Necromancer, 4th Variant (5e Class)

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The Necromancer[edit]

Hordes of the undead swarm a castle’s walls, lead by an ebony-clad human. He seeks to end the tyranny of the king who terrorized his people, using the corpses of the king’s victims to strike fear into the heart of his men.

A group of ill-prepared adventurers delve into dungeon’s deep and are swarmed by goblins. Moments later all torchlight is extinguished and for what feels like minutes only the sound of incoherent groaning, swords meeting flesh, and goblins screaming in terror can be heard. Almost as soon as it started it ended, and there in the newfound torchlight a half-giant surrounded by scores of undead seeming to wait for his command stands in the aftermath.

Necromancers, unlike those in the School of Necromancy, study nothing other than the facts of death and the machinations for which the umbral energy of the realm can be used to their advantage. Where those within the School simply dabble, Necromancers thrive on and, in some cases, choose to succumb to the powers of necrotic energies wholly.

Mastery Over Life and Death[edit]

Scrutinized, sequestered, and most of all vilified, necromancers are vastly misunderstood spellcasters due to their association with beings such as liches and gods of undeath. While many are drawn to this class by the allure of immortality and other such self-serving means, many others are persuaded by the prospects of helping the dead find peace through retribution of wrongdoings or helping a loved one move on. Though the casting of a typical spell requires merely the utterance of a few strange words, fleeting gestures, and sometimes a pinch or clump of exotic materials, these surface components barely hint at the expertise attained after years of apprenticeship and countless hours of study.

Necromancers, like other casters of their caste, live and die by their spells (in this case literally). Everything else is secondary. They learn new spells as they experiment and grow in experience. They can also learn them from other necromancers, from ancient tomes or inscriptions, and from ancient creatures (such as vampires) that are steeped in magic.

The Lure of the Macabre[edit]

Necromancers’ lives are generally a bleak, lonesome existence. Necromancers often face seclusion or rejection from society, given they bring decay and death to those around them. They are usually alone, and convening with a necromancer is often seen as shady business. Many people are under the delusion that necromancers can simply bring back the dead, and others say they’re simply a scam. Necromancers do not delve into these forbidden arts simply on a whim, but because they seek power, extended life, or the ability to preserve the lives of the ones they love even at the cost of their own.

Even so, the call of power and knowledge coaxes even the most separated of necromancers out of the safety of their cemeteries and laboratories and into crumbling ruins, lost cities, and decaying woodlands. Most necromancers seek the knowledge of long forgotten civilizations, seeking the possibility of learning old practices of ghastly magics that have been lost to the ages. Discovering those secrets could unlock a font of power greater than any dark arcanes available in the present age. Though more often than not in the case of necromancers, ancient findings lead to the repetition of ancient disasters.

Creating a Necromancer[edit]

Quick Build

You can make a Necromancer quickly by following these suggestions. First, Charisma should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose either the Inheritor or Charlatan background as featured in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Third, choose the component pouch and the light crossbow.

Class Features

As a Necromancer you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Necromancer level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Necromancer level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Disguise Kit
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, deception, investigation, medicine, nature, perception, religion, stealth, survival

Equipment

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

Table: The Necromancer

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features Cantrips Known —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Necrotic Recovery 3 2
2nd +2 Necromantic Sects 3 3
3rd +2 Undead Affinity 3 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3
5th +3 4 4 3 2
6th +3 Necromantic Sects Feature 4 4 3 3
7th +3 Retrieve the Lost 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Necromantic Sects Feature 5 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Seize Undeath 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Necromantic Sects Feature 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Liturgy of the Dead 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Necrotic Engulfment 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Spellcasting[edit]

As a student of arcane magic, you have a spellbook containing spells that show the first glimmerings of your true power.

Cantrips

At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn additional necromancer cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Necromancer table.

Spellbook

At 1st level, you have a spellbook containing six 1st-level wizard spells of your choice. Your Spellbook is the repository of the Necromancer Spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Necromancer table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of necromancer spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of necromancer spells from your spellbook equal to your Charisma modifier + your necromancer level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you're a 3rd-level necromancer, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Charisma of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination, chosen from your spellbook. If you prepare the 1st-level spell magic missile, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting that spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of necromancer spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your necromancer spells. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a necromancer spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a necromancer spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your list of spells for the day. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your necromancer spells.

Expanded Spell List

Each subclass comes with a predetermined set of spells, this is your expanded spell list. Even if the spells in your expanded spell list are not necromancer spells according to the original spell list, they are for you.

Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher

Each time you gain a necromancer level, you can add two necromancer spells of your choice to your spellbook. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Necromancer table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook.

Necrotic Recovery[edit]

You have learned to regain some of your magical energy by studying your spellbook. Once per day when you finish a short rest, you can choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level that is equal to or less than half your necromancer level (rounded up), and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher.

For example, if you’re a 4th-level necromancer, you can recover up to two levels worth of spell slots. You can recover either a 2nd-level spell slot or two 1st-level spell slots.

Necromantic Sect[edit]

When you reach 2nd level, you choose a sect. Choose between the War Liege, the Death Magnate, the Ghoulish Beckoner, or the Soul Lord. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th level, 10th level, and 14th level.

Undead Affinity[edit]

Starting at 3rd level, undead with an Intelligence of 8 or lower see you as one of their own, and will not attack you unless you’ve attacked them first. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you gain resistance to poison and necrotic damage.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Retrieve the Lost[edit]

At 7th level, you add the animate dead spell to your spellbook if it is not there already and you always have it prepared, and it doesn't count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. When you cast Animate Dead, you can target one additional corpse or pile of bones, creating another zombie or skeleton, as appropriate. Whenever you create an undead using a necromancy spell, it has additional benefits:

  • The creature's hit point maximum is increased by an amount equal to your necromancer level.
  • The creature gains a special bonus to its attack and damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of +0).

Seize Undeath[edit]

Starting at 11th level, you can use magic to bring undead under your control, even those created by other wizards. As an action, you can choose one undead that you can see within 60 feet of you. That creature must make a Charisma saving throw against your wizard spell save DC. If it succeeds, you can't use this feature on it again. If it fails, it becomes friendly to you and obeys your commands until you use this feature again.

Intelligent undead are harder to control in this way. If the target has an Intelligence of 8 or higher, it has advantage on the saving throw. If it fails the saving throw and has an Intelligence of 12 or higher, it can repeat the saving throw at the end of every hour until it succeeds and breaks free.

Liturgy of the Dead[edit]

At 18th level, animate dead can be cast as a ritual. In addition, at 11th level, you add the create undead spell to your spellbook if it is not there already. create undead no longer counts against your number of spells known but still requires a spell slot to cast.

Necrotic Engulfment[edit]

When you reach 20th level, you have resistance to necrotic damage, and your hit point maximum can't be reduced. You have spent so much time dealing with undead and the forces that animate them that you have become inured to some of their worst effects. Whenever you interact with undead, you have advantage on all Charisma checks and have proficiency on saving throws against undead. In addition, you do not age and you are immune to diseases, exhuastion, as well as the frightened and poisoned conditions.

Necromantic Sects[edit]

War Liege[edit]

There’s strength in numbers. There’s strength in skill as well. War Lieges want both.

War Liege Expanded Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st armor of Agathys, bane.
2nd find steed, crown of madness.
3rd lightning bolt, thunder step.
4th find greater steed, staggering smite.
5th circle of power, contagion.
Hellish Training

Starting at 2nd level when you choose this Sect, you acquire the training necessary to effectively arm yourself for battle. You gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. The influence of your sect also allows you to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon. Whenever you finish a long rest, you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed. When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.

Amass the Legion

At 6th level, when you use a spell or feature, such as animate dead to reanimate the dead, you may resurrect an additional undead. In addition, any medium humanoid or smaller that is not an undead that you reduce to 0 hit points with necrotic damage must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC, becoming a zombie on a failed save. You must use your Seize Undeath feature to control the resulting zombie.

Undead Militia

After an immense amount of training and experimenting your mastery of resurrecting the undead is nearly unparalleled. At 10th level, animate dead no longer requires components to cast. In addition, you impart your own knowledge unto the undead under your control. Undead you reanimate or use your Seize Undeath feature on gain the following features:

  • Multiattack. The undead makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks. This feature has no effect if the creature already has Multiattack.
  • You provide zombies and skeletons you reanimate with a one-handed weapon of your choice and a shield, they gain the fighting style Protection, and proficiency in one armor type and one weapon type of your choice.

Undead lose these benefits if they are no longer under your control.

Liege’s Presence

When you reach 14th level, your presence invokes respect and fear in even the more intelligent undead. When you use your Seize Undeath feature on undead with an Intelligence of 8 or higher they no longer have advantage on their saving throw. In addition, undead with an Intelligence of 12 or higher can no longer repeat their saving throw at the end of every hour but instead have advantage on their saving throw against your Seize Undeath feature.

Death Magnate[edit]

A Death Magnate seeks to balance their usage of life and death, choosing to be the jack-of-all-trades Necromancer.

Death Magnate Expanded Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st cure wounds, healing word.
2nd aid, lesser restoration.
3rd aura of vitality, mass healing word.
4th aura of life, death ward.
5th greater restoration, raise dead.
Scholar of Death

Starting at 1st level, the necrotic damage you deal to others can heal you. When you cast a spell of 1st level or higher that deals necrotic damage to a creature other than you, you regain hit points equal to your Charisma modifier + the spell’s level.

Life Goes On

When you reach 6th level, you can use your dark power to heal the badly injured. As an action, you evoke necrotic energy that can restore a number of hit points equal to your {5e|Proficiency Bonus}} times your necromancer level. Choose any number of creatures within 30 feet of you, and divide those hit points among them. This feature can restore a creature to no more than half of its hit point maximum. You can’t use this feature on an undead or a construct. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Potent Healing

At 10th level, when you would normally roll one or more dice to restore hit points with a spell, you instead use the highest number possible for a number of dice equal to half of the spell's level. For example, if you cast healing word as a 2nd level spell, you restore 1d4+4+modifier hit points.

Death's Advocate

Your mastery over life and death becomes unparalleled by any mortals, and you've peaked the interest of death itself. When you reach 14th level, you may expend a 7th level spell slot, and for the duration of 1 minute you can see how close to death everyone around you is. After the minute ends, you may target one creature within 60 feet of you that you can see that is below half of their maximum hit points and send Death itself to end their life. A creature target by this feature must must make a Constitution saving throw against your necromancer spell save DC. The target dies on a failed save, or loses half of their current hit points rounded down on a successful one. A creature killed this way cannot be revived except by the wish spell.

Ghoulish Beckoner[edit]

If all else fails and you can’t beat them; join them.

Ghoulish Beckoner Expanded Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st detect poison and disease, snare.
2nd find traps, spike growth.
3rd feign death, hunger of Hadar.
4th freedom of movement, shadow of moil.
5th dispel evil and good, enervation.
Nostalgic Scent

At 1st level your nose becomes attuned to the disgusting smells of ghouls and ghasts and as such their stench effect no longer affects you.

Howl of the Damned

Starting at 6th level, any creature you kill with necrotic damage becomes a ghoul, unless the creature you kill is of CR 3 or higher at which point it becomes a ghast. You must use your Seize Undeath feature if you wish to command the resulting ghoul or ghast.

Ghastly Likeness

At 10th level, you and your servants move faster than before as you grow ever more akin to your creations. The movement speed for you, the ghouls, and the ghasts you control is increased by 10ft. Your skin becomes a little more pale, you become thinner and lankier, and you gain advantage on Dexterity based checks and saving throws.

Master's Calling

Starting at 14th level, you may resurrect 8 ghouls and 2 ghasts within unoccupied spaces in a 60 foot circle around you. The summoned creatures share your initiative and they follow your commands for up to 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you must use your Seize Undeath or any other feature or spell that allows you to control the undead if you wish to continue controlling the undead created by this feature at which point they count normally for those features. You regain use of this feature after finishing a long rest.

Soul Lord[edit]

When you want to avoid conflict entirely you take disassociation a bit too seriously.

Soul Lord Expanded Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st dissonant whispers, faerie fire.
2nd enthrall, silence.
3rd spirit guardians, spirit shroud.
4th elemental bane, sickening radiance.
5th far step, reincarnate.
Incorporeal Supremacy

Beginning at 1st level, you can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. You take 1d10 force damage if you end your turn inside an object. An incorporeal creature cannot pass through you and you receive advantage on attack rolls against undead spirits. Additionally, you can see undead spirits that can't normally be seen by the naked eye. If an undead spirit would be invisible you can still see it unless it successfully hides from you.

Forceful Manifestation

When you reach 6th level, any creature you kill with necrotic damage becomes a Specter. If the creature was above CR 3, it instead becomes a Wraith. You must use your Seize Undeath feature if you wish to command the resulting undead spirit.

Soul Food

At 10th level, you've discovered that the essence of a creature holds some of their knowledge from prior to death and extra vitality. You may use an action to consume the soul of a creature that has died within 1 minute that is 5 feet from you. Upon consumption of a creature's soul, undead you control gain a number of temporary hit points equal to three times the number of hit dice the target creature had and gain advantage on the next attack roll they make. Furthermore, you add your proficiency bonus to Wisdom (insight) and Wisdom (perception) checks for 1 hour. If you already add your proficiency bonus to those skills you instead add double your proficiency bonus. You may do so again after finishing a short or long rest.

Unquieted Spirit

When you reach 14th level, you've learned how to leave your flesh behind and call upon the spirits of the dead. You may use an action to summon two spectral guardians and project your soul, which for all intents and purposes have the stat block of a wraith, and leave your body behind. Your body is treated as a corpse and the hit points of a normal wraith are added as temporary hit points. The wraiths disappear and you return to your body after you dispel this feature, or after the temporary hit points are depleted. After using this feature once, your physiology will begin to match that of the souls you command, you gain resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. You may do so a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, regaining all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the necromancer, 4th variant class, you must meet these prerequisites: Charisma 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the necromancer, 4th variant class, you gain the following proficiencies: light armor

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Wall of Fire[edit]

Wall of Fire becomes Wall of Darkness: Wall of Darkness becomes a 4th level spell by removing 1 damage die from the damage it deals.

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