Psychopomp (3.5e Class)

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The word "Psychopomp" means 'soul-guide', and the three traditional roles or powers of the Psychopomp are 1) to guide the spirits of the dead to the afterlife, and 2) to act as a medium of communication between the living and the dead, and 3) to raise, control or banish/destroy the undead. These responsibilities include speaking to the dead, finding the missing or hidden remains of the dead, interacting or negotiating with the dead, and calming and/or solving the problems of the dead who cannot move on.

In essence a Psychopomp is like a cross between a Necromancer, a Cleric and a Sorcerer; in practice a Psychopomp can do nearly everything a Necromancer can do, but may never be of evil alignment. This is because psychopomps gain their abilities by communing with the spirits of ascended ancestors, and ascended ancestors who are willing to act as guides to Psychopomps will not support evil actions unless justified. Most Psychopomps tend towards True-Neutral or Neutral-Good alignments but may be any non-evil alignment. Persons of evil inclination but similar talents are better off becoming necromancers.

Psychopomps are spontaneous casters, and are always descended from similarly talented individuals (and in death, a psychopomp will become an ascended ancestral guide to his or her descendents); however the psychopomp's spells list is drawn from the Cleric's divine spell list rather than the Sorceror's arcane spell list, even though being a Psychopomp does not require any particular adherence to a named deity beyond the link he has with his ancestors.

Making a Psychopomp[edit]

Psychopomps are spell casters with similar strength and weakness to a necromancer or cleric. They can summon undead allies (at first only incorporeal spirits, but at higher levels they can either grant corporeal status to incorporeal undead allies or animate corporeal undead allies directly) and have excellent skill in controlling, combating, and negotiating with all forms of the dead and undead.

Although they can cast healing spells drawn from the cleric spell list, a psychopomp serves better as a support and control class, and many of their spells can simultaneously bolster allies and weaken enemies. Psychopomps are generally respected in their communities, as they serve a vital function, and must have high charisma to be effective. This makes the Psychopomp a good face for a team, and an ideal face when interracting with ghosts or spirits.

Abilities: The earliest abilities of a psychopomp are to summon the ghost of an ancestor to act as a guide and companion, and to find the hidden or lost remains of the dead. All later spells and abilities relate to more powerful or nuanced interactions with the dead, including increasing abilities to communicate, coax, or cajole the undead, to strengthen or heal undead allies, or control, banish or destroy undead enemies.

Races: All psychopomps must have a psychopomp ancestor to be their guide. This means any Human or Human-Hybrid, or any race capable of non-evil alignment with a substantial tradition of ancestor worship may be born a psychopomp.

Alignment: Any Non-Evil. Most often True-Neutral or Neutral-Good.

Starting Age: Simple.

Table: The Pyschopomp

Hit Die: d4

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day
Fort Ref Will 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Find Remains, Ancestral Guide 5 3
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Calm Spirit, Speak to the Dead 6 4
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Bright Soul +2 6 5
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Master Medium, Imbue Form 6 6 3
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Animate Dead 1/day 6 6 4
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Ancestral Favor +1 6 6 5 3
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Exorcise 6 6 6 4
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Gateway +1 6 6 6 5 3
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Master of Spirits 6 6 6 6 4
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Animate Dead 2/day 6 6 6 6 5 3
11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Undead Senses 6 6 6 6 6 4
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Gateway +2, Ancestral Favor +2 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Bright Soul +4 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Animate Dead 3/day 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Gateway +3 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Shining Soul 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Ancestral Favor +3 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Diamond Soul 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Gateway+4, Ascended Ancestor 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Class Features[edit]

A Psychopomp is a spontaneous caster, and follows all the casting rules of a Sorcerer

All of the following are class features of the Psychopomp .

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Psychopomps are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a Psychopomp’s gestures, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.

Spells: A sychopomp casts divine spells which are drawn primarily from the cleric spell list, however starting at level 4 the Psychopomp may also learn arcane spells that are from the necromancy school, but may only use them for good or neutral purposes. Like a Sorcerer, he can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, unlike wizard or a cleric. And like a Sorcerer, his spell proficiency and bonus spells per day are modified by his charisma.

Class Spells:

Find Remains: (Sp) A pyschopomp can locate the remains of any any specified dead creature, even if they are hidden or lost.

Ancestral Guide: A pyschopomp may begin play with a companion spirit. This companion, or guide, is always a relative or ancestor of the psychopomp, and the guide and pyschopomp may communicate freely. The guide is intelligent, loyal, and benevolent but is incorporeal until later levels.

Speak to the Dead: (Ex) At 2nd level, a pyschopomp gains the ability to speak with any undead creature or to the spirit of any dead creature who remains are nearby, but this ability does not guarantee cooperation. This ability is a free action.

Calm Spirit: (Sp) At 2nd level, a psychopomp gains the ability to calm spirits. The affect of this ability is dependent on the nature of the target: it can sooth or quiet neutral undead, heal allied undead, or rebuke enemy undead.

Bright Soul : (Ex) Beginning at 3rd level, a psychopomps body becomes more akin to undying flesh. The character gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves except against effects that also work on objects. This effect increases to +4 at 14th and higher levels.

Master Medium: The Psychopomp may now also learn arcane spells from the Necromancy school, and furthermore, all undead creatures summoned or created by a psychopomp who has reached 4th level or higher gain a +4 bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per Hit Die. In addition, when a psychopomp 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 class level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted). Similarly, when a psychopomp 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.

Imbue Form (Sp) At 4th level, a psychopomp can grant or rescind the ability of any non-corporeal undead (including the Ancestral Guide) to interact with the physical world as if it were corporeal. The undead creature will exhibit a corporeal traits equal to half the level of the casting psychopomp and destruction of the physical body merely reverts the undead creature to its incorporeal form.

Animate Dead: At 5th level, a psychopomp's experience working with undead forms brings the ability to animate the dead easily. The psychopomp 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 Psychopomp can use it 3/day.

Ancestral Favor : At 6th level, a Psychopomp gains unsurpassed power over death. When he calms spirit, casts a necromancy-type spell, or uses a spell-like ability that mimics a necromancy-type spell, his effective caster level increases. The bonus is +1 at 6th level, +2 at 12th level, and +3 at 18th level and higher.

Exorcise : (Sp) At 7th level, a Psychopomp may attempt to banish an intractable or unruly undead creature. This spell may only be cast on an undead target that either evil aligned or has refused attempts to negotiate peacefully. Against ghosts and other incorporeal creatures this spell will attempt to force the creature to enter the afterlife, it will attempt to destroy corporeal undead.

Gateway : (Ex) At 8th level, a psychopomp's body becomes an open conduit to the afterlife, and is continuously surrounded by an aura of holy energy that extends to a radius of 10 feet per psychopomp class level. This energy field simultanously bolsters allied undead and weakens enemy undead. At 12th level, a +2 bonus to allied and a -2 penalty to enemy undead is given for all attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws and hit points per HD. At 16th level they increase further to +/-3 and at 20th level they reach +/-4.

Master of Spirits : At 10th level, a psychopomp significantly extends his mastery of Animate Dead class ability. He can now raise his allies and companions not only as spirits or zombies, but as any kind of undead creature, provided the created undead challenge rating would not be higher than ½ Psychopomp's class 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 psychopomp gains the senses of the dead, granting him sight, hearing and smell of undead creatures. The psychopomp gains darkvision 60 ft. and can see, hear and smell even if his respective sense organs are damaged or removed.

Shining Soul (Ex): 13th level psychopomp takes on even more of the qualities of an undead creature. He becomes immune to disease, nonlethal damage, and stunning.

Diamond Soul (Ex): At 18th level, a psychopomp gains the virtues of the undying. His body becomes immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, death effects, critical hits, ability drain, and energy drain, as well as damage to his physical ability scores(Str, Dex, and Con). He still needs to breathe, eat, and sleep as normal for his type, and he still ages normally.

Ascended Ancestor: At 20th level a psychopomp's soul becomes immortal. While his body remains alive he can move between corporeal and non-corporeal states. If his body is killed, he immediately becomes an ascended ancestor, and may serve as a guide to any psychopomp to any living blood relative. He may also choose to be reborn into his family line, but must experience birth and childhood.

Table: Pyschopomp Spells Known
Level Spells Known
0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st 4 2
2nd 5 2
3rd 5 3
4th 6 3 1
5th 6 4 2
6th 7 4 2 1
7th 7 5 3 2
8th 8 5 3 2 1
9th 8 5 4 3 2
10th 9 5 4 3 2 1
11th 9 5 5 4 3 2
12th 9 5 5 4 3 2 1
13th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2
14th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2 1
15th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2
16th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 1
17th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2
18th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 1
19th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2
20th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Pyschopomp[edit]

Religion: Being a psychopomp only requires reverence for the ancestors and respect for the dead. A Psychopomp may worship any non-evil deities at his or her discretion.

Other Classes: Necromancers and Psychopomps are natural enemies, and cannot cooperate with each other.

Combat: Support and Control, Face. Strong Caster.

Psychopomomps in the World[edit]

We are born into this world in blood and pain, and we are born away from it in blood and pain. I am merely the midwife.
—Anaya Molan, Elder Ghost Whisperer

Daily Life: Depending on the environment into which a Psychopomp is born, as well as his or her own personality, a Psychopomp may be compelled by tradition to serve the needs of his or her people as a respected and influential medium, or may retire to a life of contemplation and communion with the dead, or may become an adventurer who uses his or her talents to solve mysteries that cannot otherwise be solved and speak for those who cannot otherwise speak. In societies where mediumship is rare or frowned upon, the Psychopomp may keep his or abilities a personal secret.

Organizations: Some cultures automatically induct any child who destined to be a Psychopomp through the process of becoming a professional medium, however most Psychopomps grow up in isolation, and many cultures have no particular place for or even awareness of them.

NPC Reactions: Those who know what a Psychopomp is generally hold them in great esteem, and consider them to be blessed and charismatic. Many people in desperation seek Psychopomps out to help them exorcise hauntings or to speak with departed loved ones or even to find the remains of the lost so that they may have proper burials.

Psychopomp Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge: Religion can research Pyschopomps to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge Religion
DC Result
10 Psychopomps are spontaneous divine casters; they are to clerics what sorcerers are to wizards.
15 Psychopomps are masters of undead, and yet they are not evil. Everything that is wrong about a necromancer, may be right about a Psychopomp.
20 Psychopomps can gain the assistance of the spirits of the dead; do not endanger the Psychopomp who has gained influential friends among the departed.
30 Those who reach this level of success and beyond can divine pieces of information on a specific Pyschopomp, his history, his whereabouts, and any other quirks about him.

Psychopomps in the Game[edit]

Psychopomps are casters who generally use their many spells per day for buffs and control, to keep their allies and companions alive and to seek out solutions to the dilemmas of the both the living and the dead. They see themselves as investigators, arbiters, and problem solvers.

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