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Dming For Noobs
2013-05-11, 10:57 AM
Quick Question-Im trying to create an 8th level Dread Necromancer, and am trying to build him in as a nobleman. Currently Trying to design an estate around him. Any ideas would be appreciated, as i have been playing 3.5 for about 5 months now.

Thanks

Edit: Thanks to all who have replyed, Im definitely going with a combination of Egyptian and a twist of European Nobleman:smallbiggrin:

Matticussama
2013-05-11, 11:49 AM
Given the noble Necromancer feel, I would highly suggest going for an Egyptian theme. If you have the wealth you could have your own pyramid or a Temple complex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Edfu). Devote it to the various undead that you prepare, and wrap it heavily in Egyptian myth. If someone tries to pull the "Necromancers are always evil!" card, you can easily say it is an intrinsic part of your character's culture. If they try to argue with you, it is easy to reframe the debate as cultural insensitivity on their part; since you'll likely have a high Charisma anyways, a few Diplomacy checks might be able to keep otherwise hostile NPCs from trying to attack you on sight.

Alejandro
2013-05-11, 12:32 PM
It depends on whether or not the necromancer is openly a necromancer. If they aren't, then it probably doesn't look special in any particular way. If they are, then they totally have an undead butler. :)

Blightedmarsh
2013-05-11, 12:52 PM
I devised an entire philosophical and political system revolving around an alliance of the living and the dead. You may find some useful info for your estate from the link in my sig.

TheCountAlucard
2013-05-11, 12:53 PM
Seconding the Egyptian thing. For more fun, make undead that are immune to fire, then wrap them so that everyone assumes they're mummies and whip out the torches. :smallamused:

Matticussama
2013-05-11, 03:13 PM
Also, picking a Mummy Cohort up via Undead Leadership is always a blast. Some form of Fire Resistance (and eventually Fire Immunity) helps immensely.

turbo164
2013-05-11, 03:34 PM
Egyptian does sound interesting.

For a more classic European nobleman, a few things you could mix in to your mansion/estate:

*Skeleton butler. Extremely tidy, dips his hands in boiling lye (or some other cleansing act that would be extremely painful to a living butler) before and after delivering a meal/taking your jacket, etc.

*Combination garden/graveyard. Very tasteful flower arrangements and shaped bushes and such next to marble gravestones and crypts. Groundskeepers can be living and/or dead.

*Art in the mansion is again a mixture of living and dead. The library has several busts of your great-great-grandfather who started construction of the house; some of while he was alive, some of after he became a vampire/ghoul/whatever. Portraits on the wall occasionally feature a skeleton in formal wear, or a man and his faithful zombie hound returning from a successful fox hunt, etc.

*Most of the mansion is clean, well-lit etc, not creepy (unless you look at the aforementioned art). Perhaps the west wing, or the room next to the wine cellar, or the third floor bedrooms etc are kept dark for any Vampires/Shadows/etc that live there. A polished brass rack of small candles awaits at the entrance to wherever this dark area is, should a non-darkvision servant or guest need to visit; larger lights are frowned upon, but only for those rooms.

*Undead that tolerate sunlight will have their coffins in bedrooms in the same hall as bedrooms with beds.

Anything you can do to play up the fact that undead aren't just rotting corpses shambling about in rotting clothes. They can be polite, well-groomed, and appreciate art and music just as well as the death-impaired.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-11, 04:29 PM
Undead entertainment is always nice. Like if you can make a skeletal piano quartet (usually piano/violin/viola/cello), and/or some dancers. It can be a source of creepy atmospheric music.

Waker
2013-05-11, 05:27 PM
The advantages of having undead servants is that the living-impaired do not suffer from fatigue (or boredom if mindless). With this in mind they can perform certain tedious tasks ad infinitum, such as making sure the lawn is meticulously trimmed, the walkways are always swept clear, the interior immaculate. Obviously you wouldn't let them do certain tasks unattended but if you left one skeleton or zombie with the instructions "Sweep away any debris from this path" you can rest easy knowing you'll have a spotless walkway.
Personally I would suggest Skeletons over Zombies, given the speed differences and lack of decaying flesh. You can remove/boil away anything that could rot and keep them from stinking the place up, bonus points if you do something ridiculous like put scented candles in their skulls.
For more complicated tasks such as a doorman or valet, you would want to use intelligent undead, though they can be complemented by mindless undead. Not only would you be able to relay more complicated instructions to them, but in certain fashions they may be able to take their own initiative should the need arise.

Grinner
2013-05-11, 05:44 PM
For more complicated tasks such as a doorman or valet, you would want to use intelligent undead, though they can be complemented by mindless undead. Not only would you be able to relay more complicated instructions to them, but in certain fashions they may be able to take their own initiative should the need arise.

Is this before or after they start snacking on your guests? :smallamused:

Kyberwulf
2013-05-11, 06:44 PM
Watch any Tim Burton movie, and copy it.

Also make your necromancer look like Johnny Depp.

Gildedragon
2013-05-11, 06:58 PM
An agricultural fiefdom:

The necromancer has vast tracts of land that need to be worked, and a myriad crops to be grown.
Necromancy is used to keep pests off the plants and undead servants do most of the manual labor on his personal estates.

Within the area of influence of the necromancer:
Peasants are allowed to keep the greater part of their production, provided they bequeath their bodies posthumously to the necromancer. Only the head of the household is held to this condition. As a result, peasants in the necromancer's lands are very well fed and overall fairly rich. Moreso if necromantic pest control is made commonplace.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-11, 07:18 PM
the living-impaired

Please, the correct term is reborn. Also, please disabuse yourself of the notion that the gift of rebirth is anything but a blessing from the Lady Wee Jass.

Such ideas serve as testament to the ignorance common to all too many of the biotypical thralls of "goodness", who can only be bothered to embrace their reborn brethren when they bear the mortal coil and animal urges of their past life.

Gensuru
2013-05-11, 07:38 PM
I think there are some spells that allow one to restore undead creatures such as zombies much like how there are spells to repair constructs such as golems. If not, it should be simple enough to modify some of the construct spells to work on necromantic constructs. As a nobleman there is hardly a need to surround oneself with a bunch of hideous, smelly corpses and who if not a nobloeman could appreciate a cultured environment. Evil does not mean rude. Nor does it mean uncivilised. Kind of like: any two-copper hedgewizard can learn how to raise a decaying zombie, it takes a master of the craft to raise an undead and restore (and keep) it in life-like condition (or as close to it as possible).

So, save for a few stiches (for the proper atmosphere) and maybe somewhat dull eyes, the estates maids and butlers might look quite alive. The kitchen certainly should be staffed with either very well maintained undead or actual living staff. I for one would hate to find a finger in my dinner simply because the zombie-cook can't keep himself in one piece o For more menial tasks and out-of-sight stuff zombies or skelletons might be appropriate enough and ghosts can be used to monitor them. Or even just one ghost in charge of organising the mindless servants of the manor.

I'd go for some kind of mix between a haunted house feel and a macabre yet cheerful kind of place. An undead band playing lively music and maybe a couple of dancers. Of course the annual ball where vampires, ghosts are invited.


Someone already posted an idea of using undead servants to help out with the peasants. Might be a good idea if only to give some measure of justification for there being any kind of peasants nearby instead of them all having run away to get help from the nearest paladin. Because unless you have some sort of reason to be out in the open without wannabe-heroes and paladins kicking your door down every other week you'll rack up quite the repair bill. Not much point to an estate if you're better of hiding in a cave like any other necromancer. Unless you'd like a kinda decrepit half-ruin in some deep and dark forest/swamp where you can hide your estate. In which case I would go for a slightly rundown and creepy kind of feel to the house/mansion.

Depending on how likely assault is you can either have hordes of zombies and the likes as sentries or go for a more civilised, polite yet dark and creepy kinda version of your average nobleman. Like previously stated: depends if the necromancer is out in the open or hiding as well as how likely an attack on his estate is.

Geordnet
2013-05-11, 08:56 PM
Ever seen Kingdom of Heaven?

Pretending to be a leper would be an excellent cover story.

genmoose
2013-05-11, 08:58 PM
After reading what Gensuru and Guigarci said, I have an interesting twist.

If this is a typical fantasy setting, there is already plenty of opportunity for natural death among the common folk. What if this Dread Necro served his people and raised their dead for them. If he can make them even a shadow of their former selves I'm sure there will be plenty that will trade that for a dead family member.

For example, Ma and Pa Kettle and their three grown sons have a humble farm in Necro's domain. The oldest son, Bumpkin, falls ill from a fever. Ma and Pa take him to Necro to beg for help. He tries, but poor Bumpkin dies anyway. Before they bury him, Necro offers to raise their son in a near lifelike condition. Bumpkin can 'live' with Ma and Pa but when they die, he must return to Necro and serve at his estate.

Now if Necro is in this for the long haul (and if he's undead why wouldn't he be), then he could make out quite well. He loans an undead minion for maybe a decade or two, before he gets it back. His people are eternally grateful, and are more productive if effectively their numbers are not culled by disease. More people may flock to his land if rumor spreads that his people do not succumb to disease or injury.

Now you have a very powerful undead. He doesn't need character levels, or fancy magic items, he has not only undead but willing and fiercely loyal living servants. It also makes for an interesting moral twist for the PC's. Do they destroy the 'evil' Necro and let his people falter? Can they cut down Bumpkin and risk the wrath of the Kettle clan? PC's who thought they were going to be heroes for killing an evil necromancer could become wanted criminals for laying waste to the kind lord and his village of unusual health.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-11, 09:10 PM
So, save for a few stiches (for the proper atmosphere) and maybe somewhat dull eyes, the estates maids and butlers might look quite alive. The kitchen certainly should be staffed with either very well maintained undead or actual living staff. I for one would hate to find a finger in my dinner simply because the zombie-cook can't keep himself in one piece o For more menial tasks and out-of-sight stuff zombies or skelletons might be appropriate enough and ghosts can be used to monitor them. Or even just one ghost in charge of organising the mindless servants of the manor.


If we're talking 3.5, the spell Animate Dread Warrior. It leaves the undead pretty much how it looked in life, bar the wounds that killed it and a "feral yellow glow" in its eyes. They also start screwing up if their orders are more than 12 words long, but this isn't an issue except for highly complex tasks.

Also, a well-dressed skeleton would look just fine, so they could be kept in view.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8471/8111337428_49d64a9995_h.jpg

They could probably wear normal clothes with padding so they fill it out better and look and feel a bit more familiar, and masks might be appropriate when more sensitive guests visit (and such an all-concealing uniform could also make stealth missions in the manor more interesting, since intruders could disguise as skeletons to gain access). Of course, considering their relative inability to perform complex interactions, they'd probably be treated much like slave servants, instructed to keep quiet and not talk to guests.

For when the skeletons aren't being used, the "servants quarters" would probably just be a closet where they're instructed to stand inert until they receive further commands.

Necroticplague
2013-05-12, 09:52 AM
One tip that can be recommended: Your servants don't necessarily have to be corporeal, or even individual entities. Haunt shift would enable you to turn weak undead into haunting presences, which can have objects move on their own. This thing can be all kind of useful for keeping an estate running smoothly. Don't want to touch the doors to open them, because that is clearly for peasent below you station?Haunt Shift a presence into the door, command it to havethe door open itself when you walk through. While it can't target subjects strong enough to make the objects float and move on their own, they can move in any way that their form allows it so. So if you want to have servants without the creepiness of undead, put some presences into What are essentially statues with actual joints, then people will just assume they're golems (unless they use detect magic and see the place is filled to the brim with moderate necromancery auras).

The Grue
2013-05-12, 09:58 AM
I just want to say that this thread is amazing and full of win.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-12, 11:14 AM
Now if Necro is in this for the long haul (and if he's undead why wouldn't he be), then he could make out quite well. He loans an undead minion for maybe a decade or two, before he gets it back.


He needs to consider the likelihood of the undead being destroyed or damaged beyond repair before it's returned. Much like an actual lender, he must figure a probability for this, adjusted to the specifics of the family condition.

A better idea might be that once the rent on someone's grave-space runs out, then the state gets the body to reanimate as it will unless someone pays a large fee. Of course, this one goes over a lot better if undeath doesn't harm souls in the setting.

Randel
2013-05-12, 04:30 PM
One could view undeath as a sort of reverse retirement. Instead of working your whole life to spend your later years relaxing, people in this land work little in life but the less enjoyable jobs are done by undead.


Say, everyone goes to school (even the "commoners") where they learn things to become butlers, servants, mages, accountants, soldiers, whatever.

Undead are largely forbidden from being used as soldiers against "civilized" nations, so most soldiers are living. The reason is that in the old days evil necromancers would invade villages, slaughter the inhabitants, "recruit" them into their undead army, and basically have this undead snowballing army of death devastating the countryside and ruining the economy.

So if ANY army is seen with undead amongst their ranks, they get serious flak from every other nation or noble. Even other necromancers don't want to fight a necro-war. The only time it's justified is in defense from other undead armies or defending against orcs or other "barbarian" invaders.

So, most people attend school and spend time in the military. They can then go military full time, or get jobs as merchants, farmers, or various servants.

However, once they die, they are turned into undead where they do most of the less pleasant or repetitive jobs. As undead, they earn money which is given to their living relatives to support them.

So every household has living members, a living head of the household, and numerous undead members who are expected to work for the benefit of the family.

Nonintelligent undead are sort of seen as animals/slaves or expensive and valuable property. They are "owned" by the family who make sure they are working to earn money and are well maintained. If a working undead is destroyed, that means a financial loss for the family and they can demand compensation.

A family must take care of ther undead relatives as a point of pride. Anyone who lets them wear down, get destroyed, or otherwise damages them pointlessly brings shame on their family and ancestor.

Undead can be sold (and ownership is a big deal) but its generally seen as an act of desperation or admitting an inability to properly care for them.

There can be cases where a family runs on hard times, sells an undead relative to make due, and later want to reclaim ownership one they can afford to.


Intelligent undead are similar in that they are expected to support living relatives, but (hopefully) get better non-menial jobs.

Nobody trusts a vampire who lives alone and doesn't support living relatives (he might start plotting things and going feral!). But one who works a steady job for his family is seen as honest and hardworking.

Family members of vampires are responsible for keeping their vampire members fed. Either with their own blood (kind of frowned upon, but seen as necessary) or more commonly hiring living servants to provide the blood (all licensed, properly compensated, and cared for).

"Blood donors" tend to be trained for this and maintain proper diet, excercise, and healing. They also tend to turn into vampires when they die.