Dread Necromancer

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.43 (44 Votes)
This is the dread necromancer from Heroes of Horror retooled to be more Pathfinderized. I kept the class largely similar to the 3.5 version. I've added a bit of pathfinder style mechanics into the abilities I found to be the most worthless. I traded some of these abilities for slightly more thematic and useful things, thereby pertaining to Pathfinder code.

Alignment: Any non-good

Hit Die
: d6

Class Skills

Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Stealth (Dex).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier

Level Base Attack Fort Ref Will Special Abilities
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Charnel Touch, Channel Negative Energy, Spellcasting
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Lich Body
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Death's Embrace
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Advanced Learning, Mental Bastion
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Fear Aura 10 ft.
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Master of Death, Dreadsight 60 ft.
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Necrotic Attunement
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Undead Mastery
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Negative Energy Resistance
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Light Fortification 25%
11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Mental Bastion +4
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Enervating Touch
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Dreadsight 120 ft.
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Fear Aura 30 ft.
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Death Ward
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Light Fortification 50%
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Mental Bastion +6
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Craft Wondrous Item
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Lich Transformation

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A dread necromancer is proficient with all simple weapons and with one martial weapon of her choice. Her choice of martial weapon is made when the character takes her first level of dread necromancer and cannot be changed.

Dread necromancers are also proficient with light armor, but not with shields. The somatic components required for dread necromancer spells are simple, so members of this class can cast dread necromancer spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. She still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells derived from other classes. In addition, if a dread necromancer wears medium or heavy armor, or uses a shield, she incurs the same chance of arcane spell failure as any other arcane caster if the spell in question has a somatic component (and most do).

Spellcasting: A dread necromancer casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the dread necromancer’s spell list. Like a sorcerer, she can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. When a dread necromancer gains access to a new level of spells, she automatically knows all the spells for that level given on the dread necromancer’s spell list. Dread necromancers also have the option of adding to their existing spell list through their advanced learning ability as they increase in level (see below).

To cast a spell, a dread necromancer must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a dread necromancer’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + her Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a dread necromancer can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given in Table 1: The Dread Necromancer. In addition, she receives bonus spells for a high Charisma score.

Spells Per Day
Level1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th8th9th
1st 3
- - - - - - - -
2nd 4
- - - - - - - -
3rd 5
- - - - - -
4th 6
- - - - - -
5th 6
- - - - -
6th 6
- - - - - -
7th 6
- - - -
8th 6
- - - - -
9th 6
- - -
10th 6
- - - -
11th 6
- -
12th 6 6 6 6 5 3
- - -
13th 6 6 6 6 6 4 - -
14th 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
- -
15th 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 - -
16th 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
17th 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 -
18th 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
19th 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
20th 6 6

Dread Necromancer Spell List

0 Level

Create Water
Cure Minor Wounds
Detect Magic
Detect Poison
Purify Food and Drink
Read Magic

1st Level

Bestow Wound*
Cause Fear
Chill Touch
Detect Magic
Detect Undead
Hide from Undead
Inflict Light Wounds
Ray of Enfeeblement
Summon Undead I*
Undetectable Alignment

2nd Level

Command Undead
Death Knell
False Life
Gentle Repose
Ghoul Touch
Inflict Moderate Wounds
Spectral Hand
Summon Swarm
Summon Undead II*

3rd Level

Crushing Despair
Death Ward
Halt Undead
Inflict Serious Wounds
Ray of Exhaustion
Speak with Dead
Summon Undead III*
Vampiric Touch

4th Level

Animate Dead
Bestow Curse
Death Ward
Dispel Magic
Black Tentacles
Giant Vermin
Inflict Critical Wounds
Phantasmal Killer
Summon Undead IV*

5th Level

Fire in the Blood*
Greater Dispel Magic
Insect Plague
Lesser Planar Binding
Magic Jar
Mass Inflict Light Wounds
Oath of Blood*
Slay Living
Summon Undead V*
Undeath to Death
Waves of Fatigue

6th Level

Acid Fog
Circle of Death
Create Undead
Mass Inflict Moderate Wounds
Planar Binding
Waves of Exhaustion

7th Level

Control Undead
Finger of Death
Greater Harm*
Mass Inflict Serious Wounds
Song of Discord
Vile Death*

8th Level

Create Greater Undead
Horrid Wilting
Mass Inflict Critical Wounds
Symbol of Death

9th Level

Energy Drain
Imprison Soul*
Mass Harm*
Plague of Undead*
Wail of the Banshee

*Spell from Heroes of Horror

Charnel Touch (Su): Negative energy flows through a dread necromancer’s body, and can be used as a weapon in her careful hands. As part of his touch attack, a dread necromancer can cause 1d8 points of damage +1 per two class levels. Undead are healed by this touch, instead gaining 1 hit point per two levels.

Spectral hand may be used with this ability.

Channel Negative Energy (Su): The dread necromancer can channel negative energy as an evil cleric can with two differences: he uses his Charisma modifier for any saving throws and number of times per day it can be used, and she may choose to affect herself with her channeled energy. In addition, choose one of the following. This choice cannot be changed once it’s made:

Selective Channeling: The dread necromancer gains the selective channeling feat, assuming she can meet the prerequisites.

Control Undead: The dread necromancer gains the control undead feat, assuming he can meet all the prerequisites.

Lich Body: As part of the process of becoming a lich, the dread necromancer’s skin begins to take on unliving qualities. Nerve endings start to decay, flesh becomes more resilient, and bones harden. Beginning at 2nd level a dread necromancer gains damage reduction equal to half his class level, and the damage reduction is bypassed with magic and bludgeoning.

Death’s Embrace: Upon reaching 3rd level the dread necromancer is better able to understand the energies that flow between all things living and dead. As a full round action the dread necromancer may activate death’s embrace and must select either within or without. Once chosen the choice cannot be changed for the duration of that day. Once she rests and reselects her spells, she may choose again.

Within: The dread necromancer chooses to infuse the necromantic energies into his own body, empowering his physical and mental forms. When under the effects of death’s embrace, she gains a tolerance for negative energy and the creatures that relish in it. Undead creatures may not attack the dread necromancer unless they succeed on a will save with a DC equal to 10 + ½ her class levels + her charisma modifier. Mindless undead fail these checks automatically.

Additionally, he reverses his life threshold and may be healed by negative energy. Any healing from positive energy instead inflicts great pain and deals half damage as it would normally heal.
Her charnel touch ability also adds half her Charisma bonus to damage rolls (minimum +1).

Without: Undead are treated as their previous creature type with regards to how the dread necromancer's spells affect them. For example, a human zombie would be treated as a human, and therefore susceptible to scare. A skeletal giant would count as a giant; a dracolich would count as a dragon, etc.

Further, every time he casts a spell that creates or animates undead, the creatures newly under her control gain +2 bonus hit points per hit die, as well as DR 1/-- with an additional +1 DR/-- per 5 caster levels the dread necromancer possesses.

Advanced Learning (Ex): At 4th level, a dread necromancer can add a new spell to her list, representing the result of personal study and experimentation. The spell must be a cleric or wizard spell of the necromancy school, and of a level no higher than that of the highest-level spell the dread necromancer already knows. Alternatively, the dread necromancer may chose a spell of any school, so long as the spell is one spell level lower than the highest possible he can cast.

Once a new spell is selected, it is added to that dread necromancer’s spell list and can be cast just like any other spell she knows. If a spell is both a cleric spell and a wizard spell, use the lower of the two spell levels (when different) to determine what level the spell is for a dread necromancer.

He selects another spell every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight advanced learning selections at 18th level.

Mental Bastion: Starting at 4th level, a dread necromancer gains a +2 bonus on saving throws made to resist sleep, stunning, paralysis, poison, or disease. This bonus increases to +4 at 11th level and then again to +6 at 18th level.

Fear Aura (Su): Beginning at 5th level, a dread necromancer radiates a 10-foot-radius fear aura as a free action. Enemies in the area must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 her class level + her Cha modifier) or become shaken. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected by that dread necromancer’s fear aura for 24 hours. Starting at 15th level the fear aura’s radius increases to 30 feet.

Master of Death (Su): As the dread necromancer comes closer and closer to his ultimate ascension into undeath, he also becomes more aware of how weak he used to be. When activating this ability, upon reaching 6th level, she may choose between body and mind. Master of death lasts for a number of hours equal to the dread necromancer’s caster level. She may use this ability one time per day per four caster levels she possesses.

Body: You shed your life’s shell and temporarily gain the undead subtype. While under this effect you lose your constitution score and gain the traits of an undead creature. This effect renders the caster medically dead for its duration. In addition, he also gains a +4 turn resistance.

Mind: You gain spell resistance equal to 10 + class level. Further, any time the dread necromancer is forced to make a will save, she may roll twice and take the best of both roll.

Dreadsight: The dread necromancer gains a form of blindsight that can detect living and undead creatures. The necromancer can only distinguish if the target is living or undead; constructs, oozes and equipment carried by the targets cannot be seen. The targets appear as semi-colorful silhouettes, and can be seen up to a range of 60 feet. Activating or deactivating this ability is a swift action, and turns the necromancer's eyes black or dull grey. Spells that blind the necromancer have a 50% chance of negating this form of blindsight; blindfolds and shades have do not block dreadsight, but do block normal vision as usual.

At 13th level the range increases from 60 feet to 120 feet.

Necrotic Attunement: Beginning at 7th level a dread necromancer chooses one option from among the following. Once chosen, this ability may not be changed.

Master's Champion: The dread necromancer may appoint any one undead under her sole control to be her champion. This creature must be undead and under the necromancer’s control, and either mindless or willing to be so appointed.

This requires a touch and a quick incantation, but grants the undead many benefits:

It loses any appetites or diet needs it previously had (such as a ghoul's hunger for flesh or a vampire's thirst for blood), but can still gain benefits from partaking (if any).

It gains a +1 unholy bonus on attack rolls (+1 per 4 dread necromancer class levels), the same in deflection modifier to AC, and +2 additional hit points per hit dice.

These bonuses last until the dread necromancer withdraws the boon, appoint a new champion, or the undead is destroyed. The boon can be withdrawn at any time with a similar incantation (a free action).

Dark Talisman: The dread necromancer can form a potent talisman of Death. This can take many forms, from a mummified hand, a jar full of eyes, a scroll of skin, an etched chalice, a cursed mirror, all the way to a painted skull on a strap.

By brandishing this talisman and reciting eldritch passages, the dread necromancer can amplify their spells by using the ambient energy that all undead emit. Upon using a move action to activate dark talisman, any spells cast until the end of your round will count as if being affected by the heighten spell feat, but doesn’t increase the spell level required to cast it.

Reciting the eldritch passages is necessary for the function of the talisman, but does not interfere with the verbal components of the spell. He may use his dark talisman a number of times per day equal to 3 + his charisma bonus.

Constructing this talisman is a very personal task, and can take hours or days depending on the item. Regardless of its type, materials worth around 100 gp per class level, and one day-long ritual to bind the item to the Dread Necromancer's aura are needed.

Undead Mastery: All undead creatures created by a dread necromancer who has reached 8th level or higher gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per Hit Die.

In addition, when a dread necromancer uses the animate dead spell to create undead, she can control 4 + her Charisma bonus HD worth of undead creatures per class level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted by the spell). Similarly, when a dread necromancer 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.

Negative Energy Resistance: Beginning at 9th level, a dread necromancer gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist negative energy effects, including energy drain, some ability drain, and inflict spells.

Beginning at 16th level he gains a constant death ward effect as a supernatural effect. Dispel magic cannot cancel this effect, but will suppress it for 1 minute per spell level of the dispel used if failing the saving throw. Activating or deactivating this ability is a swift action.

Light Fortification: Starting at 10th level, a dread necromancer gains 25% resistance to critical hits; this is the equivalent of the light fortification armor special ability. At 17th level, this fortification increases to 50%.

Enervating Touch (Su): When a dread necromancer reaches 12th level, she gains the ability to bestow negative levels when she uses her charnel touch attack. A successful attack renders 1d2 negative levels to the target. The saving throw to remove the negative levels has a DC of 10 + 1/2 her class level + her Charisma modifier. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.

Activating this class feature is a swift action. The effect lasts until she makes a successful charnel touch attack. A dread necromancer can use the spectral hand spell to deliver this attack from a distance.

Craft Wondrous Item: At 19th level, the dread necromancer gains Craft Wondrous Item as a bonus feat. This helps her prepare the phylactery required to become a lich.

Lich Transformation: When a dread necromancer attains 20th level, she undergoes a hideous transformation and becomes a lich. Apply the Lich template as described in the Beastiary. A dread necromancer need not pay experience points or gold to create her phylactery.

A dread necromancer who is not humanoid does not gain this class feature.

Author's Note: Some material originally by Parka.

Additional Ratings
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.95 (61 Votes)
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.80 (44 Votes)
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.76 (45 Votes)