Necromancer (3.5e Class)
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|“||Chapter 1: Proper use of a shovel.||”|
|—The Book of the Dead|
A Necromancer is a spellcaster that harbors the ability to raise, animate, create, or summon undead. They are spontaneous arcane magic casters that are more adept in the arts of magic that twist bodies, minds and souls alike than anyone else.
Making a Necromancer
A Necromancer is a caster that is able to expel negative energies flowing through their veins. Necromancers are similar to sorcerers, but are more adept with necromancy and, to some extent, enchantment spells. They use their abilities to gain absolute control over their enemies' bodies, minds and souls and usually the best thing to do that is by raising/summoning undead from their fallen enemies, skill at which they are unparalleled. Necromancers are also effective with diseases, poison spells, and affecting opponents with fear, fatigue, exhaustion, pain, negative energy damage, or even gaining mindless supporters through the use of enchantment spells like charm or dominate.
A Necromancer's strengths are in bolstering undead, summoning or raising undead minions (which they can control up to a number of a large mob) and being able to cast a vast repertoire of various necromancy spells. They are strong spell casters but are not durable in physical combat. A Necromancer should primarily be used for crowd control (and at higher levels, seriously, a 'crowd controller') able to curse the enemy while animating different undead to occupy the enemy while their teammates continue to sustain a mass of dead bodies for you.
Abilities: Charisma is the most important as it powers all the necromancer's spells in addition to granting more 'rebuke undead' attempts. A high dexterity can prove invaluable when enemies focus their attacks on rather frail but extremely potent caster. Constitution is also important unless necromancer intends to transform himself into undead at some point in his career via some of the most gruesome necromantic rituals.
Races: Humans are best fit to work as necromancers, due to their particularly short life spans and nonchalant attitudes toward the dead. Elves lack the stomach, and raw power to unearth materials. Gnomes find that the afterlife just isn't as entertaining as where they are now. Halflings see it to be a waste of time, as many undead weigh a lot and are too bulky to be hauling around everywhere. Many Orc, and half-orc shamans dabble in necromancy, and half elves don't mind it too much either.
Alignment: Any non-good (too much negative energy for a good aligned character to live with). A Necromancer is not quintessentially "evil", though most necromancers display traits of uncontrolled insanity, earlier on in history, necromancers were a welcome addition in any village or town. Once upon a time, necromancers were honored as shepherds of the dead, justified by aiding transition to the other side, as well as being a cornucopia of funerary wrappings, sacred incantations, and other things that help them to put the dead to rest.
Languages: A necromancer may substitute Draconic for any of the bonus languages available to the character because of her race. Starting Gold: 3d6 gp
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Rebuke undead, undead companion||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Negative energy conduit||4||2||-||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Deathless vigor +2||5||2||1||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Animate dead 1/day||6||4||2||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Necromantic prowess +1||6||5||3||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Desecration zone +1||6||6||5||3||—||—||—||—||—|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Master of atrocities||6||6||6||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Animate dead 2/day||6||6||6||5||3||—||—||—||—|
|12th||+6/+1||+4||+4||+8||Desecration zone +2, necromantic prowess +2||6||6||6||6||5||3||—||—||—|
|13th||+6/+1||+4||+4||+8||Tough as bone||6||6||6||6||6||4||—||—||—|
|14th||+7/+2||+4||+4||+9||Deathless vigor +4||6||6||6||6||6||5||3||—||—|
|15th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+9||Animate dead 3/day||6||6||6||6||6||6||4||—||—|
|16th||+8/+3||+5||+5||+10||Desecration zone +3||6||6||6||6||6||6||5||3||—|
|18th||+9/+4||+6||+6||+11||Necromantic prowess +3||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||5||3|
|20th||+10/+5||+6||+6||+12||Phylactery, Desecration zone +4||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||5|
Class Skills (2 + int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the necromancers.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Necromancer is proficient with all simple weapons. They are proficient with light armors but not with shields. The somatic components required for necromancer spells are simple, so members of this class can cast necromancer spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. They still incur the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells derived from other classes. In addition, if a necromancer wears medium or heavy armor, or uses a shield, he incurs the same chance of arcane spell failure as any other arcane caster if the spell in question has a somatic component.
Spells: A necromancer casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the necromancer’s spell list. Like a sorcerer, he can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. When a necromancer gains access to a new level of spells, he automatically knows all the spells for that level given on the necromancer’s spell list.
- 1st—bane, bestow wound, cause fear, charm person, comprehend languages, curse water, deathwatch, detect undead, doom, gentle repose, hide from undead, hypnotism, identify, inflict light wounds, parching touch, ray of enfeeblement, sleep and summon undead I
- 2nd—blindness/deafness, command undead, darkness, darkvision, death knell, desecrate, desiccate, detect thoughts, false life, fear, ghoul touch, inflict moderate wounds, locate object, scare, see invisibility, spectral hand, summon swarm, summon undead II and touch of idiocy
- 3rd—animate dead, arcane sight, awaken undead, bestow curse, black sand, clairaudience/clairvoyance, contagion, deeper darkness, dispel magic, halt undead, inflict serious wounds, ray of exhaustion, speak with dead, suggestion, summon undead III, tongues and vampiric touch
- 4th—arcane eye, blight, charm monster, confusion, crushing despair, death ward, dimension door, enervation, fear, inflict critical wounds, locate creature, phantasmal killer, poison, scrying and summon undead IV
- 5th—cloudkill, commune, contact other plane, dominate person, feeblemind, greater dispel magic, insect plague, magic jar, mass inflict light wounds, mind fog, nightmare, oath of blood slay living, summon undead V, symbol of pain, telepathic bond, teleport, unhallow and waves of fatigue
- 6th—analyze dweomer, circle of death, create undead, eyebite, geas/quest, harm, mass inflict moderate wounds, legend lore, mass suggestion, shadow walk, symbol of fear, symbol of persuasion, true seeing and undeath to death
- 7th— control undead, destruction, field of ghouls, finger of death, greater arcane sight, greater harm, greater scrying, insanity, mass inflict serious wounds, power word blind, symbol of weakness, vision and waves of exhaustion
- 8th—clone, create greater undead, discern location, ghostform, horrid wilting, mass charm monster, mass inflict critical wounds, moment of prescience, power word stun, symbol of death, symbol of insanity, trap the soul, veil of undeath, and unholy aura
- 9th— energy drain, imprison soul, mass harm, plague of undead, power word kill, soul bind and wail of the banshee and vile death
Rebuke Undead (Su): A necromancer can rebuke or command undead creatures by channeling negative energy through his body.
Undead Companion: A necromancer may begin play with a companion selected from the following list: human warrior skeleton, wolf skeleton, kobold zombie, human commoner zombie. This undead is a loyal, intelligent companion that accompanies the necromancer on his adventures until destroyed or released.
A 1st-level necromancer’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below. As a necromancer advances in level, the undead’s power increases as shown on the table. If a necromancer releases his companion from service, he may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring an appropriate body and 24 uninterrupted hours of meditation. This ceremony can also replace an undead companion that was destroyed.
Negative Energy Conduit (Su): At 2nd level, a necromancer becomes a living conduit to the negative energy plane. This allows him to channel negative energy to heal undead allies (or himself, if somehow transformed to undead). You are healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy as if you were an undead creature. This feat gives no other penalties or benefi ts of the undead type. At will (but not more often than once per round) by touching an undead creature, he can heal it by 1d4 hit points.
Deathless Vigor (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, a necromancer’s body becomes more akin to the undying flesh of his undead associates. The character gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves except against effects that also work on objects. This effect increases to +3 at 9th level, and +4 at 14th and higher levels.
Undead Mastery (Su): All undead creatures created by a necromancer who has reached 4th level or higher gain a +4 profane bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per Hit Die. In addition, when a necromancer uses the animate dead spell (or his animate dead class ability) to create undead, he can control 4 + his Charisma bonus HD worth of undead creatures per caster level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted). Similarly, when a necromancer casts the control undead spell, the spell targets up to (2 + her Cha bonus) HD/level of undead creatures, rather than the 2 HD/level normally granted by the spell.
Animate Dead (Sp): At 5th level, a necromancer's experience working with undead forms brings the ability to animate the dead easily. The necromancer is able to animate the dead once per day as a spell-like ability that works as animate dead spell but requires no components. At 10th level number of uses increases to 2/day and at 15th level a necromancer can use it 3/day.
Necromantic Prowess (Ex): At 6th level, a necromancer gains unsurpassed power over death. When he rebukes undead, casts a necromancy spell, or uses a spell-like ability that mimics a necromancy spell, his effective caster level increases. The bonus is +1 at 6th level, +2 at 12th level, and +3 at 18th level and higher.
Desecration zone (Su): At 8th level, a necromancer is continuously surrounded by an aura of negative energy identical to the desecrate spell, but affecting only allied undead (and the necromancer, if also undead). The area of negative energy extends to a radius of 10 feet per necromancer class level. At 12th level profane bonuses granted to all undead attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws and hit points per HD increase to +2. At 16th level they increase further to +3 and at 20th level they reach +4.
Master of Atrocities: At 10th level, a necromancer significantly extends his mastery of Animate Dead class ability. He can now raise his victims not only as zombies or skeletons, but as any kind of undead creature, provided the created undead challenge rating would not be higher than ½ necromancer’s caster level and that the animated corpse/soul had in life at least enough HD as the chosen undead creature's base HD. Limit to the maximum HD resurrected per cast still applies and so does the the maximum controlled HD limit that is shared among all undead creatures controlled via Animate Dead.
Undead Senses (Ex): At 11th level a necromancer gains the senses of the dead, granting him sight, hearing and smell of the undead creatures. Necromancer gains darkvision 60 ft. and can see, hear and smell even if his respective sense organs are damaged or removed.
Undead Toughness (Ex): 13th level necromancer takes on even more of the qualities of an undead creature. He becomes immune to disease, nonlethal damage, poison and stunning.
Phylactery: At 20th level a necromancer can trap part of his soul into a Phylactery (see Lich’s Phylactery). Necromancer does not need craft wondrous item feat to craft the phylactery, however he still needs to pay XP and gold cost associated with crafting it. When necromancer is killed his soul flees to the phylactery and 1d10 days after death starts roaming in the vicinity to identify and possess a suitable dead body to inhabit it to come back to his full power once again.
Necromancer's Undead Companion
A necromancer’s undead companion is different from a normal undead of its kind in many ways. A necromancer’s undead companion is superior to a normal undead of its kind and has special powers, as described below.
|1st–2nd||+0||+0||+0||Link, Dark Empowerment|
Undead Companion Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the companion’s kind, but make the following changes.
Class Level: The character’s necromancer level. The necromancer class levels are the base for determining the companion’s abilities and the alternative lists available to the character.
Bonus HD: Extra twelve-sided (d12) Hit Dice. Remember that extra Hit Dice improve the undead companion’s base attack and base save bonuses. An undead companion’s base attack bonus is the same as that of a necromancer of a level equal to the undead’s HD. An undead companion has good Will save and weak Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the undead’s HD). An undead companion gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice.
Dark Empowerment (Ex): If a necromancer possesses any feats or other extraordinary abilities that boost undead he creates, he may also apply these bonuses to the undead companion at the moment of its creation. These also include necromancer class skill - undead mastery.
Multiattack: An undead companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the undead companion instead gains a second attack with its primary natural weapon, albeit at a –5 penalty.
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, an undead companion takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and only half damage if the saving throw fails.
Bonus Feats: The epic necromancer gains a bonus feat (any feat the necromancer qualifies for) at level 21, and every three levels thereafter.
Undead Companion: The epic necromancer’s undead companion continues to increase in power. At every three levels higher than 18th (21st, 24th, 27th, and so on), the undead companion gains 2 bonus hit dice, +1 Strength and Dexterity and its natural armor increases by 2.
Playing a Necromancer
Religion: Necromancer usually worship Nerull, the god of death. They may also worship Vecna, Wee Jas or Hextor. Necromancers who worship Nerull are particularly ill-tempered, as Nerull supports his subjects slaughter, and provokes them to go on killing sprees to boost the undead militia they've created. Orcus is also a popular choice. Necromancers worshipping Orcus are usually adept at shifting planes of existence, and sacrificing in the name of their deity. Necromancers worshipping neutral or chaotic neutral deities are not uncommon, but necromancers worshiping good deities like Pelor, and Yondalla, are virtually unheard of.
Other Classes: A Necromancer gets along with evil clerics and sorcerers who study the Necromancy school. Chaotic barbarians and fighters help protect the necromancer while he animates waves of undead. Should any of his teammates be slain, a necromancer wouldn't think twice about animating their corpse to use as fodder.
Combat: The typical role in combat for a Necromancer is artillery, magical support, or bestowed effects, as well as animating dead tissue for fodder.
Advancement: A Necromancer may multi-class as a Pale Master (Prestige Class, Tome and Blood), a True Necromancer (Prestige Class, Tome and Blood), with enough training a BlackGuard (Prestige Class, DMG3.5), wizard, sorcerer, or a cleric. Necromancer druids are not unknown.
Necromancers in the World
|“||Wow, a graveyard. How.... delightful.||”|
|—Devlin Ragner, Human 5th level Necromancer|
Necromancers are the people who create undead in the world. They will usually have hidden undead bases or live in abandoned houses near a graveyard so they have protection. They will work as grave keepers with no troubles. Sometimes certain nobles will employ the services of necromancers. These more wealthy commonfolk could just need the employment of an undertaker, and more often than not, to either avenge or resurrect a loved one.
The Path of Transcendence: Ancient necrotic tomes describe a process of rituals and incantations that are said to prolong ones life, indefinitely, ultimately becoming a Lich. This idea is thrown around throughout necromancy, but never really covered as a topic. Few know of the power unleashed through a millennia of spellcraft, and these select few aren't willing to part with that knowledge.
Organizations: Necromancers do not assemble or meet in set places in fear of paladin attacks, but live in small communities tied to the main guild and are given orders from there. Freelancing Necromancers are given a choice to join, and if not, they are usually killed as the Necromancer Guild prefers that they are not blamed for the freelancers mistakes or problems. They refuse to help those who declined to join.
NPC Reactions: Good NPCs hate Necromancers, and will usually try to kill them if they find out. But evil NPCs take to them like a duck takes to water and will work with them. Rarely a necromancer's mere presence will animate dead flesh, but on a much lower scale, like a cat buried in the backyard of the bar they're in- these animated birds and pets usually end up becoming the necromancer's familiar. In time necromancers heal with negative energy, drawing them (if not physically, then spiritually) towards evil clerics and other characters who resonate pure evil.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History) or Knowledge (arcane) can research Necromancers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Necromancers are adept at animating and summoning undead, and many necromancers are skilled in casting disease and plague on their enemies.
- DC 15: Necromancers can voluntarily become a Lich, and expand their life indefinately. And if there are any powerful necromancers in their general area, like "You heard from a suspicious figure in a bar that in the mountains to the north (or wherever) strange dark purple lights have been sighted, and the sound of screams can be heard there."
- DC 20: "While concentrating on your thought, suddenly a cry for help dashes out of the nearest woods, and groups of civilians are seen running from what looks like walking skeletons!" With this check you learn where the latest undead attack has been seen, this does not imply it was direct necromancer contact, but the undead were exhibiting strange, almost controlled actions.
- DC 25: Youve heard through the grapevine that there was an attack on a village a day ago. The village has had problems with undead rising from their graves and walking off, and a strange man has been spotted in the village who looks very old, and smells of embalming fluid. In the same night men, women, and children were savagely attacked by their deceased loved ones.