Necromancer (5e Class)

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Necromancer

While others use magic to do paltry things like conjure fire or fly, the Necromancer is a master over death itself. They study the deep and forbidden secrets that raise the dead, controlling minions toward a variety of goals. Perhaps they seek the power that mastery over death provides. Perhaps they are serious and unashamed scholars, who reject the small-minded boundaries held to by others. Each enemy they fell becomes an eager and disposable ally, they become immune to the energies of death and decay, and ultimately harness the immortality and power of undeath for themselves.

Creating 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. Often the best way to do this is by raising/summoning undead from their fallen enemies; a skill at which they are unparalleled. Necromancers are also effective with diseases, poisons, and affecting opponents with fear, fatigue, exhaustion, pain, life drain, or even gaining mindless supporters through the use of enchantment magic to charm and 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, 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.

Quick Build

You can make a necromancer quickly by following these suggestions. First, Charisma should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution and Dexterity. Second, choose the charlatan background.

Class Features

As a Necromancer you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d6 per Necromancer level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + Constitution modifier per Necromancer level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, and Religion

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 Spells Known —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Life Tap 2 2 2
2nd +2 Necromancer Occult 2 3 3
3rd +2 Soul Harvest 2 4 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 3 5 4 3
5th +3 Spontaneous Unburial 3 6 4 3 2
6th +3 Occult feature 3 7 4 3 3
7th +3 Animate Major Undead 3 8 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3 9 4 3 3 2
9th +4 3 10 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Occult feature 4 11 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Animate Major Undead improvement 4 12 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 12 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 4 13 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Occult feature, Ritualistic Unburial 4 13 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 Animate Major Undead improvement 4 14 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 14 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 4 15 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Macabre 4 15 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 15 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Séance 4 15 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Spellcasting

You draw on the negative energy in the world to fuel your spells.

Cantrips

At 1st level, you know 2 cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn additional cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Necromancer table.

Spell Slots

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.

For example, if you know the 1st-level spell false life and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast false life using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the wizard spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Necromancer table shows when you learn more necromancer spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the necromancer spells you know and replace it with another spell from the wizard spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your necromancer spells, since the power of your magic relies on your ability to project your will into the world. 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 it is a spell you know and that spell has the ritual tag.

Spellcasting Focus

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

Life Tap

Starting at 1st level, your touch can siphon the life force of others to bolster your own. As an action, you can make a melee spell attack against a living creature, dealing necrotic damage equal to 1d8 + your Charisma modifier on a hit. You gain temporary hit points equal to the amount of necrotic damage dealt. If this feature kills the creature, you gain twice as many temporary hit points from using this feature. The damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8). You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier(minimum one) and you regain all uses of this feature at the end of a long rest.

Necromancer Occult

At 2nd level, you choose an occult which specializes you in your dealings with death: Keeper, Reaper, and Undertaker, each of which is detailed at the end of the class description. Your occult grants you features when you choose it at 2nd level and additional features at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Soul Harvest

Starting at 3rd level, by reaping life you are able to claim a fraction of those unfortunate creatures souls to regenerate your wounds and fortify your body. At the end of your turn, if you or any undead under your control have killed one or more creatures, you gain hit points equal to your necromancer level. If doing so would grant you more hit points than you can have, you gain temporary hit points equal to the amount of excess hit points received.

Ability Score Increase

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.

Spontaneous Unburial

Starting at 5th level, your understanding of necrotic and negative energies allows you to raise the dead with ease. You may cast the spell animate dead as an action and you do not require a corpse or pile of bones to do so; the skeleton or zombie will claw its way up from underground and acts on your next turn. In addition, you learn the spell animate dead. This spell does not count against your number of spells known but still requires a spell slot to cast.

Animate Major Undead

Beginning at 7th level, your pursuit of knowledge has led to uncover the secrets to mastering undead of all sizes. You can now raise any corpse that is Huge or smaller of a monstrosity, humanoid, or beast with challenge rating 3 or lower can be animated. It keeps its original abilities and attacks, but loses any resistances, immunities, legendary actions, senses it had and gains the immunities and vulnerabilities of its type, skeleton or zombie. You can issue mental commands to the creature as the animate dead spell. You can only control one major undead at a time. This feature functions as the spell animate dead except where otherwise noted. You may use this feature on an existing undead you control to reassert your control over it. You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.

At level 11, you may animate a monstrosity, humanoid or beast with a challenge rating of 6 or lower.

At level 15, you may animate a monstrosity, humanoid or beast with a challenge rating of 9 or lower. In addition, a major undead now lasts until its hit points are reduced to 0.

Ritualistic Unburial

At level 14th level, the repetitive nature of raising your undead has become like a ritual for you. You may cast animate dead as a ritual.

Macabre

Starting at 18th level, the death you surround yourself with has become part of you. Your flesh has become pale and your eyes have taken on a yellow tint. Some necromancers alter their appearance with stitches sewn on their face, body, legs, or arms. Others may adorn the remains of corpses to impose fear and keep people away. The overexposure to death has earned an affinity with undead. Whenever you interact with undead, you have advantage on all Charisma checks. In addition, while you may look sick and exhausted from the constant dealings with death, you do not age and you are immune to poison damage, diseases, exhuastion, as well as the frightened and poisoned conditions.

Séance

Starting at 20th level, your presence commands respect from undead. At will, the necromancer can target one undead creature they can see within 30 feet of them. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must obey the necromancer's commands for the next 24 hours, or until the necromancer uses Séance again. A necromancer can only control a single undead creature with this feature.

Variant Feature: Grim Harvest

Grim Harvest: Starting at 20th level, the area around you becomes a volatile zone of death and necrotic magic. You have learned to sew the agony of the newly departed's death into those nearby. Whenever an enemy creature dies within 60 feet of the you, you may use your reaction to target it and cause an explosion of necrotic energy. Choose any number of creatures within 10 feet of the explosion to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, they take 8d6 necrotic damage and half as much on a success. If this damage kills any creatures, you may target one of the creatures killed to cause a secondary explosion but the damage is reduced to 4d6 and halved on a successful Constitution saving throw. If this secondary explosion kills any creatures, you may choose one of the creatures killed by this secondary damage to cause an explosion a third time but the damage is reduced to 2d6 or no damage on a successful Constitution saving throw. Any undead you control within the radius of the explosions regain hit points equal to half the amount of necrotic damage done. You regain use of this feature when you complete a short or long rest.

Occults

Keeper

An eager doctor's assistant stays late after a failed surgery to stitch the cadaver closed, and prepare it for transport to the undertaker. But while he has the remains here to himself, he sees no harm in a little research. This case was an odd one, and he'd like to know more about it. As he conducts his experiments, he murmurs to the body, "Let's see where it all went wrong, and where we can do better next time."

Necromancers of this Occult study death in order to keep it at bay, whether it be for their own benefit or for another. Keepers have a deep and intricate understanding of why creatures die, and how to slow death or stop it all together. But the things necessary to obtain such knowledge are not for the faint of heart, or those lacking resolve.

Life on Demand

Beginning at 2nd level, you can accelerate the body's natural healing when it is needed the most. As an action, a creature you touch can expend a number of its hit dice equal to your spellcasting modifier (minimum of 1) to regain hit points. After you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest.

At 5th level, a creature can also add it's Constitution modifier to hit points recovered this way. At level 10, you may use this feature twice between rests.

Expanded Intellect

Beginning at 6th level, your studies of death and undeath have opened up new possibilities for you. You gain the spare the dying cantrip. You also add the following spells to your list spells to learn from: cure wounds, lesser restoration, beacon of hope, feign death[1], revivify, death ward, greater restoration, resurrection, and mass heal.

Aura of Wellbeing

Beginning at 10th level, you emanate an aura that rejuvenates and prolongs the life of others around you. If an allied creature begins its turn within 10 feet of you, it gains hit points equal to your proficiency bonus if its hit points are below half its hit point maximum.

Refusal

Beginning at 14th level, you can decide to ignore death if it's too inconvenient. If a creature within 5 feet of you that you can touch (including you) drops to 0 hit points, you may use your reaction to cause that creature to drop 1 hit point instead. You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this feature again.

Reaper

The village is quiet during the strangers walk down the roads. No birds are chirping, no children heard playing, no wind blowing. He bends over to grab a flower but it withers before even touched. Death consumes this man. Death consumed the village.

The Occult of Reapers plays with negative energy in ways others run from. A reaper won't always show his intentions to others until he is ready for them to play with his undead or feel necrosis from his spells. Even though he can control undead himself, he'd rather cull the other ones in his path. Undead are weak against this man. True power comes from harnessing negative energy for oneself, not making puppets.

Death's Knowledge

Beginning at 2nd level, some ancient tomes, spell books, or scrolls have provided knowledge to you. Add the following spells to your necromancer spell list: inflict wounds, revivify, speak with dead, commune with dead, raise dead, resurrection, and true resurrection.
At 5th level, you may add three spells from any class spell list for which you can cast to your necromancer spell list.

Improved Soul Harvest

Starting at 6th level, you've gained the knowledge to channel the souls you harvest into your spells. You may store a number of souls equal to your necromancer level from killing creatures with soul harvest for later use. You can consume souls to regain up to a 3rd level spell slot, which costs 2 souls for every spell level. For instance, a 3rd level spell would consume 6 souls. In addition, when you deal damage to a creature with a spell, you may consume any number of souls in your possession to deal additional necrotic damage equal to the number of souls you consume.

Necrosis Spellcasting

Starting at 10th level, a cloud of stench accompanies the spells that you cast, eating away at the flesh and bone of your victim and distracting them. Any necromancy spells that you cast deal an additional 1d8 necrotic damage. In addition, undead have disadvantage on saving throws against your spells and class features.

Grim

Beginning at 14th level, stories of something supernatural taking lives comes to fruition. Fairy tales depict a Grim Reaper that comes to take souls of people ready to die, but the truth is, the Grim Reaper visits to deal death. An aura surrounds you and saps the life of anything within 5 feet of you. If a creature ends its turn within range it must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or lose hit points equal to the number of souls you have stored. You gain hit points equal to half the hit points the creature lost, rounded up.

Undertaker

In a cemetery, a woman provides a service for a family grieving their lost one. She had spent the evening before prepping the corpse and making everything presentable for the wake. Her services were appreciated and she accepted her thanks, but her real joy would happen after everyone left. She looks at her next corpse, the shopkeep of the funeral home, "Why let the dead rot?"

An undertaker is from the Occult that specializes in raising the dead. Whether it be passing through town and filling in for a businessman or collecting minions from a graveyard, the years of preparing corpses has taught the undertaker how to make her undead a force unequal to others. Her minions are tougher and fight longer. She always has a skeleton or zombie at her side to carry out tasks and can quickly raise an army when others want to surround her. An undertaker has no fear of death since death itself fights for her.

Unholy Resistance

Beginning at 2nd level, the time you've spent wielding negative energy has made itself a part of you. You have resistance to necrotic damage and your hit point maximum cannot be reduced. At 5th level, this feature extends to any undead under your control.

Improved Animate Undead

Beginning at 6th level, the negative energy you use to summon your undead is fortified within them. Skeletons and zombies you raise have additional hit points and bonuses to their melee attack rolls equal to your proficiency bonus. In addition, whenever you cast a spell or use a feature or item to raise undead, you raise one additional skeleton or zombie.

Undead Resolve

Beginning at 10th level, your bond with the dead has strengthened their resolve against that which is holy. Undead you control have advantage on Wisdom saving throws against Turn Undead attempts. In addition, undead you raise add your proficiency bonus to their Armor Class.

Lord of the Undead

Beginning at 14th level, you've reached the epitome of raising undead. Your undead creatures no longer have a damage vulnerability and gain additional hit points equal to your necromancer level.

References

  1. D&D 5e PHB pp.240

Multiclassing

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the necromancer class, you must meet these prerequisites: Charisma 15.

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


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