Simple Minion Cleric (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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While not outlandishly powerful, this is a rather straightforward build for an evil spellcaster. It capitalizes on the Animate Dead spell to gather a force of undead to amplify the combat power of the caster and his party (if any).


The rulebooks you will need to effectively run this build are as follows:

The Player's Handbook PHB
Libris Mortis: Book of Undead LM

Game Rule Components[edit]

This build relies on character feats to effectively bolster its undead controlling capabilities.

Race and Templates[edit]

Human is probably the best race for this build, as the extra feat at first level will enable the character to get going faster. If you don't want to run a human, consider a race that will provide a bonus to Wisdom for extra bonus spells. Avoid templates with level adjustment that don't provide a caster level bonus to your relevant spellcasting class ( Cleric, Sorcerer, or Wizard).


Cleric is probably the best class for this build, as they will gain access to Animate Dead most quickly. Additionally, the ability to heal undead with Inflict spells is a boon that cannot be overlooked (and can even be applied to the caster with the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat). Clerics who have access to the Death Domain will benefit from Animate Dead as a Domain spell. Sorcerers and Wizards also gain access to Animate Dead, and wield more powerful damage-dealing spells than the typical cleric, making the Fell Animate feat more effective.


This build focuses on bolstering the undead controlled by the caster, so feats from LM like Corpsecrafter, Fell Animate, and Tomb-Tainted Soul are the best choices. Bolster Resistance and Deadly Chill will make the controlled undead more deadly and resilient, and Destruction Retribution will give the undead a death throes-like capability to deal one last bit of damage.


This build is only truly concerned with Animate Dead and the assorted Inflict spells. Arcane casters should focus on spells from the Evocation School to use in conjunction with the Fell Animate metamagic feat.


To capitalize on this build's potential, characters should work toward obtaining a Rod of Undead Mastery, which doubles the amount of undead that can be controlled by the caster from 4HD of undead per caster level to 8HD of undead per caster level. The rod's base market price is 10,000gp.


Build A: Cleric Build

ECL Class/HD/LA Feats Special
1st Cleric 1 Tomb-Tainted Soul, Corpsecrafter Rebuke Undead
2nd Cleric 2
3rd Cleric 3 Necromantic Presence
4th Cleric 4
5th Cleric 5 Ability to cast Animate Dead
6th Cleric 6 Undead Leadership

So on and so forth.

Build B: True Necromancer

ECL Class/HD/LA Feats Special
1st Cleric 1 Tomb-Tainted Soul, Corpsecrafter Rebuke Undead
2nd Cleric 2
3rd Cleric 3 Necromantic Presence Ability to cast summon undead II
4th Cleric 3/Wizard 1
5th Cleric 3/Wizard 2
6th Cleric 3/Wizard 3 Undead Leadership Ability to cast command undead
7th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 1
8th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 2
9th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 3 Mother Cyst
10th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 4
11th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 5
12th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 6 Profane Vigor
13th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 7
14th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 8
15th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 9 Fell Animate
16th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 10
17th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 11
18th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 12 Destruction Retribution
19th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 13
20th Cleric 3/Wizard 3/True Necromancer 14

By the end of this version of the build, you should cast spells as a 16th level Cleric and a 16th level Wizard, as well as having some abilities granted by the True Necromancer PrC that improve your undead.


This build relies on undead to serve as extra weapons and a hit-point buffer for the caster.


It is important to note that characters do not gain access to Animate Dead until they can cast 3rd-level spells (Cleric) or 4th-level spells (Sorcerer/Wizard), and the earliest opportunity for this is 5th-level (Cleric), 7th-level (Wizard), and 8th-level (Sorcerer), barring any templates that grant spellcasting abilities.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

Take it to the next level.

  • If you really want to munchkin this build, use the True Necromancer prestige class from the Libris Mortis. The build takes 3 levels of cleric, then 3 levels of wizard, then into the prestige class. The chain of feats with Corpsecrafter is essential to make the undead better.
  • Ditch both Cleric and True Necromancer and focus on the Dread Necromancer base class (Heroes of Horror). Buff Charisma and, come level 6-9 (or whenever it is that you can create your own undead) you'll command 100+ HD of undead and brutally own everything you come across.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewOptimized Character Builds

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