Necromancer (3.5e Class)

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Scales.png This page is of questionable balance. Reason: This class still has major balance issues. The spells/day alone already makes it just a more powerful necromancy wizard. Add in the d6 HD, more class skills, fear auras, etc. and crazy amounts of buffs to all the necromancy stuff every single level. This needs serious nerfing.

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Chapter 1: Proper use of a shovel.
The Book of the Dead

A Necromancer is a spellcaster that harbors the ability to raise, animate, create, or summon undead. They are spontaneous arcane magic casters that are more adept in the arts of magic that twist bodies, minds and souls alike than anyone else.

Making 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 and usually the best thing to do that is by raising/summoning undead from their fallen enemies, skill at which they are unparalleled. Necromancers are also effective with diseases, poison spells, and affecting opponents with fear, fatigue, exhaustion, pain, negative energy damage, or even gaining mindless supporters through the use of enchantment spells like charm or 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 (and at higher levels, seriously, a 'crowd controller') 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.

Abilities: Charisma is the most important as it powers all the necromancer's spells in addition to granting more 'rebuke undead' attempts. A high dexterity can prove invaluable when enemies focus their attacks on rather frail but extremely potent caster. Constitution is also important unless necromancer intends to transform himself into undead at some point in his career via some of the most gruesome necromantic rituals.

Races: Humans are best fit to work as necromancers, due to their particularly short life spans and nonchalant attitudes toward the dead. Elves lack the stomach, and raw power to unearth materials. Gnomes find that the afterlife just isn't as entertaining as where they are now. Halflings see it to be a waste of time, as many undead weigh a lot and are too bulky to be hauling around everywhere. Many Orc, and half-orc shamans dabble in necromancy, and half elves don't mind it too much either.

Alignment: Any other than Lawful Good (too much negative energy for that good of a character to live with). A Necromancer is not quintessentially "evil", though most necromancers display traits of uncontrolled insanity, earlier on in history, necromancers were a welcome addition in any village or town. Once upon a time, necromancers were honored as shepherds of the dead, justified by aiding transition to the other side, as well as being a cornucopia of funerary wrappings, sacred incantations, and other things that help them to put the dead to rest.

Languages: A necromancer may substitute Draconic for any of the bonus languages available to the character because of her race. Starting Gold: 3d6 gp

Starting Age: Wizard

Table: The Necromancer

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day
Fort Ref Will 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Rebuke undead, Undead companion 4 2
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Negative energy conduit 5 3 -
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Deathless vigor +2 6 4 1
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Undead mastery 6 5 2
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Animate dead 1/day 6 6 3 1
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Necromantic prowess +1 6 6 4 2
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Aura of Fear (Minor) 6 6 5 3 1
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Desecration zone +1 6 6 6 4 2
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Master of atrocities, Deathless vigor +3 6 6 6 5 3 1
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Animate dead 2/day, Desecration zone +2 6 6 6 6 4 2
11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Undead Senses 6 6 6 6 5 3 1
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Desecration zone +3 6 6 6 6 6 4 2
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Necromantic prowess +2 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 1
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Deathless vigor +4, Desecration zone +4 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 2
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Animate dead 3/day 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 1
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Desecration zone +5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 2
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Aura of Fear (Major) 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Necromantic prowess +3, Desecration zone +6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Deathless mastery 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Phylactery, Desecration zone +7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

Class Skills (2 + int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Planes) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int) Use Magic Device (Cha).

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the necromancers.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Necromancer is proficient with all simple weapons, the kukri and the scythe. They are proficient with light armors. The somatic components required for necromancer spells are simple, so members of this class can cast necromancer spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. They still incur the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells derived from other classes. In addition, if a necromancer wears medium or heavy armor, he incurs the same chance of arcane spell failure as any other arcane caster if the spell in question has a somatic component.

Spells: A necromancer, unlike other spellcasting classes, casts both arcane and divine spells, which are drawn from the necromancer’s spell list. Like a sorcerer, he can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. When a necromancer gains access to a new level of spells, he automatically knows all the spells for that level given on the necromancer’s spell list.

1st— bane, Summon Undead I, cause fear, charm person, comprehend languages, curse water, deathwatch, detect undead, doom, hide from undead, hypnotism, identify, inflict light wounds, parching touch, ray of enfeeblement, sleep, Bestow wound, Corpse Puppet, Animate Dead, Lesser, Erzebet Skull Bomb, Dyfen's Violent Flashback,
2nd— blindness/deafness, command undead, darkness, darkvision, death knell, desecrate, desiccate, detect thoughts, false life, gentle repose, ghoul touch, inflict moderate wounds, locate object, scare, see invisibility, spectral hand, summon swarm, Summon Undead II, touch of idiocy, Path of the Lost, Corpse Bomb, Dark Symmetry, Wave of Grief, Congealing Consumption
3rd— animate dead, arcane sight, black sand, clairaudience/clairvoyance, contagion, deeper darkness, dispel magic, halt undead, inflict serious wounds, ray of exhaustion, speak with dead, suggestion, summon undead III, tongues and vampiric touch, Grim Reaper's Scythe, Undead lieutenant, Undead torch, Sibling Rivalry, Babble
4th— arcane eye, bestow curse, charm monster, confusion, crushing despair, death ward, dimension door, enervation, fear, heart ripper, inflict critical wounds, locate creature, phantasmal killer, poison, scrying and summon undead IV, Curse of Qwop, Ray of Dark Sacrifice, Corrupt Soul
5th— blight, magic jar, cloudkill, commune, contact other plane, dominate person, feeblemind, mass inflict light wounds, insect plague, mind fog, nightmare, oath of blood slay living, summon undead V, symbol of pain, telepathic bond, teleport, unhallow and waves of fatigue, Absorb Undead, Curse Object, Death Throes, Gravehorde, Sasha's Skull Servant
6th— analyze dweomer, antilife shell, awaken undead, circle of death, create undead, eyebite, geas/quest, greater dispel magic, harm, heart freeze, mass inflict moderate wounds, legend lore, shadow walk, mass suggestion, symbol of fear, symbol of persuasion, true seeing and undeath to death, Deathball, Mass Blindness
7th— control undead, death dragon, destruction, field of ghouls, finger of death, greater arcane sight, greater harm, greater scrying, greater teleport, mass inflict serious wounds, insanity, power word blind, repulsion, symbol of weakness, vision and waves of exhaustion, Bonetitan Frame, Sasha's Skeleton Crew
8th— blackfire, mass charm monster, clone, create greater undead, discern location, ghostform, horrid wilting, mass inflict critical wounds, moment of prescience, power word stun, symbol of death, symbol of insanity, trap the soul, veil of undeath and unholy aura, Zombie Apocalypse
9th— energy drain, gate, implosion, imprison soul, mass harm, plague of undead, power word kill, soul bind, vile death and wail of the banshee, Create Synthetic Soul, [

Rebuke Undead (Su): A necromancer can rebuke or command undead creatures by channeling negative energy through his body. When a necromancer commands undead he can control 2 HD/level. A necromancer may attempt to rebuke or command undead a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. This otherwise functions exactly as an Evil Cleric's Rebuke Undead would.

Undead Companion: A necromancer may begin play with a companion selected from the following list: human warrior skeleton, wolf skeleton, kobold zombie, human commoner zombie. This undead is a loyal, intelligent companion that accompanies the necromancer on his adventures until destroyed or released.

A 1st-level necromancer’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below. As a necromancer advances in level, the undead’s power increases as shown on the table. If a necromancer releases his companion from service, he may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring an appropriate body and 24 uninterrupted hours of meditation. This ceremony can also replace an undead companion that was destroyed. When a necromancer achieves a level in which he may acquire a different undead companion, he may choose to have his previous companion demoted into his control pool. It no longer gains anymore abilities from being an undead companion but still retains any abilities it had acquired.

Negative Energy Conduit (Su): At 2nd level, a necromancer becomes a living conduit to the negative energy plane. This allows him to channel negative energy to heal undead allies or himself. You are healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy as if you were an undead creature. This feat gives no other penalties or benefits of the undead type. At will (but not more often than once per round) by touching an undead creature, he can heal it by 1d8 hit points per caster level.

Deathless Vigor (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, a necromancer’s body becomes more akin to the undying flesh of his undead associates. The character gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves. This effect increases to +3 at 9th level, and +4 at 14th and higher levels.

Undead Mastery (Su): All undead creatures created by a necromancer who has reached 4th level or higher gain a +4 profane bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per HD. In addition, when a necromancer uses the animate dead spell (or his animate dead class ability) to create undead, he can control 4 + his Cha bonus HD worth of undead creatures per caster level rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted. Similarly, when a necromancer controls undead he can control 2 + Cha bonus HD per level of undead creatures, rather than the 2 HD per level normally.

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

Necromantic Prowess (Ex): At 6th level, a necromancer gains unsurpassed power over death. When he controls undead, casts a necromancy spell, or uses a spell-like ability that mimics a necromancy spell, his effective caster level increases. The bonus is +1 at 6th level, +2 at 13th level, and +3 at 18th level and higher.

Aura of Fear (Su): At 7th level, a necromancer gains an Aura of Fear (minor) with a 60ft radius. When not being suppressed any enemy in the aura (minor) must make a DC 20 Will save or become frightened for 1d4 rounds. At 17th level, a necromancer's aura becomes stronger becoming a Aura of Fear (major) with a 100ft radius. When not being suppressed any enemy in the aura (major) must make a DC 25 Will save or become panicked for 1d6 rounds. Any enemy that succeeds on the save becomes immune to the aura's effect. Any enemy that fails the save must attempt a new save after ending their fear if they are still within the aura's area of effect or reenter the aura's area of effect. The immunity to this effect lasts 24hours.

Desecration Zone (Su): At 8th level, a necromancer is continuously surrounded by an aura of negative energy identical to the desecrate spell, but affecting only allied undead (and the necromancer, if also undead). The area of negative energy extends to a radius of 10 feet per necromancer class level. A profane bonus is granted to all undead attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, Bonus hit points per HD increase by +2. This bonus increases by +1 every 2 levels.

Master of Atrocities: At 10th level, a necromancer significantly extends his mastery of Animate Dead class ability. He can now raise his victims not only as zombies or skeletons, but as any kind of undead creature, provided the created undead challenge rating would not be higher than ½ necromancer’s caster 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 necromancer gains the senses of the dead, granting him sight, hearing and smell of the undead creatures he controls or creates. The Necromancer also gains darkvision 60 ft. and can see, hear and smell even if his respective sense organs are damaged or removed. He also gains the ability to know where anyone living or undead is around him. Even if the person is invisible or flying anyone who enters a 60 ft. radius of the necromancer immediately notifies him of their presence and he can immediately tell if they are living or undead as well as he can pin point their exact location. This allows him to target them as if they were actually being seen. However, if he sends one of his many undead soldiers to attack this person (and they are invisible) they will still suffer the same penalties that occur from attacking an invisible target. These penalties do not affect the necromancer.

Undead Toughness (Ex): At 13th level a necromancer takes on even more of the qualities of an undead creature. He becomes immune to disease, nonlethal damage, poison and stunning.

Deathless Mastery (Ex): At 19th level a necromancer's body becomes so akin with the undead that he becomes immune to all death effects as well as automatically succeeds on any Fortitude save.

Phylactery: At 20th level a necromancer can trap part of his soul into a Phylactery (see Lich’s Phylactery). Necromancer does not need craft wondrous item feat to craft the phylactery, however he still needs to pay XP and gold cost associated with crafting it. When necromancer is killed his soul flees to the phylactery and 1d10 days after death starts roaming in the vicinity to identify and possess a suitable dead body to inhabit it to come back to his full power once again.

Necromancer's Undead Companion

A necromancer’s undead companion is different from a normal undead of its kind in many ways. A necromancer’s undead companion is superior to a normal undead of its kind and has special powers, as described below.

Armor Adj.
1st–2nd +0 +0 +0 Link, Dark Empowerment
3rd–5th +2 +2 +1 Evasion
6th–8th +4 +4 +2 Multiattack
9th–11th +6 +6 +3 Improved Natural Attack
12th–14th +8 +8 +4
15th–17th +10 +10 +5 Improved Evasion
18th–20th +12 +12 +6

Undead Companion Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the companion’s kind, but make the following changes.

Class Level: The character’s necromancer level. The necromancer class levels are the base for determining the companion’s abilities and the alternative lists available to the character.

Bonus HD: As the necromancer becomes stronger and his body more resistant to the world so does his undead companion. At the stated levels upon leveling up his undead companion gains bonus HD according to the modifier.

Natural Armor Adj.: The number noted here is an improvement to the undead companion’s existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Dex Adj.: Add this value to the undead companion’s Strength and Dexterity scores.

Int: If base undead creature is mindless undead it gains Int score equal 10. If base undead creature has intelligence score below 10, it increases to 10.

Link (Ex): A necromancer can give orders to his undead companion as a free action. undead companion understands any languages that his master speaks and obeys him as best as it can.

Dark Empowerment (Ex): If a necromancer possesses any feats or other extraordinary abilities that boost undead he creates, he may also apply these bonuses to the undead companion. These also include necromancer class skill - undead mastery.

Evasion (Ex): If an undead companion is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, it takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw.

Multiattack: An undead companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the undead companion instead gains a second attack with its primary natural weapon, albeit at a –5 penalty.

Improved Natural Attack: An undead companion gains Improved Natural Attack as a bonus feat for its primary natural natural weapon even if it doesn't meet the prerequirements.

Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, an undead companion takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and only half damage if the saving throw fails.

Alternative undead Companions: A necromancer of sufficiently high necromancy caster level can select his undead companion from one of the following lists.

3rd Level or Higher
Skeleton, owlbear (undead)
Zombie, bugbear (undead)
Ghoul (undead)
6th Level or Higher
Allip (undead)
Ghast (undead)
Shadow (undead)
Skeleton, troll (undead)
Wight (undead)
Zombie, minotaur (undead)
Zombie, ogre (undead)
Zombie, wyvern (undead)
9th Level or Higher
Skeleton, chimera (undead)
Skeleton, ettin (undead)
Mummy (undead)
Vampire spawn (undead)
Wraith (undead)
12th Level or Higher
Skeleton, advanced megaraptor (undead)
Skeleton, cloud giant (undead)
Spectre (undead)
Zombie, gray render (undead)
15th Level or Higher
Advanced Mummy (undead)
Mohrg (undead)
Bodak (undead)
Skeleton, young adult red dragon (undead)
Shadow, greater (undead)
18th Level or Higher
Devourer (undead)
Dread Wraith (undead)

Epic Necromancers

Bonus Feats: The epic necromancer gains a bonus feat (any feat the necromancer qualifies for) at level 21, and every three levels thereafter.

Necromantic Prowess: The epic necromancer's necromantic prowess continues to grow at level 21 it becomes a +4, at level 24 +5, at level 27 +6, and at level 30 +7.

Desecration Zone: The epic necromancer's desecration zone continues to grow at level 23 it becomes a +8, at level 26 +9, and at level 29 +10.

Undead Companion: The epic necromancer’s undead companion continues to increase in power. At every three levels higher than 18th (21st, 24th, 27th, and so on), the undead companion gains 2 bonus hit dice, +1 Strength and Dexterity and its natural armor increases by 2.

Campaign Information

Playing a Necromancer

Religion: Necromancer usually worship Nerull, the god of death. They may also worship Vecna, Wee Jas or Hextor. Necromancers who worship Nerull are particularly ill-tempered, as Nerull supports his subjects slaughter, and provokes them to go on killing sprees to boost the undead militia they've created. Orcus is also a popular choice. Necromancers worshipping Orcus are usually adept at shifting planes of existence, and sacrificing in the name of their deity. Necromancers worshipping neutral or chaotic neutral deities are not uncommon, but necromancers worshiping good deities like Pelor, and Yondalla, are virtually unheard of.

Other Classes: A Necromancer gets along with evil clerics and sorcerers who study the Necromancy school. Chaotic barbarians and fighters help protect the necromancer while he animates waves of undead. Should any of his teammates be slain, a necromancer wouldn't think twice about animating their corpse to use as fodder.

Combat: The typical role in combat for a Necromancer is artillery, magical support, or bestowed effects, as well as animating dead tissue for fodder.

Advancement: A Necromancer may multi-class as a Pale Master (Prestige Class, Tome and Blood), a True Necromancer (Prestige Class, Tome and Blood), with enough training a BlackGuard (Prestige Class, DMG3.5), wizard, sorcerer, or a cleric. Necromancer druids are not unknown.

Necromancers in the World

Wow, a graveyard. How.... delightful.
—Devlin Ragner, Human 5th level Necromancer

Necromancers are the people who create undead in the world. They will usually have hidden undead bases or live in abandoned houses near a graveyard so they have protection. They will work as grave keepers with no troubles. Sometimes certain nobles will employ the services of necromancers. These more wealthy commonfolk could just need the employment of an undertaker, and more often than not, to either avenge or resurrect a loved one.

The Path of Transcendence: Ancient necrotic tomes describe a process of rituals and incantations that are said to prolong ones life, indefinitely, ultimately becoming a Lich. This idea is thrown around throughout necromancy, but never really covered as a topic. Few know of the power unleashed through a millennia of spellcraft, and these select few aren't willing to part with that knowledge.

Organizations: Necromancers do not assemble or meet in set places in fear of paladin attacks, but live in small communities tied to the main guild and are given orders from there. Freelancing Necromancers are given a choice to join, and if not, they are usually killed as the Necromancer Guild prefers that they are not blamed for the freelancers mistakes or problems. They refuse to help those who declined to join.

NPC Reactions: Good NPCs hate Necromancers, and will usually try to kill them if they find out. But evil NPCs take to them like a duck takes to water and will work with them. Rarely a necromancer's mere presence will animate dead flesh, but on a much lower scale, like a cat buried in the backyard of the bar they're in. These animated birds and pets usually end up becoming the necromancer's familiar. In time necromancers heal with negative energy, drawing them (if not physically, then spiritually) towards evil clerics and other characters who resonate pure evil.

Necromancer Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History) or Knowledge (arcane) can research Necromancers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Necromancers are adept at animating and summoning undead, and many necromancers are skilled in casting disease and plague on their enemies.
DC 15: Necromancers can voluntarily become a Lich, and expand their life indefinately. And if there are any powerful necromancers in their general area, like "You heard from a suspicious figure in a bar that in the mountains to the north (or wherever) strange dark purple lights have been sighted, and the sound of screams can be heard there."
DC 20: "While concentrating on your thought, suddenly a cry for help dashes out of the nearest woods, and groups of civilians are seen running from what looks like walking skeletons!" With this check you learn where the latest undead attack has been seen, this does not imply it was direct necromancer contact, but the undead were exhibiting strange, almost controlled actions.
DC 25: Youve heard through the grapevine that there was an attack on a village a day ago. The village has had problems with undead rising from their graves and walking off, and a strange man has been spotted in the village who looks very old, and smells of embalming fluid. In the same night men, women, and children were savagely attacked by their deceased loved ones.

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