View Full Version : New Class: Balance Necromancer

2007-01-18, 06:55 PM
This is a class I've designed on my own. I'm hoping for assistance in balancing out this character class, and would appreciate any comments etc. Then I can have a "Balanced Necromancer" ;)

Balance Necromancer
Class Description:
Necromancy is an age old school of magic that toys with the borders between life and death. Many different kinds of necromancers have arisen, harnessing this power in many different ways, from true necromancers, to balance necromancers, to pale masters, to evil clerics, to good old fashion liches. Generally the practice of necromancy is assumed to be an evil act, and the practitioners are unequivocally malign. The balance necromancer is, of course, another kind of death manipulating spell-caster. Unlike its predecessors, however, the Balance necromancer does not consider its art to be evil.

The balance necromancer is a special breed of sorcerer that has been occurring more and more frequently in lands that struggle against undead. It is believed by some that the unholy taint of the undead warriors and the unclean spirits of ghosts and other malign creatures have been infusing young children with some of their essence. Whether this is true or not, the supposed resulting progeny have a special affinity for the borders between life and death.

In practice, the balance necromancer is generally neutral, and occasionally even good. Rather then dabbling generally in all of the necromantic arts, the balance necromancer only deals with magic specifically designed around life and the absence thereof. Therefore, they have a very small amount of known spells, but they are able to put them to the greatest use doing the thing they do best- summoning hordes upon hordes of undead.

Playing a Balance Necromancer:
At first glance, the Balance Necromancer seems ridiculously powerful. It can cast spells without prior preparation, like a sorcerer, and can cast in armor like a cleric. It even gains the evil cleric’s ability to rebuke undead, and yet does not have to be of evil alignment. However, the Balance Necromancer has many weaknesses: most noticeably the fact that it lacks any offensive spells. The Necromancer does not gain an offensive spell (Aside from disrupt undead) until level 9 when he or she first has access to “Slay Living.” All in all, the necromancer only gains 4 offensive spells that even work against living creatures. Specializing in Prowess and taking Negative Energy Affinity will give the necromancer a single inflict spell of each level per day when the necromancer reaches level 5. Taking Negative Energy Burst gives a powerful, excruciatingly short ranged attack once per day. Other than that, the necromancer has no protection, whatsoever, against an immediate attack, and is incapable of dealing large amounts of damage. Although the Balance Necromancer can wear armor, he or she has the lowest HD dice in the game and is only proficient in light armor. He or she can therefore only take a few hits. Unlike all the other casters, the Balance Necromancer cannot cast Mage Armor, Shield, or any natural armor spells

The Necromancer is a zookeeper, specializing primarily in the construction, destruction and management of undead. Consequently, anyone who plays a necromancer must be able to coordinate a miniature fleet of undead without slowing down play. The necromancer’s familiar and constructs also play an extremely important roll in combat. In all honesty, the necromancer’s familiar might be more frightening than he is.

There are other strategies for playing a necromancer, and other roles which he or she might fill. A Balance necromancer can be a back up cleric. He can use a feat to become proficient in plate, cast Protection Against Evil on himself, and take the role of a fighter for a short duration of time. His medium base attack bonus allows for him to be as effective as a cleric when dealing damage. More often then not, he will hide in the middle of the party and pray to god that no enemies get through the front lines.

Although the Balance Necromancer becomes an exceptionally useful character (especially against undead), he should be played with care. A level one Balance Necromancer stands little chance on his own, and should stick with the party. His only offensive spell is Summon Undead I, a spell that will last for a single round. He doesn’t have double the HD of any undead, so he can’t command them. His only tools for survival are a chain shirt, a scythe, 4 hp, and a tiny familiar. The necromancer relies heavily on all of the other members of the party, and should not be left alone for any duration of time.

High Points:
• Can cast spells without previous preparation
• Can cast spells in armor without penalty
• Can rebuke, command, and potentially turn undead
• Proficient in light armor
• Cleric BAB (medium)
• Can cast a large quantity of spells (same as sorcerer)
• Proficient with some martial weapons
• Access to many feats and abilities
• Has bonuses for building some Constructs
• High Will Save
• Undead Familiar
• Few Alignment restrictions
Low Points:
• Very weak and exceptionally meager spell selection
• Lowest hit points (d4)
• Almost no offensive or defensive spells
• Only knows small selection of spells from already meager spell list
• Low Fortitude and Reflex saves
• Low Skill Points

Game Rule Information:
Abilities: Charisma and Intelligence are the most important abilities for the necromancer. A high Constitution score is also very helpful for a class that has very few hitpoints.
Alignment: Any, normally neutral.
Hit Die: d4

Class Skills:
Bluff(Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft(sculpting)(Int), Craft(alchemy)(Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge(arcane)(Int), Knowledge(nature)(Int), Knowledge(history)(Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft(Int).
Skill Points at 1st level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at each additional level: 2+ Int modifier

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Balance necromancers are proficient in light armor. They are proficient in a very small selection of weapons. As with everything the Balance necromancer does, it narrows its choices in order to cause the maximum effect. A balance necromancer is proficient with Daggers, Light Crossbows, Scythes, Sickles, Guisarme, Glaives, and Halberds.
Natural Affinity: The balance necromancer can replace any Knowledge (religion) check with a Knowledge (nature) check.

Stitched Flesh Familiar: Balance necromancers can obtain a stitched-flesh familiar (See Feat page 30 of Libris Mortis). Doing so takes 24 hours, and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp. A familiar is a magical beast that resembles a small animal and is unusually tough and intelligent. Stitched Flesh Familiars differ from normally familiars in that they are made out of parts from various different individuals from the animal species they resemble, and they are to the practiced eye quite undead. The creature serves as a companion and servant. The balance necromancer chooses the kind of familiar he gets. If the familiar dies or is dismissed by the balance necromancer, the Necromancer must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw. Failure means he loses 200 experience points per balance necromancer level; success reduces the loss to one-half that amount. A balance necromancer’s experience point total can never go below 0 as the result of a familiar’s demise or dismissal. A slain or dismissed familiar cannot be replaced for a year and a day. A Slain familiar can be raised from the dead just as a character can be, and it does not lose a level or Constitution point when this occurs. A character with more than one class that grants a familiar may only have one familiar at a time.

Stitched Flesh Familiars are chosen the same way as normal familiars (See page 52 of the Player’s Handbook 3.5) However, they differ in several ways. A stitched flesh familiar uses the basic statistics for a creature of its kind, as given in the Monster Manual, except as noted below.

Hit Dice: A stitched flesh familiar has a d12 Hit Die and gains no bonus hit points from Constitution (since it is an undead creature). For effects that depend upon Hit Dice, use the master’s character level or the familiar’s normal Hit Dice total, whichever is higher.
Hit Points: Use 1/2 the master’s total or the familiar’s normal total, whichever is higher.
Attacks: Use the master’s base attack bonus or the familiar’s, whichever is higher.
Saving Throws: For each saving throw, use either the familiar’s base save bonus or the master’s (as calculated from his character level), whichever is higher.
Familiar Special Abilities: Use the second table in the Familiars sidebar on page 53 of the Player’s Handbook to determine additional abilities, just as you would for a normal familiar. Stitched flesh familiars do not grant their masters any of the benefits that appear on the first table in that sidebar. Instead of the noted special ability, a stitched flesh familiar grants its master the ability to control 4 more Hit Dice of undead than he is normally capable of controlling (both through the rebuke undead ability and through spells such as animate dead).

Necromantic Engineering: The necromancer receives a very select variety of feats or abilities as he progresses in level. At Level 1, the balance necromancer must select a Discipline (see below). From then on, every time he receives Necromantic Engineering, he must receive an ability only from that discipline.

Bolstering Discipline (As Feat)(Select One; Must meet prerequisites)
Corpsecrafter (LM)
Bolster Resistance (LM)
Deadly Chill (LM)
Destruction Retribution (LM)
Hardened Flesh (LM)
Nimble Bones (LM)
Profane Vigor (LM)
Necromantic Presence (LM)
Necromantic Might (LM)
Augment Summoning

Rebuking Discipline (As Feats)(Select One; Must meet prerequisites)
Improved Turning
Extra Turning
Quicken Turning (LM)
Undead Leadership
Divine Accuracy (LM)
Fell Animate (LM)
Spell Penetration
Extend Spell
Greater Spell Penetration

Prowess Discipline (Select One; Must meet level prerequisite)
Necromantic Prowess (Ex): Beginning at the 2nd level, a balance necromancer can choose to learn to channel negative energies more effectively. When he or she rebukes undead, casts a necromancy spell, or uses a spell-like ability that mimics a necromancy spell, her effective caster level increases. The bonus is +1 at 2nd level, +2 at 6th level, +3 at 9th level, and +4 at 12th level and higher.
Turn Undead(Su): Beginning at the 2nd level, a balance necromancer can choose to learn to turn undead as well as rebuke them. The balance necromancer does not gain separate amounts of turns and rebukes per day- turns and rebukes both deplete the balance necromancer’s turns per day. This ability is exceedingly useful if a necromancer is already controlling his maximum allotment of undead.
Negative Energy Affinity:: Beginning at 5th level, a balance necromancer can choose this ability to add all of the Inflict spells to or her class spell list. The balance necromancer does not automatically know these spells, and must learn them like any other spell. All of the Inflict spells take up a spell slot one level higher than normal. A Balance necromancer can only cast a single Inflict spell of each level per day.
Positive Energy Affinity: Beginning at 5th level, a balance necromancer can choose this ability to add all of the Cure spells to or her class spell list. The balance necromancer does not automatically know these spells, and must learn them like any other spell. All of the Cure spells take up a spell slot one level higher than normal. A Balance necromancer can only cast a single Cure spell of each level per day.
Negative Energy Burst (Su) : Beginning at 8th level, a balance necromancer can gain the ability to emit a burst of negative energy from her body, harming living creatures within 5 feet of her. This burst deals 1d4 points of damage per class level. A successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 her class level + Cha modifier) reduces damage by half. Undead creatures within this burst are healed the same amount of hit points as the damage she deals to living creatures. A balance necromancer can use this ability once per day at 8th level, and one additional time per day for every five levels she attains beyond 8th (2/day at 13th level, 3/day at 18th level)
Positive Energy Burst (Su) : Beginning at 8th level balance necromancer can gain the following ability: As a full-round action, a 8th level balance necromancer can choose to spend two turning attempts to create a positive energy burst. This energy deals 5d6 points of damage to all undead creatures within a 30-foot-radius burst centered on the balance necromancer. A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + (½balance necromancer’s class level) + balance necromancer’s Cha modifier) halves this damage.
Brilliance: Beginning at 8th level, a balance necromancer can choose this ability in order to cast the following spells once per day: 1 light, 3 daylight, 4 searing light, 7 sunbeam, 8 sunburst. Each of these spells use up a spell per day for their appropriate level (or a higher level), and a balance necromancer cannot cast these spells if he has used up all of his spells per day.
Emptiness: Beginning at 8th level, a balance necromancer can choose this ability in order to cast the following spells once per day: 1 darkness, 3 deeper darkness, 4 armor of darkness(FR), 7 power word: blind, 8 utterdark (BVD, but instead of evil creatures being able to see through it, only undead and the caster can see through it.) Each of these spells use up a spell per day for their appropriate level (or a higher level), and a balance necromancer cannot cast these spells if he has used up all of his spells per day.
Indiscriminate: A balance necromancer does not regard his or her ability to raise dead to be good or evil, and thus he is able to create both good and evil effects in relation to undead without ever having to be good or evil himself. Beginning at level 11, he or she can gain the ability to cast the following spells once per day: Bless Water or Curse Water, Consecrate or Desecrate, Magic Circle against Evil or Magic Circle Against Good, Hallow or Unhallow, Blasphemy or Holy Word, Holy Aura or Unholy Aura. Each of these spells use up a spell per day for their appropriate level (or a higher level), and a balance necromancer cannot cast these spells if he has used up all of his spells per day.
Empathy(Su): At level 14, a balance necromancer can choose to take this ability. If he does so, he is no longer perceived as living by undead, and is instead as being undead himself. No other creatures perceive the balance necromancer to be undead. He or she is not effected by spells that affect undead, but this does not dispel the fact that undead regard him or her as undead.

Necromantic Construction: The Necromancer, like all spell casters, is capable of making constructs. However, the Necromancer specializes particularly well with the following constructs:
Grave Dirt Golem (LM)
Tombstone Golem (LM)
Dragonflesh Golem
Flesh Golem
Gloom Golem
Cadaver golem (HH)
When creating these golems, a Necromancer expends only 2/3 of the listed experience, and gains a +2 bonus to all necessary checks. The Necromancer can also make golems such as the Gloom Golem without meeting the prerequisite of being evil.

Rebuke Undead (Su): A balance necromancer can rebuke(and command, bolster, etc) undead as an evil cleric. The Balance necromancer does not gain any other clerical abilities such as spontaneous cure or pain spells. A Balance necromancer may attempt to turn undead a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. A Balance necromancer with 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (nature) gains a +2 on turning checks against undead (instead of the typical Knowledge(religion) giving a +2 bonus to turning checks)

Spells: A balance necromancer casts divine spells, even though his or her power comes from no specific god. The Necromancer channels negative and positive energy to form his or her spells, much like evil and good clerics channel negative and positive energy in order to turn or rebuke undead. The Balance necromancer has a very limited selection of spells but he or she is able to cast these spells without preparing them before hand.
To learn or cast a spell, a Necromancer must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a sorcerer’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the sorcerer’s Charisma modifier. A balance necromancer can relearn spells like a sorcerer.
The spells per day table lists only the base number of spells that a balance necromancer gets per day. In addition to this, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score (see page 8 of the PHB 3.5)

Spell List:
0 Level Spells
Read Magic
Detect Magic
Detect Poison
Disrupt Undead
Dancing Lights
1st Level Spells
Detect Undead
Disguise Self
Protection from Evil
Hide from Undead
Summon Undead I
2nd Level Spells
Spawn Screen
Ghost Touch Armor
Gentle Repose
Command Undead
Restoration, Lesser
Summon Undead II
3rd Level Spells
Speak with Dead
Incorporeal Enhancement
Protection from Negative Energy
Animate Dead
Rigor Mortis
Enhance Familiar (CA)
Corpse Candle (CA)
Summon Undead III
4th Level Spells
Fortify Familiar(CA)
Repair Critical Damage (CA)
Halt Undead
Ghost Touch Weapon
Undead Bane Weapon
Summon Undead IV
5th Level Spells
Raise Dead
Slay Living
Incorporeal Nova
Disrupting Weapon
Revive Undead
Summon Undead V
6th Level Spells
Ghost Trap (LM)
Undeath to Death
Awaken Undead
Create Undead
Summon Undead VI
7th Level Spells
Restoration, Greater
Finger of Death
Spark of Life
Control Undead
Summon Undead VII
8th Level Spells
Restoration, Mass
Veil of Undeath
Create Greater Undead
Ghost Form
Summon Undead VIII
9th Level Spells
True Resurrection
Wail of the Banshee
Plague of Undeath
Summon Undead IX

Channel Energy (Sp):
A balance necromancer can channel positive and negative energy to greater effects then just simple spells and cantrips. Beginning at level 1 and every 2 levels thereafter, the necromancer can choose one of the Channels below to memorize. A necromancer can never have 2 more positive energy channels than negative energy channels, or vice versa. These channels only effect minions directly under the balance necromancer’s control, and immediately fade when the minion is no longer under the necromancer’s control. Although abjuration channels are composed of positive energy, they deal no damage to the undead they are used on. Similarly, the necromantic channels do not heal the undead they are used on.

Positive Energy:
Channel Hide Abjuration: Gives a natural armor bonus to all undead minions.
Channel Vigor Abjuration: Gives a bonus to all saves.
Channel Holy Abjuration: Gives damage reduction against light, holy water, and other attacks that specifically damage undead.
Channel Good Abjuration: Gives damage reduction against attacks that specifically target evil creatures.
Channel Agile Abjuration: Bonus on Hide and Move Silently.
Channel Muscular Abjuration: Bonus on Strength checks and Strength-based skill checks.

Negative Energy:
Channel Necromantic Life: Heals damage per round.
Channel Necromantic Resilience: Give bonus to resist turning/rebuking.
Channel Necromantic Cunning: Bonus on Disguise, Bluff and Intimidate checks.
Channel Necromantic Fury: Bonus to damage rolls when charging.
Channel Necromantic Speed: bonus (x 5 feet) to charging speed (not base speed)
Channel Necromantic Spite: bonus to damage rolls when flanking.

The necromancer can begin any channel that he or she has memorized by sacrificing a spell per day. The bonus mentioned given to the Channel is the level of the sacrificed spell, and the duration of the channel is for a number of rounds equal to the necromancer’s charisma modifier. All undead minions under current control of the necromancer gain these abilities.

Level Monsters
1 Skeleton, Medium; Zombie, Small
2 Skeleton, Large; Zombie, Medium
3 Ghoul; Skeleton, Huge; Zombie, Large
4 Allip; Ghast; Zombie, Huge
5 Mummy; Shadow; Vampire spawn; Revived Fossil, Medium(LM)
6 Entomber(LM); Spectre; Revived Fossil, Large(LM)
7 Mohrg; Skirr (LM); Revived Fossil, Huge(LM)
8 Hulking Corpse(LM); Slaughter Wight(LM); Visage(LM)
9 Charnel Hound(MM3); Deathshrieker(MM3)

Summon Undead works just like Summon Monster, only you summon from the list above. Summoned undead do not count toward the total HD of undead that you can control with animate dead or the other command undead abilities.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Stitched Flesh Familiar
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Necromantic Engineering, Channel Energy
3 +2 +1 +1 +3
4 +3 +1 +1 +4 Channel Energy
5 +3 +1 +1 +4 Necromantic Engineering
6 +4 +2 +2 +5 Channel Energy
7 +5 +2 +2 +5
8 +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Necromantic Engineering, Channel Energy
9 +6/+1 +3 +3 +6
10 +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Channel Energy
11 +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Necromantic Engineering
12 +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Channel Energy
13 +9/+4 +4 +4 +8
14 +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Necromantic Engineering, Channel Energy
15 +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9
16 +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Channel Energy
17 +12/+7+2 +5 +5 +10 Necromantic Engineering
18 +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Channel Energy
19 +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11
20 +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Necromantic Engineering

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

Spells Per Day:
Level Can. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 5 0 - - - - - - - -
2 6 3 - - - - - - - -
3 6 4 0 - - - - - - -
4 6 5 3 - - - - - - -
5 6 6 4 0 - - - - - -
6 6 6 5 3 - - - - - -
7 6 6 6 4 0 - - - - -
8 6 6 6 5 3 - - - - -
9 6 6 6 6 4 0 - - - -
10 6 6 6 6 5 3 - - - -
11 6 6 6 6 6 4 0 - - -
12 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 - - -
13 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 0 - -
14 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 - -
15 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 0 -
16 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 -
17 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 0
18 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
19 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
20 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

mabriss lethe
2007-01-19, 11:11 PM
If you haven't done so already, Check out the Dread Necromancer Class in Heroes of Horror. It's pretty close in flavor to what you have here. The content takes off in a different direction But....

The only thing I worry about when I look at this is that you might have accidentally crippled the class in an effort to balance it out. My best advice is to give it a thorough batch of playtesting and don't be afraid to boost the the d4 HP to a d6 or so.

If it seems too powerful after play testing, you might want to cull through some of the class features and pick out the best of the bunch to focus on.

2007-01-20, 10:51 AM
Hehehe, I know what you mean. Yes, I saw the dread necromancer, but I had no interest in it. I wanted a class that vaguely resembled the necromancer from Diablo 2 and specialized in what everyone thinks of necromancers as doing- raising undead, bolstering undead, and, if necessary, fighting undead. An entire undead specialist.

I have considered adding all of the cure and inflict spells to its spell list, simply because those are all forms of positive and negative energy. The only problem with this is that its deeply ingrained in the nature of the character to be sorcerous- so it would be able to spontaneously cast inflict and cure spells, which is totally impeding on the cleric's forte. Hense, I had to make it a class feature, and reduce its useage.

Although in retrospect, it will add variety, because the necromancer will have to decide whether or not to use the inflict spells, or to bolster and otherwise augument his undead with his spells per day... What do you think?

I really like your point about the d6 health though...