]
     3.3   Curses Discussion [Curses]
    4.0   The Summoner's Equipment [Equip]
     4.1   Standard Ideal Equipment [Ideal]
     4.2   Items on the Cheap [Cheap]
    5.0   Mercenaries & Their Equipment [Merc]
    6.0   Sample Summoner Build [Sample]
    7.0   Hybrid Builds [Hybrids]
    8.0   Contact Information [Contact]
    9.0   Legal Stuff [:P]
    10.0  Edit History & Acknowledgements [Thanks]
    Jump to a particular section by searching for the bracketed word (include the
    brackets in the search) found to the right of the section titles above.
    1.0   Introduction to the Summoner & This Guide [Intro]
    The Summoner (aka Overlord, Zookeeper, Summonmancer, Skellomancer,
    Skelliemancer, etc...)
    Since v1.10 came out, most necromancer builds have completely changed. This is
    largely due to the fact that skeletons and skeleton mages have become forces to
    be reckoned with, and thus a staple of most necromancer builds, regardless of
    the build's focus. However, for the Summoner, minions of all forms ARE the main
    focus. A Summoner can be enjoyed as more of a laid back character. After you
    have built your army, you are essentially directing your minions and giving
    assistance where you can.
    - What This Guide Is and Is Not
    This guide is intended to be an informal discussion about what makes a basic
    Summoner work and why. It is an exploration of the possible routes a Summoner
    can take as he develops, without hard and fast rules to which you must adhere.
    This guide does not include exhaustive information about skills or equipment;
    only what is necessary for basic character-building is included. If you need
    more exact numbers for skills, equipment stats and the like, I recommend going
    to The Arreat Summit ( http://www.battle.net/diablo2exp/ ) and bookmarking it.
    Even after years of play, I reference the Summit for one reason or another
    almost every time I play. Also, further discussion of all facets of Diablo II
    can be found in the Battle.net forums ( http://www.battle.net/forums.shtml ).
    This guide covers a Summoner built under version 1.10 of Diablo II:Lord of
    Destruction. If you have not patched up to 1.10 or if a future version is
    released and this guide is not updated, do not expect a Summoner built by this
    guide to work. You have been warned. :P
    Also, I am a softcore, non-PvP, ladder player on USEast and this guide is based
    on my experiences. If you are making a character outside of these parameters,
    take that into account and modify your character development accordingly.
    2.0   The Summoner's Stats [Stats]
    - Strength
    As with most builds, only put enough points in strength to equip the gear you
    want. Some common necromancer equipment pieces and their requirements are...
    Archon Plate (elite mage plate)   103
    Bone Visage (elite bone helm)     106
    Troll Nest (elite bone shield)    106
    Trang-Oul's Guise (helm)          106
    Trang-Oul's Scales (armor)         84
    Trang-Oul's Girth (belt)           91
    Note that Trang-Oul's Wing (shield) will provide +25 to Strength if you use it.
    - Dexterity
    Useless. Well, unless you're going to try to get a competent block rate. But
    your army should be fighting for you, so don't.
    - Vitality
    All spare points should go into Vitality. Invariably, at some point your
    minions will get offed and you'll be running for your life. Since necromancers
    naturally have woefully low health, you'll need all the life you can get. Items
    that boost Vitality and/or life are invaluable to the necromancer.
    - Energy
    None. Surprising, no? But your minions should be doing most of the work and
    curses don't take much mana. Often Summoners have mana problems in the early to
    mid game, but after that, mana is a non-issue. Focus instead on finding items
    that boost Energy and/or mana or, barring that, use potions.
    3.0   The Summoner's Skills [Skills]
    - Requisites
    20   Skeleton Mastery
    20   Raise Skeleton
    1    Clay Golem
    1    Golem Mastery
    1    Raise Skeletal Mage
    1    Summon Resist
    1    Teeth (prerequisite)
    1    Corpse Explosion
    1    Each Curse (10 total points)
    - Recommended
    3    Raise Skeletal Mage
    1    Blood Golem (prerequisite)
    1    Iron Golem (prerequisite)
    1    Revive
    5-10 Corpse Explosion
    - Optional
    more Raise Skeletal Mage
    more Golem Mastery
    more Summon Resist (max ~6)
    more Corpse Explosion
    more Amplify Damage or Decrepify (max ~5)
    more Lower Resist (max ~5)
    3.1   Summoning & Control Discussion [Summons]
    - Raise Skeleton & Raise Skeleton Mage
    Along with your mercenary, your skeletons and mages are your main source of
    damage. Skeletons are for pure physical damage, of course, while mages provide
    support with various elemental damages. Many people would question why I've
    recommended only three points in Raise Skeletal Mage. The reason is that, in my
    experience, skeletal mages mostly get in the way and die quickly when they end
    up on the front lines. However, with three points, you get three mages, which
    is a good return on your investment. This gives you a small amount of backup
    without having them get in the way and having to recast constantly. If you find
    you really like mages or need more targets to take damage for you, then by all
    means put more points into the skill.
    - Golems
    Golems have taken a back seat in the necromancer's arsenal now that skeletons
    are beefier. The general consensus on golems is that of all of them, the lowly
    Clay Golem gives the most bang for your buck. Even with only one hard point, it
    performs well its function of being a meat shield and slowing your opponents.
    However, don't dump points into Clay Golem because it really doesn't get much
    better. Focus instead on getting +skill items to boost it and, if you must, put
    points in Golem Mastery to improve it. (Author's Note: Even with only one hard
    point, my Clay Golem rarely needs resummoning in Hell. However, I did have
    trouble keeping him alive in the early to mid game. Rely more on your skeletons
    during this time and summon your golem only during Boss battles.)
    Putting points into Blood Golem and Iron Golem is recommended only because they
    are prerequisites for Revive. If you have an item that grants you the Revive
    skill, don't bother with these skills.
    - Revives
    Revives are both the best and worst of your minions. I say they are the best
    because they yield what I consider one of the best things you can find:
    level-appropriate damage. Anytime you revive a creature, you know that it will
    be able to adequately fight its former comrades. However, revives have serious
    flaws. The most obvious is the three-minute life span of a revive. But you will
    likely not need to worry about the lifespan of a revive, since it is far more
    likely that you will outrun it and it will disappear. Keeping a large band of
    revives is challenging at best, so do not rely heavily on them. I generally
    revive the first few slain creatures from a large group and have them occupy
    their former friends. This keeps my other minions alive longer and deals out
    some extra damage. However, once that group of enemies is dead, I completely
    ignore the revives. If they can follow me, great; if not, they have served
    their purpose and I will not miss them. If you are bound and determined to keep
    a posse of revives, you WILL need an item that lets you teleport. Because all
    minions are teleported with you, it ensures that your revives will stay with
    you and alive. Enigma runeword armor is ideal, but barring that, an item with
    teleportation charges will do, though it will cost you tons of gold to recharge.
    - Skeleton Mastery
    Skeleton Mastery is absolutely vital to the success of your Summoner. Think of
    Raise Skeleton as controlling the number of skeletons you can have, and Mastery
    controlling the quality of those skeletons. If your skeletons can't dish out
    enough damage to take out common foes, you probably need more skeletons. If
    your skeletons are constantly dying, you probably need more in Mastery. Drop
    three points in Raise Skeleton at the very beginning (to get your first three
    skeletons) and then start balancing it with Mastery. Also note that Skeleton
    Mastery benefits Revives by boosting their life and damage as well.
    - Golem Mastery
    Putting points in Golem Mastery is more for the convenience of not having to
    recast your golem than anything else. It also provides a boost to the golem's
    speed, but this is of relatively little importance. If your golem is just dying
    at an absurd rate, by all means put some points here; otherwise, ignore it.
    (Author's Note: One hard point in Golem Mastery and my golem survives quite
    nicely in Hell.)
    - Summon Resist
    Once you start encountering more incoming elemental damage, your minions may
    need a bit of Summon Resist. If you notice your minions getting creamed by
    mages and the like, you might choose to put a few more points here.
    3.2   Poison & Bone Discussion [P&B]
    - Corpse Explosion
    The only P&B skill a Pure Summoner should really consider is Corpse Explosion.
    This is a key skill for the necromancer because it provides more
    level-appropriate damage. When your minions take down the first foe in a tight
    group, it's nice to help them out by taking off a huge chunk of the remaining
    enemies' hit points with a messy Corpse Explosion. People disagree about how
    many points to drop into this skill. Some recommend only one or a few, while
    others recommend maxing it. Once again, play around with it and find your own
    preferred level. Regardless, when you use Corpse Explosion, remember to always
    precede it with either Amplify Damage or Lower Resist to maximize the damage
    3.3   Curses Discussion [Curses]
    While the curses are a staple for every necromancer, very little investment is
    needed to make any one of them effective. And while people sometimes disagree
    about the merits of some of the curses, Amplify Damage, Decrepify and Lower
    Resist are widely regarded as indispensable.
    The left side of the Curses tree (Dim Vision, Confuse, and Attract) is often
    neglected by necromancers because these curses don't directly add to the
    ability to kill foes. However, each one of these curses can perform the
    valuable function of distracting the enemy, giving you and your minions the
    edge in battle.
    I have listed increased skill points in curses as optional mostly because an
    increase in skill is only for convenience. Both Amplify Damage and Lower Resist
    will gain a wider radius of effect and Decrepify will increase in duration, but
    that's the bulk of the benefit. If you must put additional points into curses,
    do it according to your army's strengths. If you have mostly skeletons,
    increase Amplify Damage. If you rely more on mages and elemental revives,
    increase Lower Resist. (Author's Note: Once again, only one hard point in each
    curse and they perform just fine for me. Are there times I wish I had more in
    some curses? Sure. But I'd much rather have the points in other things most of
    the time.)
    - Amplify Damage
    Amplify Damage is requisite in Hell because it removes the dreaded "Immune to
    Physical" from foes. It also makes Corpse Explosion devastating. For the mana
    spent, this is arguably the best curse. You will likely find yourself using
    this curse most often.
    - Decrepify
    Some people swear by Decrepify in lieu of using Amplify Damage, but you may
    find the small radius of effect too small for general use. That being said,
    Decrepify is vital for each and every Act Boss battle. With it and a Clay
    Golem, bosses are slowed to the point of being almost completely immobile.
    Decrepify may also remove "Immune to Physical" from foes, but since it only
    applies a -50% to physical resistance (as opposed to Amplify Damage's -100%)
    this is not guaranteed.
    - Lower Resist
    Lower Resist will also increase damage from Corpse Explosion and may (note that
    I say 'may') remove elemental immunities for the benefit of your mages,
    revives, and other party members. If you go the route of a Pure Summoner, you
    may not even need Lower Resist, but it is an excellent curse to have for
    playing with party members that rely on elemental damage, such as Sorceresses
    of all kinds, Poisonomancers, Shockadins, Avengers, and Berserkers. Regardless,
    you can wait to get this curse for quite a while, since it is far more useful
    in the later acts of Nightmare and also Hell where immunities abound.
    - Dim Vision
    Dim Vision is great for allowing your army to close in on ranged attackers,
    especially foes such as Gloams, Slingers, and archers of all kinds. One tactic
    is to always cast it as far in front of your direction of movement as you can,
    thus completely blinding enemies to your approach.
    - Confuse
    The Confuse curse makes foes attack randomly, giving your forces the upper
    hand. This curse is best used on foes that are tightly grouped and have not yet
    engaged your forces. (Author's Note: I've heard several people swear by
    Confuse, but given the number of targets you present and thus the probability
    that the enemy will still engage your forces, I can't see it being better than
    Attract. But I have little experience with Confuse, so try them both and
    determine for yourself.)
    - Attract
    Attract is extremely useful for occupying your foes and having them damage each
    other instead of you or your army. Note though that this curse cannot be
    overridden by another curse. Keeping the curse's duration relatively short is a
    good reason for only dropping one point in it. However, because Attract cannot
    be overridden, you are free to use a different curse on the surrounding enemies
    after you have used Attract.
    4.0   The Summoner's Equipment [Equip]
    A Summoner should focus on boosting his skills as much as possible through his
    equipment. Even a boost of +1 to skills can result in a marked improvement in
    your army's performance. Second only to boosting skills is getting +life items.
    Nothing is more annoying when playing a Summoner than dying and having to
    rebuild your army. :P Here's a list of suggested equipment and why each are of
    note. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the options. Check out The
    Arreat Summit's Item section for complete item information.
    4.1   Standard Ideal Equipment [Ideal]
    Trang-Oul's Avatar Set
    This set is specifically designed for the necromancer and benefits him in
    several ways. A complete set gives a total of +5 to all skills, damage
    reduction of 25%, high resists (88-95/120/100/130), replenish life +25, plus
    much more. (See the Items->Set Items section of The Arreat Summit for full
    info) Suffice to say, it is quite impressive if you can get all the pieces.
    Both the helm and the belt can be quite difficult to obtain though, even
    through trading.
    Harlequin Crest (helm; aka "Shako")
    One of the most sought after items in the game, the Harlequin Crest is a great
    helm to use. It gives +2 to all skills, damage reduction of 10%, 1.5/lvl to
    both life and mana, and as icing on the cake, 50% MF. Good luck trading for one
    Arm of King Leoric (wand)
    For the Pure Summoner, this is hands-down the best unique wand. Its total
    +skill bonuses to skeletons and mages border on the absurd, plus it adds to
    mana based on your level (1.25/lvl).
    "Heart of the Oak" runeword (staff/mace; aka "HotO")
    This runeword (Ko+Vex+Pul+Thul) gives +3 to all skills, 40% faster cast rate,
    +15% to maximum mana, +30-40 to all resists, Level 4 Oak Sage charges, and
    Level 14 Raven charges. Other than the obvious benefit to skills, the Raven
    charges add to the chaos caused by your army's onslaught, and an Oak Sage can
    make your minions last even longer. Use a Flail or Knout for this runeword so
    you can still equip a shield or shrunken head.
    Arachnid Mesh (belt)
    +1 to all skills and +5% to maximum mana.
    Verdungo's Hearty Cord (belt)
    +30-40 to Vitality and damage reduction of 10-15%.
    Necromancer Uniques (shrunken head)
    All of the three unique shrunken heads are quite good, though the Homunculus
    does also give +40 to all resists.
    Marrowwalk (boots)
    The main benefit of these boots is the +1-2 to Skeleton Mastery. Though the
    other mods and the Level 33 Bone Prison charges don't hurt. (Author's Note: As
    of this update there was a bug with Marrowwalk. If your character has no hard
    points in Bone Prison and is wearing these boots, he will be treated as having
    a Level 33 Bone Prison skill! This is not only useful for the Prison itself,
    but also for the enormous synergy it grants to Bone Armor. Don't expect this
    bug to be around forever though. It's just too good for Blizzard to ignore it.)
    Mara's Kaleidoscope (amulet)
    +2 to all skills, +20-30 to all resists, +5 to all attributes. Do I need to say
    more? ;)
    Stone of Jordan (ring)
    +1 to all skills and +25% to maximum mana. Good luck getting one though.
    Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band is only slightly less desirable and is likely easier
    to obtain.
    Annihilus and Graverobber's Grand Charms
    Get an Annihilus from the Diablo Clone if you luck into it. Trade for as many
    Graverobber's Grand Charms as you can feasibly hold.
    Teleportation Items
    These are handy for when your minions get separated from you, such as in the
    jungles of Act III or the Arcane Sanctuary. They are also requisite when you
    are using a large number of Revives (see section above for more). Not to
    mention that it's just useful for getting around. Get Enigma runeword armor if
    you can, but if not, magic/rare items with charges are common enough, though
    costly to recharge.
    4.2   Items on the Cheap [Cheap]
    Is your Summoner counting the change in his pockets? Fear not, as there are a
    number of great items that can be obtained or made with little difficulty.
    "Lore" runeword (helm)
    This runeword (Ort+Sol) makes a helm that gives you +1 to all skills, which is
    great for mid-game (level 27+). Besides which, you can make it from a bone
    helm, grim helm, or bone visage, any of which give you that cool necromancer
    look. :)
    "Stealth" runeword (armor)
    This runeword (Tal+Eth) makes an armor that gives 25% faster run/walk, 25%
    faster hit recovery and 25% faster cast rate. No matter what type of character
    you have or what level it is, this runeword can benefit it. (Author's Note: As
    soon as I get a character to level 17, I slap on Stealth armor (usually breast
    plate). Rarely does a character at that level have a piece of armor that is
    "Smoke" runeword (armor)
    This runeword (Nef+Lum) is a bit more difficult to obtain than the runes for
    Stealth, but can be worth it for the +50 to all resists and 75% enhanced
    defense (for the armor) that it grants.
    Cairn Shard (wand)
    Runner-up to the Arm of King Leoric, the Cairn Shard gives a total of +3 to
    summoning skills and adds to both life and mana based on your level (1.25/lvl).
    "White" runeword (wand)
    While more geared towards necromancers that focus on Poison & Bone skills, this
    runeword (Dol+Io) adds +4 to Skeleton Mastery. In a wand that happened to have
    an auto-mod bonus of +1-3 to Skeleton Mastery, this would provide a total of
    +5-7 to Mastery! Considering that a non-magical wand can have up to three
    auto-mods with each being up to +3 to a specific skill, you might find this a
    better solution than even the Arm or Cairn Shard. Also, it grants skills that a
    Summoner likely doesn't have, such as Bone Armor and Bone Spear. Though the
    spears won't do much damage, they could be useful in disrupting enemy casters,
    such as the dreaded Oblivion Knights, and melee combatants alike.
    "Rhyme" runeword (shield/shrunken head)
    You can use either a shield or a shrunken head to make this runeword
    (Shael+Eth). Using a shrunken head will also give you the benefits of the
    head's auto-mods. Rhyme will give you +25% to all resists, cannot be frozen,
    20% increased chance of blocking, 40% faster block rate, and 25% MF to boot.
    Frostburn (gloves)
    The +40% to maximum mana is great for mid game. It's a popular item, but there
    are enough floating around that it's not hard to trade for.
    Rares, Magic, and Mundane Items
    Magical and rare circlets, wands, shrunken heads, amulets, and daggers all can
    have a +1 or +2 to all necromancer skills or just one skill tab. Also, magical
    versions of any one of those (other than daggers) can have up to +3 to any one
    necromancer skill tab. Combine this with the auto-mods of wands and shrunken
    heads, and you can end up with a powerful +skills item being dropped by an
    insignificant foe. (Author's Note: I check EVERY wand and shrunken head that I
    see drop. You never know when you'll find something amazing. And even if it's
    not something you're looking for, these items often give a great return in gold
    when sold to vendors.) Obtaining circlets, shrunken heads and wands with good
    necromancer skill bonuses is fairly trivial. You may want to try to find an
    item that grants a skill you don't plan to put points into, such as Attract,
    Revive, Lower Resist, etc. More than likely, you will find enough decent items
    to get you through Normal and Nightmare difficulties. If not, try gambling for
    circlets and amulets. Also, the caster-oriented town vendors often carry wands
    with +1-3 summoning tree skill bonuses. Just keep going in and out of town to
    refresh the vendor's inventory until you find one you like. Regardless, Hell
    truly lives up to its name for a Summoner and you will likely need to trade for
    some combination of the top-of-the-line gear mentioned above.
    5.0   Mercenaries & Their Equipment [Merc]
    Without question, the best choice of mercenary for a Summoner is an Act II Town
    Guard. These mercenaries have great damage potential with a spear or polearm
    weapon, have good life totals, and most importantly, have one of the following
    paladin auras, which benefits your army greatly.
    Combat  -> Prayer
    Defense -> Defiance
    Offense -> Blessed Aim
    Combat  -> Thorns
    Defense -> Holy Freeze
    Offense -> Might
    Any one of these fellows will serve you well, but the most popular is the Might
    mercenary. Prayer is extremely useful for keeping your army (and you) alive and
    kicking, but you may find that in Hell difficulty your minions lack the punch
    they would have with Might. Since your minions do take quite a pounding, Thorns
    is also quite viable at any level. Of course, if you can afford it, the
    "Bramble" runeword can add a Thorns aura to any mercenary. Regardless of which
    mercenary you pick, for those available in both Normal and Hell difficulties,
    always take one from Normal. This may sound odd at first, but the lower the
    level you start a mercenary at, the more room he has to develop. For example, a
    Combat mercenary procured from either Normal difficulty will end up at level 99
    with a more powerful Prayer aura than a mercenary from Hell difficulty. So, the
    more a mercenary evolves with you, the better. Also, don't let your mercenary's
    level fall too far behind your own. If the difference between your levels grows
    to five or more, revisit areas you've cleared before to bring your mercenary up
    to speed. Keeping a mercenary properly leveled becomes easier for some reason
    after around level 30.
    Equipping a mercenary well is just as important as the mercenary choice itself.
    Below are a few equipment suggestions.
    Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest (helm)
    +60 to life, 10% life leech, and +15 to all resists.
    "Doom" runeword (polearm)
    +2 to skills, Level 12 Holy Freeze aura. Nigh useless on a Holy Freeze
    mercenary, but invaluable on any other.
    Kelpie Snare (spear)
    Slows target by 75%, +1.25/lvl to life, +50% fire resist. Low damage, but
    incredible in boss battles for its slow ability. Keep one in your stash and
    swap it in for bosses.
    "Bramble" runeword (armor)
    +13 to life after kill, +30% fire resist, +100% poison resist, +300 defense,
    and Level 15-21 Thorns aura. Unbelievably good if you can afford it.
    "Chains of Honor" runeword (armor)
    +2 to skills, +200% damage to demons, +100% damage to undead, 8% life leech,
    +65 to all resists, 8% damage reduction, 25% MF.
    Shaftstop (armor)
    +60 to life, 30% damage reduction. Fairly pricy (and for good reason), but
    commonly enough traded to be easily obtained.
    6.0   Sample Summoner Build [Sample]
    Here is a basic Summoner build that is "complete" at level 86 (which is very
    doable). Any further skill points could be well spent in Revive, Amplify
    Damage, Decrepify, or Lower Resist (for heavy party play).
    Pure Summoner
    20 Skeleton Mastery
    20 Raise Skeleton
    1  Clay Golem
    1  Golem Mastery
    20 Raise Skeleton Mage
    1  Blood Golem (prerequisite)
    1  Summon Resist
    1  Iron Golem (prerequisite)
    1  Revive
    1  Teeth (prerequisite)
    20 Corpse Explosion
    10 Curses (one in each)
    7.0   Hybrids & Their Builds [Hybrids]
    So, you now understand the way of the Summoner and want to shake things up a
    bit, eh? Ok, here's another couple of builds that uses the Summoner as a base
    but then diverge by adding poison or bone skills. These builds are not
    "complete" until level 99, which is a lofty goal.
    Skeletal Poisoner Hybrid
    20 Skeleton Mastery
    20 Raise Skeleton
    1  Clay Golem
    1  Golem Mastery
    1  Raise Skeleton Mage
    1  Summon Resist
    1  Teeth (prerequisite)
    14 Poison Dagger (synergy)
    1  Corpse Explosion
    20 Poison Explosion (synergy)
    20 Poison Nova
    10 Curses (one in each)
    Variations from recommendations above:
    - You may need to invest slightly in Energy. Probably no more than 50-75 total
    - As you develop your character, pay close attention to your performance and
    allocate skill points in order to keep your poison damage potent and your
    minions alive at the same time. You may want to give up the left side of the
    Curses tree in favor of putting three more points into Poison Dagger for extra
    damage through synergy bonus.
    - Replacing Trang-Oul's Scales with a "Bramble" runeword armor becomes a
    serious consideration because of its +25-50% damage bonus to Poison Skills.
    I've heard many people say using Bramble is superior, though I would have a
    hard time giving up the full set benefits of Trang-Oul's. :/
    - The Death's Web unique wand is the most desirable for a Poisoner, but since
    it is so hard to find or trade for, you should seriously consider the much
    cheaper "White" runeword wand option.
    (Author's Note: This hybrid is actually my preferred method of making a
    Summoner. With this build, you don't end up completely helpless if your army
    gets wiped out. Plus, you can be a more active combatant, instead of letting
    your forces do all the work, which many people think gets boring.)
    Blanched Master Hybrid
    20 Skeleton Mastery
    20 Raise Skeleton
    1  Clay Golem
    1  Golem Mastery
    1  Raise Skeleton Mage
    1  Summon Resist
    1  Teeth (prerequisite)
    1  Bone Armor
    1  Corpse Explosion
    15 Bone Wall/Prison
    20 Bone Spear
    20 Bone Spirit
    8  Curses (one in each, except Life Tap and Lower Resist)
    Variations from recommendations above:
    - You WILL need to invest in Energy. Also, obtain items such as Frostburn and
    the like to increase your maximum mana. Even with such boosts, you will likely
    drain your mana with your bone skills and then be relying on your minions until
    you can recharge.
    - A "White" runeword wand may be your best option, which is good because it can
    be gotten fairly easily. The unique bone knife, Wizardspike, might also be a
    good choice. It gives boosts to mana, maximum mana, and mana regeneration rate,
    and also has 50% faster cast rate and +75% to all resists!
    - Use Attract! This curse will clump your foes together, making them easy
    targets for your piercing Bone Spear.
    - Other than Attract, the curses you use should be chosen based on your
    minions' situation. Amplify Damage will likely still be your primary curse;
    though Iron Maiden can be a good option for shaving off some health when your
    enemies are bashing through your Bone Walls/Prisons.
    - Get +skill items. This is important not only for the boost in damage, but
    also because with enough non-synergy boosts, your Bone Spear's damage will
    approach the damage of your Bone Spirit. Since Bone Spear is way cheaper and
    also affects multiple targets, replacing Bone Spirit is a worthy goal.
    (Author's Note: This is a modified version of a build sent to me by Phrozen
    Heart. I'm not entirely sure about this build, as I have yet to make one
    myself. Having both Bone Wall or Prison and skeletons is a bit redundant, so
    I'm not sure if they will work together or not. Also, no curse directly
    benefits the damage from bone skills, making even the one point expense per
    curse questionable. I'm currently making a character with this build, so I'll
    update based on my results.)
    Below is a second build from NytEverlasting, who actually has practical
    experience with this character. Also, I've included his responses to questions
    I asked him about his build and his further notes on the build.
    NytEverlasting's Ivory Summoner
    20 Skeleton Mastery
    15 Raise Skeleton
    5  Clay Golem
    5  Golem Mastery
    5  Raise Skeleton Mage
    1  Blood Golem (prerequisite)
    6  Summon Resist
    1  Iron Golem (prerequisite)
    2  Revive
    1  Bone Armor
    5  Corpse Explosion
    1  Teeth (prerequisite)
    10 Bone Wall
    20 Bone Spear
    5  Amplify Damage
    8  Iron Maiden
    - I love Iron Maiden. I level it up to increase its lasting time and its
    effectiveness. I tend to use it most on the rat@%$^ flayers because most don't
    know it but it does return damage from the blowgun darts.
    - As a rule I never want less then 6 in Summon Resist. I hate having my summons
    slaughtered by something lame like D's Fire Nova or something just because
    their resistances dont quite make the cut.
    - I like putting a few points into Revive more as a convienience issue. Since I
    dont put much into Skeleton Mages, I tend to revive mostly ranged enemies like
    the skelly archers and the Spear Cats and they give my skellys ranged support.
    - Clay Golem/Golem Mastery:  I use the clay golem as a Tank. Generally the
    stronger it is the happier I am. When runewording a wand or shrunken head i
    tend to look for ones with CG or GM ups on it.
    As for how I boost the stats I do pure str in the very beginning while I can
    afford it till I hit 110, which is generally as high as you need. From that
    point on, its always the exact same with each level: 3 Vitality and 2 Energy.
    Enough health and stamina to make the grade but enough mana to make hefty use
    of both curses and BS as well as Bone Wall.
    Just to help you understand the build a little better I have assembled a list
    of equipment choices. Note that even though I consider myself a moderately
    skilled player, I am far from wealthy. I am not commonly in the possesion of
    the so-called "Godly" Items so you wont be seeing any on this list. This is a
    rather inexpensive build if you know people who can help you.
    Helm    Blackhorns Face (Unique Death Mask)
    Amulet  Saracens Chance
    Wand    White Runeword
    Armor   Smoke Runeword (Usually Archon Plate)
    Head    Rhyme (Usually Succubus Skull)
    Gloves  Frostburn (Unique Gauntlets)
    Belt    Glooms Trap (Unique Mesh Belt)
    Boots   Silkweave (Unique Mesh Boots)
    Ring1   Dwarf Star
    Ring2   Raven Frost
    This setup gives quite a lot max mana boost and is well covered on resistances.
    Tends to be a little behind on the defenses, so it wouldn't take much for the
    enemy to take you down; but if you play it right there's no reason this
    equipment couldn't hold you through the whole game. Nothing fancy or godly, but
    simple and straight to the point.
    8.0   Contact Information [Contact]
    If you have compliments, complaints, or suggestions about this guide, please
    contact me at happywanderer86@yahoo.com . If changes are made to the game and I
    do not update this guide in a timely fashion, feel free to contact me and I
    will either update it or pass the torch on to someone who will.
    9.0   Legal Stuff [:P]
    All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
    respective trademark and copyright holders.
    This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
    private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
    publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web
    site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation
    of copyright.
    10.0  Edit History & Acknowledgements [Thanks]
    Pre-release changes
    1.  Added discussion about Dim Vision. Thanks to GenXCub, grimshade, and
    2.  Added discussion about the viability of the Thorns merc. Thanks to
    3.  Changed Arm of King Leoric description from "best wand" to "best unique
    wand". Thanks to Syfa-d2.
    4.  Added "White" runeword to Equipment guide. Thanks to Syfa-d2.
    5.  Created "Items on the Cheap" section, moved a few items into it and added
    more discussion about non-uniques. Thanks to snapjacklad, Syfa-d2, and
    6.  Expanded a bit on reasons for using Lower Resist. Thanks to laird47.
    7.  Added short discussion about Confuse. Thanks to grimshade.
    8.  Added "or need more targets to take damage for you" to Skeleton Mage
    discussion. Thanks to laird47.
    9.  Added discussion about Mercenary equipment. Thanks to laird47.
    10. Removed some extraneous personal observations, in favor of the "Author's
    Note" style.
    11. Added a note about Skeletal Mastery's effect on Revives. Thanks to
    12. Added Rhyme and Stealth runewords to Items on the Cheap and added HotO to
    Equipment guide. Thanks to grimshade.
    13. Made significant changes throughout for purposes of formatting and layout.
    Content remained fairly constant though.
    14. Added Intro, Hybrids, Contact and Legal sections.
    Post-release changes
    15. Added Blanched Master/Ivory Summoner hybrids. Thanks to Phrozen Heart and
    16. Added Wizardspike to Blanched Master hybrid discussion. Thanks to Vince.
    17. Added a disclaimer about being a softcore, non-PvP, ladder player.
    18. Added a note about the Marrowwalk bug.
    Copyright 2004 David Grandin