Necromancer (True Villains) (5e Class)
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- 1 Necromancer
- 1.1 Creating a Necromancer
- 1.2 Class Features
- 1.2.1 Table: The Necromancer
- 1.2.2 Spellcasting
- 1.2.3 Unholy Symbol
- 1.2.4 Bone Powder
- 1.2.5 Path of Necromancy
- 1.2.6 Cold Storage
- 1.2.7 Ability Score Increase
- 1.2.8 Arcane Reanimation
- 1.2.9 Undead Champion
- 1.2.10 Spread the Disease
- 1.2.11 Skin Transfer
- 1.2.12 Effortless Reanimation
- 1.2.13 Bone Armor
- 1.2.14 Necromantic Ritual
- 1.2.15 Soul Reap
- 1.2.16 Sallow Features
- 1.2.17 Undead Martyr
- 2 Path of Necromancy
- 2.1 Path of the Armorer
- 2.2 The Path of the Commander
- 2.3 The Path of the Bone Warrior
- 2.4 Necromancer Spell List
- 3 Multiclassing
With a loud crashing noise, a half-elf and her undead heroes dropped into the dungeon, armor glinting gold. Her warriors rush into the next room, the sound of clashing steel echoing through the underground chambers.
“There’s nowhere to run!” The guards said, surrounding the human. Suddenly, the ground opened up underneath him, and an unquantifiable amount of decaying hands grabbed a hold of him as he grinned and sunk into the ground which closed above him.
The paladin swung at the skeleton, piercing directly through its skull and turning to dust. Before he could turn around, however, a bone pierced into his back and he doubled over, the orc smirking and standing over him.
Necromancers are the practitioners of the art of raising the dead. Necromancy, often considered a taboo, is a mystery to many people, including talented spellcasters. Cryptdwellers and commanders by nature, necromancer is the perfect class for someone who wants to be able to overwhelm the enemy with numbers.
This class is built off of the concepts of necromancy introduced in True Villains, a webcomic that is currently on hiatus. If you enjoy the concepts in this class guide, I would recommend checking out their comic here.
Creating a Necromancer
As you create your necromancer, consider why your character decided on this path in the first place. Were you seeking power in forbidden places? Do you experiment on the undead, attempting to create the perfect soldier? Have you been caught practicing necromancy in the past? Did you have a mentor who taught you how to raise the dead, against your parents’ wishes? Necromancers often have their class interwoven into their backstory, as it’s very uncommon to be a necromancer without some sort of conflict. People consider necromancy to be evil, and as a result actively exile those they believe to practice it. Are you hiding from the law in your home country because of your practices? Necromancers focus on the use of undead minions to do their bidding. Often, they dislike partaking in bloodshed themselves, and would rather use their thralls to do the dirty work. Some prefer to use their thralls to distract the enemy while they swoop in for the kill personally. Other times, they try to make their own party, raising dead that border on indentured living servants.
- 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.
As a Necromancer you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Light armor, Medium Armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- A simple weapon
- (a) leather armor and a shield or (b) Chain Shirt
- (a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
- unholy symbol
|Features||Cantrips Known||Spells Known||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Unholy Symbol, Bone Powder||2||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||Path of Necromancy, Undead Increase||2||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||Cold Storage Undead Increase||3||4||3||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||3||5||3||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Undead Champion, Path Feature||4||7||4||2||—||—||—|
|7th||+3||Spread The Disease||4||8||4||3||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||5||9||4||3||—||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||6||13||4||3||3||—||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||8||17||4||3||3||2||—|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||9||20||4||3||3||3||2|
|20th||+6||Undead Martyr, Path Feature||9||20||4||3||3||3||2|
Necromancy, although often taboo, is still a school of magic like any other, spellcasting is not unknown to them.
At 1st level, you know 1 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.
- Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
starting at 1nd level You know one 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 5th 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 necromancer 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 attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
- Ritual Casting
You can cast a wizard 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.
As a necromancer, you have with you a symbol of unholy power of your own design, which is a focus of necromancy. Your unholy symbol can, once per day, turn a 5ft by 5ft cube of water into unholy water. This symbol is the fulcrum of your abilities. As you gain more abilities, your unholy symbol grows stronger. Your symbol is how you communicate to your undead, and as such, its power determines how many undead you can raise. The amount of undead you can raise is 2 at 1st level, 3 at 2nd level, 4 at 3rd level, and 5 at 5th level, unless otherwise dictated by your subclass. Rather than lasting 24 hours, your undead last as long as their hit points remain above 0. You may also use a bonus action to dismiss an undead, at which point it will fall over, dead. You may not reanimate bodies you have previously animated.
On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any undead you control if the creature is within 60 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.
At 1st level, you can create a powder that you sprinkle on the deceased to raise them for your undead army. Bone powder is created by boiling a mixture of unholy water, and a vial of your blood (You must take the regular damage from the weapon you use), then cooking the bones in this mixture . After crushing these bones, you have your bone powder. This process takes about 4 hours. Bone powder can raise weak undead, either skeletons or zombies depending on the level of decay of the bodies you have access to. Skeletons have 7 hit points, but otherwise have the same stats as a regular skeleton. Zombies has 11 hit points, but otherwise have the same stats as a regular zombie. You raise these monsters with a choice between a shortsword or a shortbow, unless you provide your own weapon. Zombies and skeletons you raise gain proficiency in simple weapons. Skeletons and Zombies you raise share your proficiency modifier. Each undead has its own initiative roll. If raised in combat, you will need to roll initiative for any newcomers. Bone Powder also has a healing effect on undead you raise, equal to 1d6. This increases to 2d6 at 4th level, 3d6 at 8th level, and 4d6 at 12th level.
Path of Necromancy
At 2nd level, you choose a path of necromancy. Your choices are Armorer, Commander, and Skull Fighter, which are all detailed at the end of this class description. The path you choose grants you features at 2nd level, and additionally at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 20th level.
The Underdark is a scary place full of scary creatures, but seeing as it lies beneath the mainland, it’s also the perfect way to store your undead when traveling. At 3rd level, as an action, you can call your undead from the ground beneath you and they will claw their way up from the dirt. Any armor or weapons they had, they will still have. You may only call your undead once per encounter, and they recover their hit points in accordance with short and long rest amounts of time, their hit die being the same as your own.
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.
At 5th level, due to your familiarity with the raising of dead, you can now reanimate without the use of bone powder. You may cast the spell animate dead as an action, you can use this feature a number of times equal to your CHA modifier, (minimum of once). These zombies and skeletons now have the same stats as those from the Monster Manual and they now use your hit die and level to determine their health. In addition you can now raise any creature that was living, this does not include constructs.
At 6th level, you’ve begun targeting creatures beyond the basic skeleton or zombie. Once per long rest, you can now raise any creature of Large sizes or smaller, whose challenge rating is your level or less. This undead loses any resistances, immunities, legendary actions, or sense it may have had in its life, and it gains the immunities and vulnerabilities of its type, skeleton or zombie. This undead is commanded in the same way as those controlled by the spell animate dead. Only one major undead may be under your control at this time. At 10th level you are allowed to raise 2 Major undead and 14th level 3 and 18th 4 major undead.
Spread the Disease
At 7th level, if your undead make the killing blow on a creature, you can imbue the freshly dead with your influence. As a result, you lose this undead in return for the freshly killed. Because no time has passed between their death and reanimation, they still retain all of their resistances and immunities they had, as well as their weapons, armor and proficiencies in each, and any items they may have had. After a long rest, they lose their resistances and immunities, but retain their armor and weapons. They now have the resistances and immunities of a zombie.
Necromancy is often a forbidden art, seen as taboo and even evil by others. As a result you may need to disguise yourself. At 9th level, your abilities with the dead are so good, you can shed the skin of your body and take the skin of a body that is freshly dead. Through your skill in necromancy, you can store these skins for use later. You may use the skin of any freshly deceased that is roughly your size, and has the same basic race components as you (i.e., humanoid). Unless an NPC expressly knows the person whose skin you’re wearing, you do not have to roll any deception rolls to convince people you are not yourself. You may also reanimate your skins. They cannot do damage or hold anything, have an AC of 10, and have 1 health. Clothing is also transferred with a skin.
Due to your prowess and skill, at 11th level you may now use Arcane Reanimation as a bonus action.
You are able to take any remains and fuse them to your armor. At 10th level you can take one action to fuse bones to any set of armor that you are wearing and currently doesn’t have this effect, giving you a +2 to your AC. This effect lasts until you doff this armor.
At 15th level, you are able to bring someone from a recent death back to partial consciousness. While all free will has dissipated from the mind, any information they may have had is yours to gain. You can collect information in this manner for up to 15 minutes after they are dead, at which point their memory is lost unless attained by some other means. In addition, Arcane Reanimation is also now a free action.
At 17th level, you have become a constant, glutinous, devourer of souls. You gain the Vampiric Touch spell and the ability to cast it as a 3rd level spell at will. If you already knew the Vampiric Touch spell, you may learn an additional spell of your casting level in the Necromancer spell list. Additionally, if this spell kills the creature you are targeting, gain all of the damage dealt as hit points instead of half.
At 18th level, you have become so obsessed with death, you have become the image of it yourself. Your gaunt face, pale complexion, and yellowing eyes either concerns people of your health, or disgusts people. You now have advantage on all Charisma checks when interacting with undead, and you no longer age, as well as being immune to poison damage, diseases, exhuastion, and being frightened or poisoned. You have the option to replace your sickly appearance with a different skin, to revitalize your appearance.
You can arm your skeletons to execute the unexpected. At 20th level, your skeletons can take an action to arm themselves and then detonate themselves on their next turn, with a 5ft blast radius. Those in the radius must make a Constitution saving throw. On a fail, they take 8d6 necrotic damage, and half as much on a success. In addition, there are now shards of bone on the ground and embedded in their skin. Within the radius of the explosion, movement speed is halved, and their next turn anyone in the blast radius during the detonation will take 1d8 bleed damage. Enemies killed by this cannot be raised.
In addition You have complete control over death and as such you may raise a single dead beholder to serve you until it is destroyed
Path of Necromancy
Path of the Armorer
Why raise plenty of undead when you can raise stronger warriors that have better equipment? The Path of the Armorer focuses on more powerful undead and buffing your undead.
Warriors of the Past
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 6th level, undead raised with a shortsword now also carry a shield, as well as having the Protection fighting style. If an undead is within 5 feet of an allied creature, it can use it’s reaction to impose disadvantage on an enemies attack on said ally.
At 13th level, when you raise dead, you have a 50/50 chance (1d4, >2 success) to raise them with their racial bonuses and immunities intact. These abilities will decay after a long rest. This does not apply to Undead Champion
At 14th level, you can raise undead with any simple or martial weapon and armor of your choosing. Your undead also gain proficiency in the armor and weapons they rise with. You also do not need a body or bones to do so, the undead will claw its way out from underground, weapon in hand.
At 20th level, when you raise the dead, they behave like fresh undead, retaining all resistances, immunities, and racial bonuses they had in life. These will not decay. This does not apply to Undead Champion.
The Path of the Commander
“Having an undead army on reserve is a necromantic necessity. When you don’t want to, or can’t fight on your own, you have your minions do it for you.” - Elia Redscallion Rather than focus on improving the combat abilities of your undead, you decide strength in numbers is the better way to go.
An Undead Militia
At 2nd level, rather than being able to raise 2 undead at a time, you can now raise and control 6, this raises with level. You roll for attacks for half of them with each attack roll.
Stocking the Army
At 6th level, the amount of undead you can raise increases drastically by a multiplier of of your prof mod.
Your army has grown to the point where they can now carry you. At 13th level, your undead army can emerge from the ground, grab you, and transport you elsewhere, given that you know where you want to go.
A Necromantic Necessity
At 14th level, your army grows once again. You are now capable of commanding up to 30 undead at a time. When using Undead Transport, your movement speed is now doubled.
You have become so powerful, you have a legion at your hands. At 20th level, you have control of 50 undead. When you roll for these undead, you now roll for 10 minion’s attacks at a time. This does not allow a skeleton to attack more than once.
The Path of the Bone Warrior
You grow tired of watching your thralls fight. You yawn at the thought of keeping to the backlines of a fight. You yearn to be in the fray, fighting alongside your undead comrades. Oh, and the living ones too.
At 2nd level, if one of your thralls is within 5ft of an enemy, once per turn you gain advantage when attacking them. You may also disengage without invoking an attack of opportunity if your thrall has attacked the enemy, and use your reaction to halve any damage done to you.
At 6th level, you may take an action to take parts from any remains within 30 feet of you to use as a weapon. You do not need to move to the remains, they will move to you. Your options consist of a spine whip, a bone club, or rib dagger. These weapons function just as their regular counterparts do, but you add +1 to your attack and damage rolls, and if you are not already proficient, you are now proficient in them. You may also create a bone shield, if your offhand is free. This shield functions just as a regular shield would, but can only last against 10 unsuccessful attacks before turning to dust.
At 13th level, your Bone Armor becomes more effective. You now gain +5 to your AC when using it.
Consume The Living
At 14th level, attacks dealt with bone weapons grant you life steal. Once per turn, you can choose to invoke life steal and regain hit points equal to half the damage you roll.
At 20th level, you can dual-wield bone weapons. They now have a +3 to attack rolls, and a +5 to damage rolls.
Necromancer Spell List
- Cantrips (0 Level)
Acid Splash, Chill Touch, Poison Spray, Spare the Dying, Toll the Dead
- 1st Level
Cause Fear, False Life, Ice Knife, Inflict Wounds, Ray of Sickness
- 2nd Level
Blindness/Deafness, Gentle Repose, Misty Step, Ray of Enfeeblement, Hold Person
- 3rd Level
Bestow Curse, Feign Death, Life Transference, Revivify, Speak with Dead, Vampiric Touch
- 4th Level
Blight, Faithful Hound, Polymorph, Shadow of Moil
- 5th Level
Contagion, Negative Energy Flood, Raise Dead
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.