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On my current fortress I noticed a couple of necromancers when I started. I killed one, and another got away. Now body parts are getting up and dancing a jig with my dwarves, but I can't see who's raising them. How can I find the lovely individual who thinks the dead should rise again?

Just to prove I have a stealth necromancer, he just popped up:

Unit List - Necromancer

Announcement - Intruder

And when I zoom...

Look - Necromancer

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I'll make this into an answer if it works: Couldn't you just lay out a ton of cage traps all over the surface, then wait for the necromancer to wander into one? Sure, it might take a while, but if you put out a few dozen traps and necromancers don't have that trapavoidance thing he or she will wander into one eventually, right? – Canageek Jun 11 '12 at 23:54
@Canageek Good in theory, but they've been getting through my traps in the entrance b/c of their horde of undead birds and hands and heads filling up the cages. It could work, would just take more cages than I have. Besides, what do I do with all these caged undead hands now? – C. Ross Jun 12 '12 at 12:31
I suppose they can't be trained. Sounds like an arena for me. Do they attack any living thing? Sounds like a great 'seal them into a room with the cages, pull lever, watch the hands kill them all.' emergency location. Also good for toxic forgotten beasts I suspect. What you should do is put a row of weapon traps outside the cage traps to filter the volume down some. – Canageek Jun 13 '12 at 0:35
@Canageek He got chased into a trap after all! – C. Ross Jun 13 '12 at 1:00

Set a number of cage traps around the map; The Necromancer will eventually walk into one. Then, once he or she is trapped in one place it becomes trivially easy to find him or her.

To cut down on the number of undead hands filling your traps you could place a row of weapons traps in front of your entrance, before the cage traps, to clear out some of the riff-raff.

My understanding is also that Necromancers will hunt down living creatures, so you could try baiting your traps with a chained animal at the centre.

Note; I wrote this after discussing it in comments with the OP, and him discovering that despite misgivings the Necromancer was eventually caught in a cage trap.

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Cage traps solve 99% of problems. For the other 1%, there are chained animals. – kotekzot Jun 13 '12 at 13:42
You forgot the % which is solved with lava. – Canageek Jun 13 '12 at 21:46

I've been digging around official forums and can only give you some hearsay (haven't encountered a Necromancer myself by now).

  • They're running around the map, probably going for the entrance of your fort
  • They'll run away when a search party comes to close to them (unfortunately the view of the necromancer is farer then that of the dwarfs)
  • The necromancer is close to what ever is animated including line of sight (~15 tiles)

Some ideas to get them:

  • Set the grass on fire
  • Patrol everywhere
  • Set your livestock free and wait until one meets the necromancer
  • Flood everything with water
  • Flood everything with magma

Some further threads on the topic:

And for some !!FUN!! story: Necromancer screening

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Are you on (even partially) an Evil Biome?

Your presumption - that body parts require a necromancer to begin to walk about - is false. The evil biomes in DF2012 (.34.X), Terrifying, Haunted, and Sinister, all will routinely raise the bits and pieces of anything dead within their bounds.

Unfortunately, undead in this version have some considerable advantages - they can be killed, but not destroeyd by conventional weapons. You may strike them down, only to have them rise again with full "health" moments later, since the effect of the Evil biomes is regular, not a one-time thing. Even the strongest and stoutest of your dwarves are liable to be worn down by attrition, and since you can't move your fortress off of the evil biome, you have no choice but to constantly fight against the living dead.

So to answer your question, there might not even be a necromancer.

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I'm fairly certain I'm not in an evil biome, and I saw two necromancers. Also, I go long periods of time (seasons) without anything being raised. Seems to follow ... – C. Ross Jun 10 '12 at 20:56
@C.Ross Then have you checked the units list? Units are never removed from it unless they leave the map (which means you could zoom to them), and Necromancers don't "randomly" wander in (they're announced, like sieges). – Raven Dreamer Jun 10 '12 at 21:09
I just found him, and there was an announcement, but it happened after he was already in my fort (same as last time), only when he bumped into a dwarf. Stealth necromancers... – C. Ross Jun 10 '12 at 21:18

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