Corpse (5e Class)

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The Corpse[edit]

In a dark room far below the ground, it is silent. A silence last broken over a decade ago. The last entity to break this silence is slumped against the wall, still as the stone that this place is hewn from. It grins at the far wall, clutching a small cloth bag pierced by an iron spike. An iron spike that protrudes from the wall, and is shared by the holder of the bag. On the floor scattered about bony toes lie cut gemstones of immeasurable quality and ancient coins of a soft and valuable metal. Just as the stare of empty sockets left by a life long gone is swallowed by absolute darkness, so too are the beauty of these treasures fated to go unwitnessed, a sparkle or glint otherwise annihilated by a void so great as to cause the concept of such things to halt existence in their entirety. In this dark corner of the earth, where there are no observers, there is nothing to observe. A nothingness so great and so immense in its absence, and yet we trivialize it with such a small name as "death."

—a dead body

Corpses are the unsung heroes of adventures everywhere. For beginning adventurers, it's practically guaranteed that no matter where you go, someone has already been there and died. Often times, they leave behind packs laden with loot, notes, or keys, ripe for the plunder of the new generation!

Creating a Corpse[edit]

A fairly standard corpse.
Quick Build

You can make a corpse quickly by following these suggestions. First, make a chaotic neutral drow bard with Intelligence as their highest ability score, and Strength as their second highest. Make sure to give them the Noble background with the retainer feature. Second, send them into a tavern full of dwarves.

Class features[edit]

As a Corpse you gain the following class features.
Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d100 per Corpse level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 100 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d100 (or 51) + Constitution modifier per Corpse level after 1st


Armor: None
Weapons: None
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose none from Athletics, Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, Religion, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, Deception, Intimidation, Performance, or Persuasion


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) four items that are any arrangement of ammo, weapon, armor, or shield or (b) 14 gold pieces
  • (a) a holy symbol (b) an arcane focus (c) a component pouch (d) a simple weapon (e) a common magic item or (f) an ominous note
  • (a) an uncommon magic item or (b) 36 gold pieces
  • a pack of any kind

Alternatively, you may use the starting equipment of any other class, or ignore the equipment from your class and background and spend 10d4x10 gold pieces in starting funds.

Level Bonus Features
1st +2 Death's Hold, Natural Process
2nd +2 Rigor Mortis
3rd +2 Archetype Selection
4th +2 Ability Score Diminishment
5th +1
6th +1 Archetype feature
7th +1 Too Far From Life
8th +1 Ability Score Diminishment
9th +0
10th +0 Archetype feature
11th +0
12th +0 Ability Score Diminishment
13th -1 Durability of Simplicity
14th -1 Archetype feature
15th -1
16th -1 Ability Score Diminishment
17th -2
18th -2
19th -2 Ability Score Diminishment
20th -2 Precious Remains

Death's Hold[edit]

At first level, your body has just underwent a major transformation. You now do not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, you are immune to psychic damage, and you have a natural AC equal to 8 + your Strength modifier + your Constitution modifier.
However, this transformation does have its drawbacks, as you cannot move, speak, think, perceive, or initiate interactions with the world around you in any way.

Natural Process[edit]

Every six hours, you gain 300 experience points. This amount is doubled in moist, open-air environments and halved in dry environments.

Rigor Mortis[edit]

At second level, your body becomes stiff and pale and you become immune to damage from both poison and disease.
A creature of your size or smaller attempting to move you has disadvantage on the Strength check required (DC 10).

Archetype Selection[edit]

Where your previous adventure ended determines how your final adventure shall begin.
There are four choices: The Husk, The Rotten, The Preserved, and The Artifact.

Ability Score Diminishment[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can decrease one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can decrease two ability scores of your choice by 1. You can't decrease an ability score below 0 using this feature.

Too Far From Life[edit]

At 7th level, you are no longer able to regain hit points from conventional sources.

Durability of Simplicity[edit]

At 13th level, if you take damage that would bring you below half your remaining hit points, you are instead brought to half your remaining hit points. This is subverted if the damage is greater than or equal to your maximum hit points.

Precious Remains[edit]

At 20th level, you become of notable value to certain groups, such as archaeologists. For every 36,000 Experience Points you have, your value increases by (10 + your Charisma modifier) gold pieces, multiplied by the percentage of Hit Points you have left.

The Husk[edit]

A corpse in conditions too remote and too inhospitable for life to reach it, but within the regular sight of the glaring sun.

Hell's Kitchen
At 3rd level, your flesh has begun to blister and turn brown as your body is slowly cooked, releasing a morbid aroma. You become resistant to fire damage.
Sun-Dried Jerky
At 6th level, your skin has become thin, flaky, and translucent, while the muscle underneath has become dark and tough. You become resistant to slashing damage.
Extra Crispy
At 10th level, your organs have dried out and shrunk, and now rattle around inside your body cavity. At this point, your body has become extremely light and easy to carry. Your weight is halved.
At 14th level, all the moisture has been evaporated from your body, leaving you as little more than a brittle skeleton covered with a wax-like sheet that used to be your skin and muscle. You are now vulnerable to fire, acid, and bludgeoning damage, and if you end your turn in liquid, you take 20 acid damage.

The Rotten[edit]

At nature's mercy, your body is now part of the cycle of life.

Fresh Meat
At 3rd level, your body has begun to discolour a purplish-blue and emit faint odors, attracting nearby small animals and insects.
Any creatures with an Intelligence score over 5 unsuited to death must beat a DC 12 Wisdom save to interact with your body in a physical way.
The Bloating
At 6th level, your body has begun to swell with gas and leak various fluids. Additionally, it has become host to a whole ecosystem of various critter-crawlers.
During this period, every time your body is jostled, impacted, or touched, you must make a DC 13 Constitution save. Failure on this save causes a gas pocket to rupture, blasting creatures in a 10-foot radius with foul gas. If a creature inhales this gas, they must make a DC 14 Constitution save. If they fail, they are poisoned and take 1 poison damage every turn until they beat the save. Additionally, a creature must make a DC 16 Wisdom save to avoid becoming disgusted and place themselves as far away from the body as possible.
In its normal state, any creatures with an Intelligence score over 5 must beat a DC 15 Wisdom save to successfully interact with your body.
The Ripening
At 10th level, the gasses held within your body have all released, and all the soft tissues left have began to liquefy. An abhorrent odor is emitted from your body at all times, requiring creatures within 10 feet with an Intelligence score over 3 to make a DC 15 Wisdom check in order to successfully approach you.
At 14th level, nearly all of the soft tissues that made up your body are gone, either dissolved into the ground or picked clean by insects. Your bones lay bare for all the world to see. Perhaps a small animal might be attracted to them to gnaw on or provide shelter. This animal, should it decide to claim your bones, will defend them fiercely from threats.
The nature of your form at this point renders you weak to bludgeoning damage, and resistant to piercing damage.

The Preserved[edit]

By some process, either natural or artificial, the effect of nature has been halted on you.

Salted, Pickled, and Tinned
At 3rd level, your body has been placed in a situation where natural decomposition cannot occur. Perhaps you were submersed in a peat bog, frozen in a glacier, or embalmed in a ritual. Nonetheless, the results are apparent: Ability Score Diminishment now only requires you to reduce a single score of your choice by 1.
Frozen in Time
At 6th level, due to your suspended decomposition, your features are surviving remarkably well, enough to make anyone who wishes to vandalize you think twice. Your Charisma modifier is added to your AC.
Venerable Dead
At 10th level, the world is passing you by, while you lie unchanging. Any creatures with an Intelligence score over 5 who wish to interact with you must beat a DC 16 Wisdom save. If they fail, they will not perform any attack that will harm you or allow you to come to harm.
Historical Treasure
At 14th level, as an icon of times past, your status transcends your physical appearance. For all intents and purposes, your Charisma score is doubled. This score can surpass 20.

The artifact[edit]

In life you were a figure in incredible religious significance causing few to dare disturb your eternal rest.

Spell Guard

At 3rd level protective measures have been enacted in order to protect you from the elements and outsiders, you are constantly under the effects of the sanctuary spell (DC 12) and at each dawn you gain an amount of temporary hit points equal to your corpse level.

Consult the Spirits

At 6th level your spirit gains some capability to observe the outside world and help those in need, you can hear and see the area within 30ft of your body, these senses cannot be obscured or manipulated in any way.

A creature that casts commune while within 30ft of you can decide to ask you Their questions, if you choose to answer you must answer truthfully to the best of your abilities.

When a creature makes a religion check while within 30ft of you, you can decide to give that creature advantage on the check.

Burial Site

Starting at 10th level the area within 100ft of you becomes holy (or unholy) ground as if by the hallow spell, you choose the extra effect and can change the extra effect every 30 days. The save DC for any effects associated with the spell is 12.

Additionally the effects of your Consult the Spirits feature extends to the entire hallowed area.

Crypt Keeper

Starting at 14th level when a paladin, cleric, divine sorcerer dies within 100ft of you, you can decide to have them become a holy relic, honored for their sacrifice, when they choose their corpse subclass they must choose The Artifact subclass.

Additionally they start with 100 temporary hit points, these temporary hit points disappear if they are returned to life.


Multiclassing Into:

Once a character reaches 0 hit points and fails their death saving throws, they automatically multiclass into corpse.
Once you multiclass into corpse, you lose all other class levels.

Multiclassing Out-Of:

A character can multiclass out of corpse only if they have been subjected to an effect capable of bringing the dead back to life. Once you multiclass out of corpse, you lose all corpse levels and regain the class levels you had previous to multiclassing into corpse.

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