View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Wizard Variant Class: Unholy Necromancer

2018-06-08, 09:50 PM

"The Blackest Night falls from the skies, The darkness grows as all light dies, We crave your hearts and your demise, By my black hand The dead shall rise!"  Black Hand

It is a known fact that necromancy is considered a poor choice of specialization for arcane spellcasters. While there is power to be found in the school's ability to curse and enervate foes, those seeking to raise hoards of undead almost always pursue divine means. However, for some arcane necromancers the allure of controlling a massive legion of completely obedient minions proves too great to resist. While most of these necromancers take up clerical training, becoming either Mystic Theruges or True Necromancers devoted to a deity of undeath, there remain a stubborn few who wish to have such power without becoming somebody's servant.

These necromancers supplement their arcane experiments with research into the divine, eschewing more traditional lines of study to learn to emulate abilities normally granted by the Gods. Such necromancers are consummate villains, focusing their efforts on animating massive undead legions to an obsessive degree. Due to their all-consuming egomania and desire to be servant to none, these Unholy Necromancers are reviled and feared as enemies of the natural order and the Gods themselves. As a result, they often hide their selfish allegiance from the public, masquerading as Archivists, or as Dead Necromancers or True Necromancers in more decadent civilizations. However, while their egomania alienates them from the Gods, it endears them to others who call the Gods their enemies; Unholy Necromancers often make fast friends of Ur-Priests and other depraved individuals who disdain the divine.

Class Features

All changes to the class features of the base Wizard, as well as new features and the old ones they replace, are detailed below:

Alignment: As one who has devoted themselves wholly to the mastery of evil powers and undead control, the Unholy Necromancer has since given up any sense of morality she once possessed. A wizard must be of an evil alignment to take this variant class.

Class Skills: Unlike other wizards, the Unholy Necromancer focuses less on pure academics and instead learns skills that will aid her in her necromantic practices. The Unholy Necromancer's class skill list does not include all Knowledge skills. Instead, they replace them with the following class skills: Bluff (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Knowledge (The Planes) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis)

Spells: The most important power the Unholy Necromancer learns is the ability to cast foul spells normally restricted to servants of the gods. The Unholy Necromancer adds all Necromancy and [evil] descriptor spells from the cleric spell lists to her Wizard spell list. If such a spell appears on both the Wizard spell list and Cleric spell list at different levels, she uses whichever level is lower. (So for example, Animate Dead is considered a 3rd level spell for an Unholy Necromancer since it appears on both the wizard list at 4th level and the cleric list at 3rd level.).

The Unholy Necromancer may learn these spells both as bonus spells from leveling up and from written sources such as divine spell scrolls, profane prayerbooks, hieroglyphics on a necropolis wall etc.. This is done in the exact same way she can add normal wizard spells from written sources to her spellbook, treating divine sources as arcane ones for this purpose. Cleric spells she has in her spellbook are prepared and cast in the exact same manner as her normal wizard spells and in all ways identical to them (including using intelligence for setting their DCs and counting as Arcane rather than divine). The Unholy Necromancer may use any scrolls, spell-trigger items and other magic items that cast spells added to her wizard spell list as a result of this variant class as if they where arcane magic items she could use normally. (So she would not need to make Use Magic Device checks to use such items)

However, this power does not come without sacrifice. Due to her refusal to bow to the Gods, the Unholy Necromancer eschews magics focused on dealing with them or their servants. The Unholy Necromancer removes from her Wizard spell list any spell that would allow her to contact a deity or another plane (such as Commune or Contact Other Plane) and all [Summoning] and [Calling] spells, except for those in the Summon Undead line and any that can summon undead (If it can be used to summon non-undead creatures as well, the Unholy Necromancer can only use it to summon undead). This restriction includes any [Summoning] or [Calling] spells added to her spell list from this variant class. She cannot learn or cast these removed spells under any circumstance, and must make Use Magic Device checks to use any scrolls, spell trigger items or other magic items that would let her cast one of these spells, as if such items where not ones she could use normally. Additionally, the Unholy necromancer prepares and casts any spell that allows her to travel to another plane (such as Plane Shift.) at a spell level 1 higher than it appears on her Wizard spell list normally.

Also, while the Unholy Necromancer focuses her studies on necromancy, she does so in a way that differs from traditional necromancy specialist wizards. She is considered a necromancy specialist wizard, but does not gain any of the benefits of being a specialist. (Such as extra spells/day or bonuses to scribing and identifying spells of the Necromancy school) However, the Unholy Necromancer also does not select any banned schools. If the Unholy Necromancer wishes, she may choose to "hyper-specialize," voluntarily banning two schools to gain the normal benefits of a school specialization in Necromancy. Only Unholy Necromancers who choose to "hyper-specialize" can qualify for the Master Specialist prestige class.

Bonus Feats: The Unholy Necromancer's depraved obsession with necromantic lore also limits the focus of her supplementary studies. Whenever she would gain a bonus feat from the wizard class, instead of selecting that feat from all metamagic and item creation feats, she selects that feat from the following list: Enervate Spell, Fell Animate, Fell Drain, Fell Frighten, Fell Weaken, Fearsome Necromancy, Spell Focus (Evil), Spell Focus (Necromancy), Greater Spell Focus (Necromancy), Necromantic Might, Necromantic Presence, all Corpsecrafter feats and all feats with the ability to rebuke undead or Spell Focus (Necromancy) as a prerequisite. (Including those that specify "turn or rebuke" as prerequisite, such as extra turning or improved turning, but not those that specify only "turn undead.")

Power Over Undead (Su): One of the most basic and fundamental powers the Unholy Necromancer learns is the ability emulate a Cleric's power to command the undead. At 1st level, she gains the ability to rebuke (and dominate) undead as an evil cleric of her character level a number of times per-day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier.

This feature replaces the Familiar feature of the Wizard class.

Spontaneous Conversion (Su): Also at 1st level, the Unholy Necromancer gains the ability to spontaneously cast Inflict spells as an evil cleric of her character level. Inflict spells she casts this way are considered arcane wizard spells for her and use her Intelligence modifier to calculate their save DCs as her standard wizard spells.

This feature replaces the Scribe Scroll bonus feat of the Wizard class.

Lord of the Dead (Su): Starting at 5th level, the Unholy Necromancer's dark power becomes such that she can martial undead armies larger than her peers. The Unholy Necromancer adds her Charisma modifier to the value she multiplies by her caster level to determine her maximum undead controlled with Animate Dead. (So, for example, if she could normally control 4 HD per caster level worth of undead, she instead could control 4 + her Charisma modifier per caster level.) Additionally, she doubles the amount of undead she can command with her rebuke undead feature. She also adds half her Charisma modifier as a bonus to her caster level when casting the spell Animate Dead (The effects of this feature applies to both the actual Animate Dead spell and spell like abilities that mimic Animate Dead.)

This feature replaces the 5th level bonus feat of the Wizard class.

Ex-Unholy Necromancer: Due to her obsession with her own personal power, the Unholy Necromancer refuses to kneel to anybody other than herself. A character cannot advance as a Unholy Necromancer if they take any feats or character options that requires them to submit themselves to an extraplanar or divine power (such as Evil Brand), or if they take one or more levels in a class or prestige class that would require them to do the same (such as Cleric or Thrall of Asmodeus) They may still accept jobs from divine and extraplanar powers and work on their behalf if it benefits their own personal goals, but if they ever swear fealty to such a power they cannot advance as a Unholy Necromancer.

So yeah. I kinda hate how clerics > wizards when it comes to undead minion-mastery, so I made this as a response to that. I have no idea how balanced it is, but the idea is you trade any blasting ability you have, as well as traditional "wizard-y" things like gaining a familiar and scribing scrolls for cleric-like power over undeath. Not sure how balanced this is, however, so any comments in that direction are welcome (though the balance point is tier 1, keep that in mind)

Silva Stormrage
2018-06-17, 09:00 PM
I mean I understand where you are coming from a bit but the solution shouldn't be "Make wizard's overpowered". You basically just removed Dread necromancers as a class since you gave Wizard's their best class feature at 5th instead of 8th AND you gave Wizard's rebuke undead.

This Variant is as written unbalanced since it now renders all other necromancy choices pointless.

If you want to make Wizards equal to Clerics at necromancy (They pretty much are already but thats another issue. The only thing they really lack is rebuke undead which needs to stay with Clerics for balance reasons) try to make them better necromancers in a unique fashion rather than grafting other necromancy features onto their already insane chasis.

Maybe look into Fell Drain or Fell Animate and allow them to create more undead than just zombies with Fell Animate allowing them to be better at temporarily animating undead.