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Thread: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    This post reserved for dirty tricks and combinations as well as example builds.

    Spellstitched, Desecration, and DMM: Tricks of the Trade


    Okay, this is the part you've all been waiting for... how to twist the RAW into neat looking pretzels and come out smelling very Gouda.

    1) Divine Metamagic and YOU!

    Okay, DMM is a lot of fun. You've even got more than the typical amount of rebuke attempts to fuel it. Only one problem: You're an arcane caster, and DMM can only be applied to Divine spells.

    The solution: Southern Magician. Has to be taken at 1st level, but basically it lets your spells count as divine, which means DMM Enabled! Does blow a feat, though.

    2) Spellstitched. There's a LOT of fun things you can do with this, as long as you don't have to do it yourself. Hire someone to do it to you. If you have a Stitched-Flesh familiar, you can spellstitch your familiar as well. Or at least get it spellstiched, since you still would rather pay GP. There's lots of fun things to have Spellstitched, Create Undead is probably the most fun. Component-free creation of undead. Sign me up!

    3) HP Stacking And *YOU*

    Undead don't get bonus hit points every hit die. That really sucks, considering they die when they hit 0 hp, and it's almost impossible to get them back (in the state they were in). Fortunately, there's a lot of ways you can pull this off. If you're setting yourself up for your Capstone, you can make sure all this is already in effect:

    * Caster has Corpsecrafter/Undead mastery. +2 HP/die
    * Created in a Desecrated + Alter area: +2 HP/HD

    That'll probably ramp up your survivability somewhat.

    4) UPS Man Lite!

    Fell Drain is a lot of fun. And by a lot I mean 'insta-gib any CR appropriate encounter'. But it's a +2 spell level adjustment, how ever shall we deal with it?

    Well, first off, we could always use Practical Metamagic with it, to reduce cost by 1. We could also get Metamagic School Focus for 3/day. We can also pick up a Slaymate, since you're going to be using it with something in the Necromancy college.

    Now, as far as what to use it with? Kelgore's Grave Mist. No save, no SR, deals damage in an area effect. Perfect for Fell Drain. Pick it up at 4th level with Advanced Learning. Your undead minions are immune to it, so friendly fire isn't much of a problem.

    5) Fell Animate + Destructive Retribution
    This is a cute little trick for making a bunch of walking bombs. Kind of feat intensive, but it works beautifully when you get it up and running. Again, I suggest Kelgore's Grave mist as the vehicle for this combination, particularly if you can throw in Fell Drain on top.

    6) Aura of Terror. This is the spell you pick up at 12th level. Or, if you went with Dread Witch to bust immunities, then you go Dread Necro 7/Dread Witch 5/Dread Necro x. Why? Because Aura of Terror increases your Fear Aura by 10'. That triples the radius! And it increases the fear from Shaken to Frightened. Now we tack on... Fell Frighten... and everything is starting to be Panicked. And the DC stacking is pretty nice too.

    7) Bardic Music + Requiem + Lots of Undead Minions = Profit!
    The Requiem feat lets Bardic Music affect undead. We all know how well IC/DFI optimization can go. If you find a bard, make sure to bring him back as something that retains class abilities. Animate Dread Warrior, for example, I believe retains class abilities (Advanced Learning is so much fun). I'm sure there are others.

    8) Slaymates: The perfect companion
    Get one. It doesn't matter what you have to do. Call up Pazuzu and ask for a candle to wish for one, if you must. Scour the lands far and wide. When you get one, Command the hell out of it. Keep it with you always. Guard it well. It's a free -1 level adjustment metamagic reducer. And it doesn't limit you to a minimum of +1. That's right, this, combined with Practical Metamagic, lets you cast Fell Drain or Fell Frighten with no level adjustment at all!

    9) Black Lore of Moil. Deals sub-par damage with any necromancy spell. So why bother? Because you need a damage component to tack on Fell x feats. For, let's say, Aura of Terror shenanigans. However, it also lets pretty much any Necromancy spell deal at least one negative level in addition to whatever else it does through Fell Drain.

    Advanced Learning: Special Topics for the Dedicated Necromancer
    Advanced Learning is one of the reasons Dread Necro is more than 8 levels long. Allow me to provide a list and brief reasons what spells are good to go with this:

    4th level: You can pick up a 2nd level spell at this level. Here's some suggestions:

    * Kelgore's Grave Mist (PhB II) - Quite simply, it's no save no sr damage that you can Fell X stack. This is how you get automatic negative level output by level 4.

    * Death Armor (SpC) - Fairly sub-par, but some Gish builds might like the idea of making opponents hurt themselves by attacking you.

    * Ghoul Glyph (SpC) - Now this one is a lot of fun, however it isn't as fun as you might think. You see the Casting Time: 1 Minute? Yea, that puts a damper on things. Fortunately, the duration is Permanent Until Discharged. Unfortunately, if they move more than 5', then the glyphs fade, so you can't pull the same trick you do with Explosive Runes, and you can't use a Bouncing Ball of Symbol of Insanity (Mad props to ya, Xykon). It's good for preparing an ambush, but don't expect to be able to use it in combat effectively, and probably not worth your Advanced Learning slot.

    So of these spells, Kelgore's Grave Mist is your option if you plan on (ab)using Fell X, but Death Armor is an option for those dedicated gish builds who want to mix it up in melee.

    8th level:
    You can pick up a spell up to 4th level here. There's some good options. Also, if you enter a PrC before 8th, make sure you pick up at least +4 CL before returning to pick up the 8th level so you can get higher level spells from it.

    * Shivering Touch (Frostburn) - 3d6 Dex damage on a touch attack, what's not to like?

    * Crown of the Grave (PhB II) - Not worth it. Big ol' trap. You've got much better ways of Commanding Undead. Hey, wasn't there a spell with that name somewhere? As a lower level spell? That you get in-house? Pass.

    * Doom Scarabs (PhB II) - Another decent way of applying Fell X, since it ignores SR. Will save for half, so Evasion won't protect you. Mettle will, though, so be careful of Crusaders.

    * Incorporeal Enhancement (SpC) - If you really like incorporeal undead, it is a 24 hour buff, and it has a number of targets equal to caster level. If you've gone for Master of Shrouds, or if you just like incorporeal undead, this might be fun to play with, but only for certain specific builds focusing on incorporeal minions.

    * Undead Lieutenant (SpC) - Not bad for Minionmancers. You can control more undead this way.

    *Undead Torch (SpC) - It's not bad, I suppose. The duration sucks, so you'd probably want to find a way to Persist it, but it's another way to stack a bit more damage onto your undead horde. 2d6 is crap by itself, but 2d6* (number of corporeal minions you happen to have) might be worthwhile. Do keep in mind that if you are a corporeal undead, you can buff yourself with this, making it viable for gish types.

    * Burning Blood (SpC) - While a bit underwhelming, it might be fun if you can Chain it. If the target can't make it's saves regularly, it's an effective Save or Lose. Any round it fails the save, it can't attack, and takes 1d6 Fire and 1d6 acid damage. Good single-target debuff if your DC's are significantly better than the target's Fort saves.

    * Rebuking Breath (SpC) - It's a trap. You don't have a breath weapon. Even if you did, you still have better ways of Rebuke/Commanding undead.

    So, you've got some fun options, depending on your play style.

    12th level: This is where it gets fun.

    * Aura of Terror (SpC) - Increases your already present Fear Aura by 10' (to a total of 15', effectively tripling your radius), increases fear from Shaken to Frightened, *AND* increases the DC of the save. Hey, I like the way you think! Even more fun if you Persist and Fell X stack it.

    * Animate Dread Warrior (UE) - For those minionmancers who prefer quality over quantity. This is one of those spells that makes your minions go from 'disposable minions' to 'better than the party tank'. Spellstich it if you really want to get cheesy.

    * Graymantle (SpC) - Well... suppressing Regeneration is useful if you are wanting to take down Big T, because then anything will kill him until the spell wears off. Getting it to stick might be hard without Tainted Sorcerer tricks, but hey... if that's where ya want to go, then go there.

    * Fleshshiver (SpC) - CL boosting methods (Tainted) can make this single-target No-Save-Just-Lose. Stunned (hard to be immune to), then Nauseated after that. Best served with Chain Spell.

    * Imperious Glare (SpC) - Depends on if your Fear Aura counts as a Frightful Presence or not. If that flies, then this makes imperious Command look like a pansy, because it's a large number of targets, so no need to bother with Never Outnumbered or the feat investment of Imperious Command. Otherwise, you may have to blow feats to get a Frightful Presence, which still comes out ahead of Imperious Command by virtue of having a longer duration (1 round/level rather than 1 round) and larger number of targets.

    * Revive Undead (SpC) - Because sometimes it's easier to revive your valued lieutenant rather than hunt another one up

    16th level: Okay, now you're cookin'. This nets you up to an 8th level spell, or even a 9th if you PrC'd out somewhere for a couple of spell levels. Do keep in mind that you can pick up one from the previous list if you're wanting both Animate Dread Warrior *AND* Aura of Terror.

    * Awaken Undead (SpC) - Well, if you want a lieutenant, sometimes you have to make one

    * Barghest’s Feast (SpC) - When you really, *REALLY* want someone gone for good.

    * Evil Glare (SpC) - Paralysis is a fun status effect to pass out, although by now it's a bit underwhelming. Still, with Dread Witch, you can bypass immunities, so it isn't so bad.

    * Avasculate (SpC) - Because sometimes, you just want to do damage. Stunning is also fun. But really, there's stronger things to do.

    * Kiss of the Vampire (SpC) - you can already do most of this better already. It's a trap.

    * Skeletal Guard (SpC) - So wait... I get to do the same thing I was doing with Fell Animate Kelgore's Grave Mist some ten levels ago... only now it costs me a ton of onyx? Okay, maybe if you had some Cleric who loved turning the heck out of your minions, it might be nice (turn resistance equal to CL-1), but otherwise... definitely pass.

    * Veil of Undeath - You are already undead at this point. Pass.

    * Bestow Curse, Greater - On first glance, my question was 'why bother with a 3rd level spell?' Then I actually read it. One stat is reduced to 1 = Shut down casters instantly. -8 on pretty much everything. It's a great way to drop saves. Duration = Permanent. You need a Wish or Miracle to get rid of it. And you're used to using Spectral Hand to deliver touch attacks anyways. Not bad, actually.



    Move Your Dead Bones: Build Examples


    The Scarecrow
    Illumian Dread Necro 7/Dread Witch 5/Dread Necro 8

    Feats: Extend Spell, Persist Spell, Fell Frighten, Black Lore of Moil, Arcane Disciple (Pride)

    Toys: Slaymate. Metamagic Rod of Fell Drain makes this even more amusing

    Trick: Pick up Aura of Terror. Use NaenHoon to Persist it. Black Lore of Moil deals negative energy damage that very few things are immune to, which lets you Fell Frighten which increases fear level to Panicked, or Shaken even on a successful save. Here's the fun part... Fell Frighten stacks with itself, so you can easily lock down entire battlefields with Fell Frighten Kelgore's Grave mist. Oh, and Lord of the uttercold means half the damage it is doing is negative energy.

    You now are a walking 15' radius of lockdown that bypasses immunities to Fear, thanks to Dread Witch. If you have Metamagic Rod of Fell Drain, you also deal negative levels to opponents in the area as well. Your undead minions, of course, could care less about negative levels.

    Black Lore of Moil causes any necromancy spell to deal damage, which enables Fell Frighten. There isn't a way to bust immunities, such as there is for Cold or Fire based damage, but very few things are immune to negative energy damage. Most of them being either Undead (which you simply turn into your personal flying monkey via Command Undead), or Constructs (which might be a problem if you weren't a Gish build with effective full BAB).

    Oh, he's got one more use of NaenHoon. So let's go ahead and Persist Divine Power while we're at it. Now we're a full BAB gish that loses only a single caster level.

    Basically, he tells Takahashi to go cry in a corner. He doesn't need to expend any actions to force opponents to make a Will save or Panicked, and if they can't run, they Cower. Oh, and before you call the build a one-trick pony, remember he's still got 9th level spells available to him. Sure, he's got a strong trick, but that's not all he can do, and more importantly, he can ignore immunities.

    Minonmancer

    Human Dread Necromancer 10/Pale Master 10

    Feats: Fell Animate, Fell Drain, Skill Focus: Religion, Metamagic School Focus (Necromancy), Corpsecrafter, Explosive Retribution, Profane Lifeleech, Nimble Bones

    The tricsk:

    1) Profane Lifeleech cannot reduce opponent's hit points below 0. So, drain 'em down to 1 (you'll know when you stop getting hit points from them), then send in the Fell Animate Kelgore's Grave Mist. Instant minions, no onyx required.

    2) Hey, I got me a Bard! Pale Master is widely seen as a sub-par PrC. And... I'd really agree with that assessment. However, it *DOES* give you an Undead Cohort, since most GM's ban Leadership or Undead Leadership. And you get to make your Cohort. So I'd suggest you nip on over to the IC/DFI optimization thread to consult when making your new best friend and lieutenant. Because even 1hd zombies become scary when a proper Bard/Warchanter boosts the heck out of 'em.

    3) Explosive Disposable Minions! Who cares if they die off in droves? You can make more for free, and they blow up when they die, doing (1+1/2HD)d6 negative energy damage to everything within a 10' spread. including your other pets. Including yourself. Oh, wait... you and your pets HEAL from negative energy damage, so... bonus. So go ahead, and let the paladin wade through your minions. He'll run out of hit points before you run out of minions. Then just stop by the next village to stock up again.

    4) Breaking the HD Cap.
    Now, being as you are a Dread Necro 10, you already have a higher HD cap than most 20th level Clerics, since you get to multiply your Charisma mod in there. However, the capstone ability of Pale Master means you also get to break the HD cap in a couple other ways. First off, there's no HD limitation on how big a critter you can bring back with your capstone ability. So if you find a way to actually kill Big T, you can theoretically turn him into a zombie. And zombies acquired this way don't count against your HD cap. Granted, zombies normally aren't all that powerful. But hey, 20something HD zombies at least have a metric ton of hit points. At least the ones you create do. And when you combine that with the Bard's stuff... ouch. And if they DO somehow manage to take it down, well... remember, Destructive Retribution doesn't have a cap either. So if they DO manage to kill your Zombie 12 headed Hydra (for the extra bites per turn), they take an extra 7d6 negative energy damage, just for having killed it.

    Some fun critters to do this with:

    Hydras: Lots of attacks are fun when combined with DFI

    Leopard: 3hd, so you can have a LOT of them. Pouncing for 5 attacks (bite + 2x claw + 2x Rake) means a LOT of DFI application

    Enervationist
    Human Dread Necro 20

    Feats: Split Ray, Empower, Black Lore of Moil, Arcane Thesis (Enervation), Fell Drain, Rapid Metamagic, Quicken Spell, Practical Metamagic (Quicken)

    Tactic: Enervation is a lot of fun. A Split-Ray Empowered Enervation is a lot more fun. A split-ray Empowered Fell Drain Enervation is... well, you get the point. We're doing metamagic stacking in the worst way here. With a Slaymate, it's going to be pathetically easy. Split Ray is a +2. Well, Arcane Thesis knocks one off, and Slaymate knocks the other one off. Same with Empower and same with Fell Drain. And, of course, in addition to doing negative levels, it's also doing a bit of negative energy damage, thanks to Black Lore of Moil. Wait, what's that? Oh, Quicken would like to announce that it will balance out that -1 level adjustment modifier that Black Lore of Moil provides, so you can quicken without spending a higher level slot.

    So now you apply everything for sick negative level generation at almost no cost to you.

    Priest of the Damned

    Human Cleric1/Dread Necro8/UrPriest2/True Necro9

    Ever got the urge to theurge? This is the way to do it right. Mind you, make sure to advance UrPriest with True Necro for 9's on the divine side. You sucked up too many other levels to get away with 9's on the arcane side, but that's okay, there wasn't a whole lot of love for a Dread Necromancer's 9th level spells.

    What do you get? More turn attempts than you can shake a Metamagic Rod at. You gotta take the Cleric dip for the Death domain. There just doesn't seem to be any other way 'round it. And Ur-Priest? Well, who doesn't like getting 9th level spells over 10 levels?

    So you've got 9th level Divine spells, if you delay your Dread Necro 8 until you get 6th level spells, you can pick up something fun that you might otherwise miss out on. You can persist the hell out of a LOT, probably half your UrPriest spells are gonna be persisted buffs. But you'll still have a Desecrate aura, Unhallow on your list, Blasphemy which can be Divine Spellpower augmented to INSANE levels to insta-gib just about anything, and in general, you generally go to bed with more spells than most casters wake up with in the morning.

    I'm sure you can come up with more
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