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    Default Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    The Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook
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    No, not him

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    Oops, wrong Necromancer

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    There we go, much better.

    So You Want To Be A Necromancer

    The class is a solid Tier 3 class, with several different types of tricks available to them, if you so wish.

    I also think there's a *lot* of misunderstandings about the class. No, not about the 'undead aren't inherently evil, you could save orphans with them' nonsense. I'm talking about rules and mechanical misunderstandings, what they qualify for, and so forth.

    This is not a class for the faint of heart. This is not for 'evil lite', who drink Tab, and casually try to take over the world every Friday by employing boy-band pop music to either mind-control or drive insane the majority of the population.

    This is Evil Ultra. This is for those who sank to the deep end of the alignment pool... and loved it. This is for those depraved individuals who wish to truly plumb the depths of evil, and find out what prize you get at the bottom of the crackerjack box. This is for those who traded off their last chance of redemption for a random bonus on a fairly minor ability, simply because you were at least getting something for nothing. Although we're still not dealing with the 'talking in a movie' crowd. After all, even Dread Necromancers have their standards. However, a split-ray empowered Enervation tends to take care of those annoying people fairly well. And hey, after a few centuries, when you're tired of torturing them, you can grant their desperate plea to finally die again... maybe.

    Grave Soil and Onyx: What do they do?
    Pros:
    * Spellcasting, up to 9th level spells, with some good options.
    * Lots of good innate abilities. Like the monk, we have something at every level. Unlike the monk, it actually helps.
    * Minions. Really, this one word sums up why most people play the class.
    * Single Attribute Dependent. Charisma is pretty much the only stat you *have* to get up there. Literally everything else can suffer.
    * Auto-casting off of your spell list. Like the Beguiler and Warmage, you can cast any spell on your spell list. This means things like Arcane Disciple are a much better deal for you.
    * Decent capstone. You get a LA +4 template for free. That's actually really huge. If you can still get it by this point, anyways.

    Cons:
    * Specialized field of interest. If it isn't necromancy, odds are you aren't doing it. And if it's immune to fear/negative levels, and not something you can simply command to sit down and obey, then you're probably not going to do a whole lot to it.
    * Poor BAB. Okay, you're probably not going to want to beat on things, but if you do, you won't be good at it unless you use tricks (see below)
    * Feat Starved. Most of the combos you want to pull off involve heavy feat investment.

    So basically... they have several synergistic abilities which complement each other within the overall niche. However, they have very limited ability outside that niche, and find it difficult to affect much which is immune to their shtick.

    Party roles

    * Nerf Bat. Negative levels suck. So does Fear. You've got a lot of ways of applying both to opponents to make them trivial encounters for your party
    * Disposable minions. Is there anything they can't solve? Seriously, if you can't figure out how to use disposable minions to overcome nearly any obstacle... well, that advice is covered later in the guide.
    * Damage Output. Depending on your minions, you might have some sick damage output. Command an undead Bard, and you've got the makings of some truly hideously sick damage output. Even without that, if your GM throws an Ubercharger at you... well, now YOU have an ubercharger as your new minion. It's really that simple.
    * Battlefield Control. Few things like taking AoO's. Having strategically placed disposable minions can make wading through a battlefield very annoying for opponents. Also, you do get other battlefield control abilities, as described later.
    * Healbot. If your whole party is undead or picked up a feat to heal from negative energy, you can provide unlimited out of combat healing, and sub-par in combat healing that also hurts opponents. It requires the whole party working together to get this to work, but it can.

    Class Abilities

    * Rebuke Undead. This is one of your bread-and-butter abilities.
    -- this bears mentioning right now: Barring tricks (described below), Dread Necromancers can not Divine Metamagic because they are an Arcane caster class. Yes, there's a way to activate it, but you don't get it 'out of the box'.

    * Charnel Touch. Effective unlimited healing for your pets and for yourself if you pick up the feat or happen to be something like Necropolitian.

    * Lich Body. Bludgeoning AND magic is not a common combination. And it comes early enough to be useful. Not that you should be getting close enough to be eating attacks, but hey, it never hurts.

    * Negative Energy Burst.
    Heal yourself and your pet. Hurt opponents at the same time. Not the worst thing to do with an action. The fact that it scales with level, and no cap, is a good thing.

    * Advanced Learning. I have a whole section devoted to this below. Yes, it's worth that much.

    * Fear Aura. It is either minor, or huge, depending on how much you work with it. See below for optimization tricks.

    * Scabrous Touch.
    Meh. Stat damage is fun, don't get me wrong, but 1/day Contagion, which you can pick up as a spell you can cast, if you wanted to waste a slot on it? Oh well, it's still instant stat damage if something ticks you off.

    * Summon Familiar. Even without blowing a feat on a Stitched-Flesh familiar, the choices are very nice.

    * Undead Mastery.
    It rather cramps your style that it won't stack with Corpsecrafter, which you still have to pick up to get the rest of the feat chain, but hey... throwing your Charisma bonus into the calculation for Control Cap? Made of Win no matter how you look at it.

    * Negative Energy Resistance. The only truly worthless ability you get, since by now, you are healing from negative energy.

    * Fortification.
    If you aren't undead, it's not bad. I guess.

    * Enervating Touch.
    Hey, more negative levels to throw at opponents!

    * Craft Wonderous Item/Litch. This is your capstone. Enjoy. Unless you are already Undead (Necropolitian), in which case, you simply PrC out at some point, since it is worthless to you.

    Stats:
    Str: For most builds, this can be safely dumped. If you're building a Gish, you might want it, but that's about all you care about this.

    Dex: Well, I suppose extra bonus on ranged touch attacks is nice

    Con: This is one of the few classes that can safely dump Con, since you plan on going undead anyways.

    Int: Skill points are nice, but the only real point is for qualifying for PrC's. You're not a skillmonkey, and you shouldn't try to pretend that you are.

    Wis: Can be a dump stat, since you already have good Will saves.

    Cha: The only stat you truly need to worry about.

    Skills:
    You aren't a skillmonkey, pretending to be one is going to only complicate your life.

    Spellcraft: D'uh.

    Knowledge (Religion): gives a synergy bonus to your pet production

    Concentration: Casting on the defensive

    Anything else: optional.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-05 at 07:19 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
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    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Ghoul Flesh and stitching: Building your Necromancer

    Races
    In general, races mean less to a Dread Necromancer, because of your lack of stat dependency. If it gives you Charisma, go for it. Otherwise... bonus feats are definitely good.

    Strongheart Halfling - Bonus feat is good. Boost to Dex for ranged touch attacks, boost to AC and all attack rolls from being Small. You lose nothing, really.

    Human - Bonus feats are good. Bonus skill is nice if you are dumping Int.

    Azurin - if you're dipping into Incarnum, it can be very good, otherwise it's still okay.

    Spellscale - Charisma bonus... check. Metamagic fun times... check (sorta). It's not bad.

    Star Elf - Charisma bonus. That's something, anyways.

    Assimar - LA is bad, mmmkay? There's the 'lesser assimar' version, which can be useful, if your GM permits.

    Kobold - Depends on how cheese-tolerant your group is. Dragonwrought can be powerful, but Loredrake explicitly calls out Sorcerer levels, not just spontaneous caster levels, which puts a damper on things. Still, Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold = +3 to all mental stats, including Charisma, for no loss.

    Illumians - This can let you persist two spells per day without needing to work on bypasses and workarounds with Persist, but beware the flying DMG's.



    Templates

    Your problem with templates is that LA = fail. Still, there's some fun ones

    * Necropolitian - Because being undead nets you a lot of advantages, including not needing to blow a feat to heal yourself.

    * Spellstitched - This will be more completely covered later, but if you can afford it, do it.

    * Litch - You get this for free at Dread Necromancer 20. However, if you are already a Necropolitian, you'll need to get a True Res to get this to work. That's expensive, but worth it. You will loose any spellstitching in the process, however. But, this also means you can set up your own bonus-stacking (see below).

    * Phrenic - If LA Buyoff is allowed, it can net some useful abilities. If it isn't, then it isn't worth +2 LA.

    Taint
    The Deceased Dread Necromancer Handbook had a large section on this. Personally, I don't know if you really want to do this or not. It depends on how cheese-tolerant the GM is. A section under Dirty Tricks will cover how to best exploit that. However, if you don't plan on doing that, I don't suggest this in general.

    In brief, however, you get Taint equal to 1/2 your Charisma score + 1 if you are undead, AND you get to ignore any negative effects of Taint. You gain a bonus feat for hitting Moderate taint, and again for hitting Severe taint.

    There's a cute little exploit that probably wouldn't fly with any GM about waffling between two stages of taint to get a bunch of free feats. For all practical purposes, your GM will not approve of that. Besides, it all but calls out that you regain the feat you lost when your taint score dropped anyways.

    But wait, it gets better. A dip into Tainted Scholar lets you use your taint score as your casting stat. Furthermore, every time you cast a spell, you make a will save or gain more taint. Which you are immune to the negative effects of. Which makes your casting more powerful. So net result is by willingly failing that save, you end up with an arbitrarily high casting stat, and thus your DC's are something which makes even the Red Wizards green with envy.

    Feats


    Tomb-Tainted Soul - If you aren't planning on going undead before level 20, this is probably the feat you take at level 1. Unlimited self healing is just that powerful.

    Fell Drain - Can be very nasty, with the right combinations. See below for tips and tricks. No-Save No-SR negative levels are fun to play with.

    Fell Frighten - This is part of a combo to make your Fear Aura truly fearful. And then, after you get it down to +0 level adjustment, there's really no reason to *NOT* throw it on every damaging spell you use.

    Fell Animate - A bit over-hyped, but still perfectly viable for reagent-free minion making. Tips and tricks to be found in it's own section.

    Stitched Flesh Familiar - Can be abused by spellstitching it.

    Metamagic School Focus - A -1 spell level adjustment (minimum 1) to all of your spells which are Necromancy (all of them) is never a bad thing. Do keep in mind the limitation of 3/day

    Arcane Thesis - a way to reduce metamagic cost to 0, but not particularly useful if you have access to a Slaymate.

    Versitile Spellcaster - can be broken, since a Dread Necro gets his entire spell list off the bat, so this DOES allow him to cast a spell level higher than he normally would.

    Practical Metamagic - only works on a single metamagic feat, however unlimited usage. Good with certain tricks.

    Rapid Metamagic - You're a spontaneous caster. Not eating a full-round action is a good thing. If you can afford the extra feat.

    Corpsecrafter - If you are going to get this, it means you plan on getting more of them, since this doesn't stack with your class ability

    Bolster Resistance - If you are running into a lot of opponent clerics rebuking/commanding your minions, then okay. Otherwise, pass.

    Deadly Chill - Extra damage per mook. It's not the worst thing around, but if you've got a Bard handy, mostly unnecessary.

    Destructive Retribution - Give your disposable minions something useful to do when they die! Excellent when paired with Fell Animate.

    Hardened Flesh - not worth it

    Nimble Bones - Most groups have you roll initiative and your pets move on your initiative. In which case, this is mostly worthless. If, however, they get to go separately, then it's a lot of fun.

    Piercing Cold - Bypasses immunities of Cold Immune creatures. Except for [Cold] subtypes, who still retain immunity for some reason. It lets your Grave Mist affect more things, but still not everything. That's why we refer to it as 'UPS man lite'... it's not as good as what the UPS man does, but it's also not bad. Cold subtype critters aren't too common, in my experience.

    Prestige Classes


    * Dread Witch - If you plan on optimizing for fear, this is mandatory to remain effective. Dread Witch 4 nets you the ability to penetrate immunities, which is all kinds of useful. However, if you are wanting to dip into it before 8, you need all five levels, because you lose a caster level at the first Dread Witch level, and you want to pick up Aura of Terror as soon as you get out.

    * Pale Master - mostly sub-par, although if your GM prohibits Leadership/Undead leadership, it's a way to get an Undead Cohort Bard/War Chanter to amp up the effectiveness of even the weakest undead in your army. That first level is *painful*, though. Strictly inferior to... anything. Heck, even MONK levels are more useful than the first level of Pale Master.

    * Master of Shadows - You need Southern Magician to qualify, and the abilities really aren't much to write home about. Basically, you're trading Southern Magician and a lot of class abilities for... extra turning an an incorporeal pet. Pass.

    * True Necromancer - I cannot begin to describe the amount of fail this PrC possesses. However, it *DOES* have one useful trick. Go ahead and dip Cloistered Cleric. Pick up Death domain, and probably Planning for prerequisites for Persist. Now Southern Magician, and you can cast Summon Undead II as a divine spell, and you meet all prerequisites.

    You lose a caster level. Actually, you lose two of them (one from Cleric, and one from the PrC). But the Zone of desecration might be worth it. It saves the cost of buying the ring, anyways.

    * Mindbender - You'd need a way to get Charm Person somehow. Fortunately, there's a lot of ways to do that, although it will require that you spend either a feat or level adjustment for it. Basically, this is a one-level class intended to net you Mindsight with another feat. Which is actually pretty handy. But probably not worth the investment for you.

    * Abjurant Champion - With ways to get Divine Power, do we really need Gish PrC's? I mean, Undetectable Alignment qualifies you, but why bother?

    * Nightmare Spinner - You've got better ways of dishing out fear effects, like just walking close to them. Pass.

    * Ur Priest - Sure, why not? I mean, you already are telling the gods to piss off, so why not siphon off their energy while you're at it? It almost makes Theurging viable.

    * Void Disciple - too many lost caster levels, not enough abilities to compensate. Pass.

    * Magical Trickster - It's hard to say 'no' to a bonus metamagic feat.

    * Master of Masks - A one-level dip for those gishy types nets you access to all exotic weapon proficiencies.

    * Spellwarp Sniper - Possibly useful to Enervation specialists, but really... not too valuable overall.

    * Uncanny Trickster - This class is mostly useful for tricks like extending HFW or War Weaver. You really don't use any classes like that, so it's not very handy.

    Dips and Splashes - how other classes can help you do this better


    * Duskblade - For those gish-types out there. Specifically, Arcane Channeling lets you reach out and smack someone. Combo this with, say, Enervation or Shivering Touch. Have fun.

    * Rogue - Really, not that spectacular, although if you absolutely are being pidgeoholed into the skillmonkey role, despite clearly being a 'Blarg, Blarg, Death, Fear Me' type person, it nets you Trapfinding, Sneak Attack, and Evasion if you go 2 level dip. If you plan on pursuing this, you're almost going to have to go Arcane Trickster (pick up the feat for Mage Hand), because nearly every single spell you have is Necromancy, so the penalty for all non-divination spells is *crippling*.

    * Paladin - And by Paladin, I mean Paladin of Tyranny or Paladin of Slaughter. After all, we're swimming in the deep end of the alignment pool here. A two-level dip gets your only really vital stat, which happens to be your casting stat, as a bonus to all saving throws. What's not to like about that? If you're going for more of a Gish-Centric build, three levels into Paladin of Tyranny nets Aura of Despair for a no-save debuff to saving throws. Four levels nets you an extra set of Rebuke attempts you can burn on DMM stuff, but that's starting to really cripple your Dread Necromancer levels.

    * Barbarian - If you're going Gish, then do it right. One level dip for Whirling Frenzy Pounce Barbarian is not the worst thing that can happen if you are abusing Divine Power through Arcane Disciple, or otherwise end up with a high BAB.

    * Fighter - No. Just... no. Even if you need the feats, there's other things to do. Don't even *think* about Zhent, since you've got better things to do than spending actions, even swift actions, to make opponents cower. Like simply walk near them.

    * PsyWar - If you need feats, go here. You at least also get meaningful class abilities.

    * Beguiler - Sure, it's fun, but... why? Two spontaneous classes? There's really no way to make them work together.

    * Scout - For the more mobility-minded skillmonkey builds who prefer this to Rogue. Personally, I'd rather just go Rogue, but to each their own.

    * Ranger - Why?

    * Cleric - Okay, a one-level dip here can net some useful things. With the right domain choices, you can enable the True Necromancer class (if you *REALLY* are wanting the Aura of Desecration THAT badly), Planning domain can net you Extend Spell so you can pick up Persist easier, Deathbound nets you Extra Turning. And speaking of turning... you get another pool of rebuke attempts to spend on DMM shenanigans.

    * Wizard - Technically, you can try for an Ultimate Magus build, but... why?

    * Sorcerer - Only if you're having a real strong desire for Mage Armor and Shield and Abjurant champion to make... only the latter one... more effective. And even then, not worth the dip.

    * Factotum - It's like what I said with Rogue, only a bit better at what it does for you. Not the worst thing that can happen to you, particularly if you're trying to qualify for a PrC with some obnoxious skill requirements. Going into it for any length of time is detrimental to your overall Necromancy focus.

    * Dragon Shaman - Do you *really* want auras that bad? Glah. I suppose, if you absolutely must buff your minions in this way, get a minion to do this for you.

    * Marshall - Yo dawg, I heard you liked Charisma. So we let you Inspire Charisma so you can get your Charisma modifier while you get your Charisma modifier. Other than that, I see no viable use for this.

    * Bard - I already see where you're going with this... "I've got a metric TON of minions... now I want to make them AWESOME!". That's nice. But the problem is that IC optimization is feat-intensive. So is Minionmancy. Do one or the other, but doing both ends up in doing neither. However, if you DO encounter a Bard... it would make an excellent Sargent for your army of undead.

    * Crusader - If you don't like using class variants, here's a martial class for Gishing it up with instead of Paladin. Also makes a decent Lockdown build even better with Thicket of Blades. Check with your GM if the ambiguous wording lets you negate Tumbling as well.

    * Warblade - Another perfectly viable option for a gish splash, although more Int centric.

    * Swordsage - Nets some handy abilities, depending on when you get into it. Short range teleport is always nice, precision-based damage can be useful for a Gish, and they do have some fun ways of saying 'no thanks' to melee in Setting Sun.

    * Incarnate - It's so easy when you're eeeevil... Ahem, sorry. There's this thing, it's called Necrocarnate. Look it up, this might be your shtick.

    * Soulborn - Friends don't let friends do Soulborn.

    * Totemist - Sure, some of the Totem binds can be really useful for you, and a two-level dip isn't too hard on you.

    Jump-out points

    Really, Dread Necro is viable all the way 1-20. However, there's some places which are better to leave than others...

    * 7th level - If you promise to come back to 8th level for Advanced Learning of a higher level spell, then this works well. Otherwise, not so much.

    * 8th level - Trap. Big, huge, honkin' trap. The previous guide even commented that this was pretty much the optimal leaving point. I disagree completely.

    Undead mastery only applies to Dread Necromancer levels. In other words, you are quartering, or worse, your control HD cap by leaving now. And the ability doesn't stack with Corpsecrafter. So either you're going to blow a feat on absolutely nothing to gain access to the rest of them, or you are trading a steep class investment for something a simple feat can duplicate.

    Either way, it's a sucker's bet.

    * 12th level - This is a good jump point. You have either Aura of Terror (if you are optimizing your fear aura) or Animate Dread Warrior (if you want big, beefy, scary, dangerous pets).

    But like I said, it's perfectly viable 1-20, if you want.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-06 at 04:33 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
    All hail great Shneekeythulhu! Ia Ia Shneeky fthagn
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

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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

    * Barghestís 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
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2013-04-15 at 01:32 AM.
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    Pets, Minionmancy, and YOU


    So you want to go Minionmancer and have your pets do all the work for you while you sit back and relax? That's an excellent application of magic to reduce your overall need to do anything yourself other than give orders. But what make the best pets? I'm glad you asked that too!

    Here's a cute problem/benefit about minions, though: All minions of the same HD have the same hit points, because they all have the same d12 HD, no Con modifier, and the same bonuses of hit points based on what you do and where you are when you make them. Therefore, 'meat shield' options simply don't exist. If it's got that HD, it's just as good, or bad, a meat shield as anything else that HD. Chose based on damage output and utility.

    Stats: Strength and possibly Dex are the only two stats you care about.

    Special Qualities: You're looking for things that augment your pet's natural attacks. So things like Pounce, Improved Trip, Improved Grab... those work. Most other things? Don't. So watch out for traps.

    This list will be broken up by HD.

    1/4 HD
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    Rat - Pipes of the Sewers summon a bunch of them. Fell Animate Kelgore's Grave Mist makes them all zombies under your control. It's a level 4 combo to max your control cap quickly.


    1HD
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    Baboon - Well, it's better than a human, anyways.
    Badger - 3 attacks on a full attack is not bad
    Monkey - Retains it's climb speed, so it might be able to be useful for utility


    2HD
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    Wolf - Trips are a lot of fun.
    War Pony - If you want a packbeast for 2hd, here you go.


    3HD
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    Camel - makes the best pack animal of the 3hd options.
    Crocodile - If you're in swampy terrain, it's not bad.
    Bear, Black - Two claws and a bite... and a 19 strength. What's not to like?
    Leopard - Ouch. No, really. 5 attacks on a pounce. If you can get some inspirational music going, these guys can be your Turbo-Ginsu! Start a conservation/breeding program early so you can have a large supply of them.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-12 at 12:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    You know, im glad you are posting this. The dread necro is the class ive heard about which most makes me want to play the game. It just sounds FUN!
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    * Decent capstone. You get a LA +4 template for free. That's actually really huge. If you can still get it by this point, anyways.
    You do not gain the lich template at DN20. You get a phylactery and the undead type, that's it. The whole point of Dread Necromancer is that you get all the **** the lich gets, but spread out over 20 levels. If you want the template, take the template.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    I've never heard Dread Necro called Tier 4. It's pretty much the quintessential Tier 3 caster, second only to the Beguiler.
    Lord Raziere herd I like Blasphemy, so Urpriest Exalted as a Malefactor

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    [nitpick] "Lich body" not "Litch body". "Scabrous Touch" not "Scaberous Touch".[/nitpick]

    Quoted from K's Revised Necromancer Handbook:
    The Dread Necromancer
    The Dread Necromancer is a class that is 8 levels long. Early in its life it is a melee warrior, and later on itís a passable Undead Leader. You can cast any spell on your spell list as a spontaneous effect, which is a unique way to do things and of course is the most favorable spellcasting mechanic ever. Adding spells to your list is easy and fun, the default method is to use Arcane Disciple, which adds 9 spells to your list each time, but more elaborate methods (such as a Ring of Theurgy) exist. All Dread Necromancers, regardless of their ultimate goals, have Tomb Tainted Soul as their 1st level feat. Thatís not a recommendation, thatís a simple fact. The ability to heal yourself with your own touch is invaluable, and in the long run you are going to have the ability to spray negative energy all over everyone within five feet of you, including yourself. If you donít have Tomb Tainted Soul, your negative energy bursts are a suicide bomb, if you do have it they are instead an vampiric healing attack.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Schneeky, good work on starting this. :)

    BTW...
    Quote Originally Posted by Annulus View Post
    You do not gain the lich template at DN20. You get a phylactery and the undead type, that's it. The whole point of Dread Necromancer is that you get all the **** the lich gets, but spread out over 20 levels. If you want the template, take the template.
    This is correct by RAW.

    Lenient DMs may choose to provide the Lich template, but that is a house rule. (Is it just me or does the DN class look like the capstone if not all class abilities were developed completely independent of the Lich template??).

    It's also unknown how DMs would choose to handle the various overlapping abilities of both the Lich template and the class abilities (e.g. would Lich DR override class DR?).

    All this needs to be reflected in the guide some how. Some advice for guiding players into house ruling this into a relatively sane manner would also be doubly appreciated.

    - J.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Quoted from K's Revised Necromancer Handbook:
    And I strongly disagree with this. It fails to take into consideration that your charisma bonus is only added onto your Dread Necro levels, so you'd ultimately be hurting your legion of undead by only taking eight levels. Basically, you're getting Corpsecrafter, then having to take it again just to get your explosive undead minions.

    If you were only going to go 8 levels, don't bother with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Annulus View Post
    You do not gain the lich template at DN20. You get a phylactery and the undead type, that's it. The whole point of Dread Necromancer is that you get all the **** the lich gets, but spread out over 20 levels. If you want the template, take the template.
    WRONG!

    Lots of people seem to think that, however it explicitly states:

    Quote Originally Posted by Heroes of Horror, Pg. 87
    When a dread necromancer attains 20th level, she undergoes a hideous transformation and becomes a lich.
    So yes, you become a lich. It even references the page number for the Lich entry, and stating that he doesn't have to pay for his phylactery. So I really don't see how you can argue that he doesn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheJake View Post
    It's also unknown how DMs would choose to handle the various overlapping abilities of both the Lich template and the class abilities (e.g. would Lich DR override class DR?).

    - J.
    DR doesn't stack. It never stacks. So the DR 15 Bludgeoning AND Magic overwrites your current DR 8. Your immunities overwrite your resistances.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-04 at 10:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    And I strongly disagree with this. It fails to take into consideration that your charisma bonus is only added onto your Dread Necro levels, so you'd ultimately be hurting your legion of undead by only taking eight levels. Basically, you're getting Corpsecrafter, then having to take it again just to get your explosive undead minions.

    If you were only going to go 8 levels, don't bother with it.
    You're entitled to your opinion, but I'll agree to disagree here.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Also it would be useful to talk about different playstyle approaches with a DN.

    E.g.
    * Metamagic hijinx: (E.g. Rapid Metamagic, Twin Spell, Repeat Spell, Chain Spell).
    * High Save (E.g. Finger of Death, Horrid Wilting)
    * No Save (E.g. Enervation)
    * Hordemaster (E.g. Corpsecrafter feat chain, Leadership, Undead Leadership).

    The other books touched on it with build guides and spell lists but never really took that extra step. I also think this is how you really get people to understand "how-to-charop" for a given class.

    - J.
    Last edited by TheJake; 2011-09-04 at 10:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    You're entitled to your opinion, but I'll agree to disagree here.
    FWIW I agree with Schneeky (sp???) here, Dread Necro's bonus undead controlled only take into account DN levels. Other levels after that accumulate at the normal rate (usually 4 extra HD per level).

    ---

    I'm interested to see what you do with Advanced Learning. I'd originally thought Desecrate, but of course Desecrate is an Evilcation not a Necromancy, so it isn't eligible. (Fortunately there's a (cheap) Ring for that - check the third link in my sig)

    I'm also interested in why the emphasis on ranged touch attacks - after all, once you hit level 4 (?) Spectral Hand is on your list and you should (?) go hog-wild with it. (??? Maybe this is a mid-low strategy, after all Spectral Hand only conveys spells up to 4th level)

    Other points of interest to me are when I look at the first level spell list, and then I look at charnel touch, pretty much all your offensive spells are either worse than charnel touch, or only better by a tiny margin - which makes them kind of pointless....

    ...unless you can 'stack' Charnel Touch on top of other touch spells! Of course you cannot (normally) use multiple touch spells (but see Spell Flower), but Charnel Touch isn't a spell or even an SP, it is an SU!

    ... other things to consider in this are whether you can stack Charnel Touch _damage_ when you use Scabrous and Enervating Touch (or whether they override the damage with their particular effect). And if it is a standard action to use Charnel Touch then that effectively gimps the low level Dread Necro (though depending on interpretations you may be allowed to use two rounds, one to cast the touch spell (and hold it) and then the next to use your Charnel Touch and deliver the 'double whammy').

    At low levels not being able to combine your charnel touch and spell casting is enough (in my mind) to knock it back from tier 3 to tier 4.

    ... in which case the touch spells you want to be casting are the ones with which (may or may not) spread over multiple rounds, e.g. Chill Touch. So a level 3 DN could cast Chill Touch and hit with it on round 1, and then in the subsequent two roundsÜ use Charnel Touch and get the Chill Touch as a freebie.

    Other low level tactics can involve summoning skeletons. Their duration is terrible, and their HP look low, but their DR makes them surprisingly durable against low level opponents. If summoning zombies instead, be aware that they can charge (it is pretty much their only(?) viable combat tactic).

    You kind of have to make up your mind what you're going to do at low levels, are you going to get in close and zap people with your touch attack, or are you going to stand back and do ranged attacks (e.g. minions).

    Other things to consider: Slaymate? Y/N (from the book of bad latin), Cantrips? Y/N Their omission seems odd - even Duskblades get cantrips. Apart from Paladins and Rangers, I can't think of any other spell casting base class that doesn't get cantrips. Maybe it's just that the pickings for Necromancy cantrips are so thin on the ground, or perhaps that Disrupt Undead simply emphasises how weak their level 1 casting really is.

    Depending on your WBL you may be able to get minions a little earlier than level 8 (by which time they're starting to fall behind anyway unless you pull some nifty tricks). One way would be with an Animate Dead scroll. Now either you can get a cleric to make you a Divine one and plop some ranks into UMD (cross-class unfortunately), or you can get the more expensive Arcane version - 700gp + material component cost. Unfortunately you have to guess what total levels of undead you're going to raise in advance because the Onyx cost get baked in.

    And it sounds like you will have a section on fear stacking. This would be good because it isn't obvious which fear spells (if any) can be spammed in order to bump their terror up to the maximum (whatever that is), or whether they come under the 'multiple effects from the same source do not stack' rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    And I strongly disagree with this. It
    So yes, you become a lich. It even references the page number for the Lich entry, and stating that he doesn't have to pay for his phylactery. So I really don't see how you can argue that he doesn't.
    There was a CustServ ruling on the old Wizards board. You're being selective with the text too. Exact wording says undead type + phylactery.

    I don't disagree with your interpretation though :P and what was RAI. But when it comes to RAW, CustServ have spoken.

    Check the old DN handbook for a place to start if you're keen to see it for yourself, I think that has the exact ruling if I recall - but its pretty well known by now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    DR doesn't stack. It never stacks. So the DR 15 Bludgeoning AND Magic overwrites your current DR 8. Your immunities overwrite your resistances.
    Pretty sure the DRs were different types - hence my question, but I am AFB for now so I'm going from memory. Mea culpa if I got this wrong.

    - J.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by TheJake View Post
    There was a CustServ ruling on the old Wizards board. You're being selective with the text too. Exact wording says undead type + phylactery.
    I would certainly hope that, being a litch, I become undead.

    I don't disagree with your interpretation though :P and what was RAI. But when it comes to RAW, CustServ have spoken.

    Check the old DN handbook for a place to start if you're keen to see it for yourself, I think that has the exact ruling if I recall - but its pretty well known by now.
    Since when was CustServ RAW? It is no more accurate than asking any other outsourced customer service for tech support, although at least you don't have to have to puzzle through the accent.

    It explicitly states you turn into a litch. It explicitly states you get a phylactery with no cost. The ONLY critter known who has a phylactery is... a lich.

    The person who typed out the CustServ response was clearly not bothering to read the ability.

    Pretty sure the DRs were different types - hence my question, but I am AFB for now so I'm going from memory. Mea culpa if I got this wrong.

    - J.
    DR's from different types overlap, but do not stack. And they are, in fact, the same: Bludgeoning and magic.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-05 at 12:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Great to see this! I love Necromancers in general, so I'll throw in my two bits. Take them as you will.

    Another cool (and extremely broken) combination for the metamagicking Dread Necro is the exploitation of the spell Ghoul Glyph. Add on Rapid Spell, Reach Spell, and (possibly) Chain Spell. This will let you paralyze (no save) one enemy (or more if chained). If you're already playing with Black Lore of Moril and Fell Drain/Frighten, you might as well add them on.

    The Dread Necromancer's Fear Aura is surprisingly potent at low levels. You're still at the point where you will most likely be resorting to melee, whether to use touch spells or your charnel touch. At 5th level, when you get the Fear Aura, you can use simple Demoralization on any shaken enemies to make them flee you. You can get an AoO when he tries to flee. That, or just use Never Outnumbered to make them all shaken/frightened. And at 6th level, when you can grab Imperious Command, it's even better.

    There is some ritual in an Ebberon book, of which I can't remember the name, that does 2 Con damage to you in exchange for adding your Charisma to your HP, adds 1 to your CL for necromancy effects, and adds one to your effective rebuking level. And, as you're going to undeadify yourself before too long, this is a great benefit for no cost. And you may be able to stack it, which would be insane.

    You might want to add a list of nice Advanced Learning Spells.

    Also, your recommendations on spells to Spellstitch.


    But anyway, thanks again for animating up this guide for us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Shadows View Post
    Spell Mastery. Seriously a Wizard without Spell Mastery is like a Fighter without Weapon Focus: possible, but why?

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExactTextInQuestion
    Lich Transformation: When a dread necromancer attains 20th level, she undergoes a hideous transformation and becomes a lich. Her type changes to undead, and she gains all the traits of the undead (see page 317 of the Monster Manual). She no longer has a Constitution score, all her existing Hit Dice become d12s, and she must reroll her hit points. 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.
    (a) On the table and in the text the relevant class feature is called Lich Transformation
    (b) it says you undergo a transformation and become a lich (surprise!)
    (c) you become undead
    (d) you (also) gain all the traits of the undead as outlined on p317 of MM)
    (e) you don't need to pay to create a phylactery
    (f) doesn't work if you're not humanoid

    Seems fairly clear cut to me.

    In fact, as written it also seems to work even if you are (for instance) a Necropolitan when you hit level 20, since you're still a humanoid. I guess you just magically upgrade (transform even) from a weaker form of undead into a stronger one. <- That's the sort of thing I'd expect arguments about, not about whether "Lich Transformation" transforms you into a lich or not.

    ----

    I find it funny how willing people are to throw away cust serve's rulings one minute, and then treat them like holy scripture the next.

    Take Arcane Thesis for instance. Cust serve (or the FAQ or whatever) ruled that (just like every other metamagic reducer in the whole game) it doesn't stack with itself (duh!). But players want to hold onto their broken-ness despite that being clearly the correct ruling, so they yell abuse at cust serve, and cherry pick from among conflicting interpretations to whatever suits them best.

    Now, in the face of a clearly wrong ruling (just how stupid do they have to be to say that Lich Transformation doesn't involve actually becoming a Lich anyway??) all of a sudden cust serve's word is inviolate?

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    DR's from different types overlap, but do not stack. And they are, in fact, the same: Bludgeoning and magic.
    The Warlock's DR appears to stack with the DR from the Fey Heritage chain. (???)

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I would certainly hope that, being a litch, I become undead.

    Since when was CustServ RAW? It is no more accurate than asking any other outsourced customer service for tech support, although at least you don't have to have to puzzle through the accent.

    It explicitly states you turn into a litch. It explicitly states you get a phylactery with no cost. The ONLY critter known who has a phylactery is... a lich.

    The person who typed out the CustServ response was clearly not bothering to read the ability.
    There's a running joke in Australia with our tax office - if you're not happy with the answer you get when you call up to ask a question, just call back later and ask again. :P

    I kinda view Cust Serv rulings like that.

    Thankfully I have sane GMs so the whole thing is moot.

    - J.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRick View Post
    The Warlock's DR appears to stack with the DR from the Fey Heritage chain. (???)
    Pretty sure it explicitly calls it out in the feat as an exception though.

    - J.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    I've never heard Dread Necro called Tier 4. It's pretty much the quintessential Tier 3 caster, second only to the Beguiler.
    This^

    Please fix it in the original post

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    There's already a Dread Necro handbook anyway. This guy did it first, and he did it better.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Kobold - Depends on how cheese-tolerant your group is. Dragonwrought Loredrake can be just as broken for Dread Necromancers as they are for Sorcerers.
    Incorrect.
    Dragonwrought kobold lets you trade in your first level feat for +3 to all mental scores. Cool, but hardly game breaking.

    Loredrake adds +2 to your sorcerer level. Sorcerer is a class, much like Dread Necromancer is a class, but they are not the same class. It won't stack. Having sorcerer2//Dread Necromancer is a hell of a lot less broken than having 6th level sorcerer casting at 4th level.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Having been researching the Dread Necromancer for a couple of weeks for an upcoming game I am in, I was excited to see this on the thread list, but most of the information can be found in the handbooks that already exist.

    I also am going to say this Dread Necro is indeed an eight level class. After that just Prc out into something else that suits your purposes.

    A great one level dip for the Dread Necro is Cloister Cleric. Adds an extra turn pool, in case you wanted to DMM, gives you three free domains, gives you access to spell trigger items from one of the, IMHO, greatest spell lists out there and gets you +2 Fort and Will.

    So something like Cloister Cleric 1/Dread Necromancer 8/Full Casting Prc 11 could yield a lot of potential.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Does Nacrotic Focus(Libris mortis) work with dread necromancer's enervating touch(lesser ones too)?

    If you Haunt Shift Slaymate does aura still work?

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRick View Post
    (a) On the table and in the text the relevant class feature is called Lich Transformation
    (b) it says you undergo a transformation and become a lich (surprise!)
    (c) you become undead
    (d) you (also) gain all the traits of the undead as outlined on p317 of MM)
    (e) you don't need to pay to create a phylactery
    (f) doesn't work if you're not humanoid

    Seems fairly clear cut to me.

    In fact, as written it also seems to work even if you are (for instance) a Necropolitan when you hit level 20, since you're still a humanoid. I guess you just magically upgrade (transform even) from a weaker form of undead into a stronger one. <- That's the sort of thing I'd expect arguments about, not about whether "Lich Transformation" transforms you into a lich or not.

    ----

    I find it funny how willing people are to throw away cust serve's rulings one minute, and then treat them like holy scripture the next.

    Take Arcane Thesis for instance. Cust serve (or the FAQ or whatever) ruled that (just like every other metamagic reducer in the whole game) it doesn't stack with itself (duh!). But players want to hold onto their broken-ness despite that being clearly the correct ruling, so they yell abuse at cust serve, and cherry pick from among conflicting interpretations to whatever suits them best.

    Now, in the face of a clearly wrong ruling (just how stupid do they have to be to say that Lich Transformation doesn't involve actually becoming a Lich anyway??) all of a sudden cust serve's word is inviolate?
    I only point out the CustServ ruling because so many do treat their advice as gospel. I really don't give care and neither do my DMs. We make our own decision and have close to a decade of minor houserules for D&D 3.0/3.5 now.

    Unfortunately CharOp requires RAW to establish a definitive measure so we all have the same yardstick. But real CharOp (IMHO) requires that houserules are made all the time and can/should assist with it. That and its one of the golden rules of CharOp (otherwise its essentially 'cheating'):

    Changing the rules is kind of a sticky subject for min/maxing. Technically if you just change the rules then you are not truly min/maxing. Then again if your DM has made the changes and you are just exploiting them, then that should be considered min/maxing. To make things even more murky there are some common house rules included in discussions of min/maxing.
    BTW I was of the opinion Arcane Thesis did stack with itself, it just can't reduce it below 1, but now I'm digressing... I might be confusing that with Metamagic School Focus.

    - J.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Annulus View Post
    There's already a Dread Necro handbook anyway. This guy did it first, and he did it better.
    And I strongly disagree. It has a bunch of crap that isn't useful, and doesn't have any way of optimizing what you get out of your class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu_Bonkosi View Post
    Having been researching the Dread Necromancer for a couple of weeks for an upcoming game I am in, I was excited to see this on the thread list, but most of the information can be found in the handbooks that already exist.

    I also am going to say this Dread Necro is indeed an eight level class. After that just Prc out into something else that suits your purposes.

    A great one level dip for the Dread Necro is Cloister Cleric. Adds an extra turn pool, in case you wanted to DMM, gives you three free domains, gives you access to spell trigger items from one of the, IMHO, greatest spell lists out there and gets you +2 Fort and Will.

    So something like Cloister Cleric 1/Dread Necromancer 8/Full Casting Prc 11 could yield a lot of potential.
    Not really. You forget that Dread Necromancer's Undead Mastery only multiplies your charisma bonus into your HD cap for Dread Necromancer class levels. So you're basically quartering the HD cap of Rebuke/Control undead.

    If you were going to do that, just pick up Corpsecrafter, and proceed from there. That way, you don't have to take 8 levels of Dread Necro. After all, if that is your opinion, then clearly you might as well take Wizard7/Cloistered Cleric1/Full Casting PrC12 and be done with it.

    Most arcane casting PrC's don't advance both turning and casting, and provide something actually relevant. Heck, you can get metamagic reducers without needing to go into Incantatrix, so not even that is absolutely astonishing (although it might help with feat tax).

    And by ditching at 8, you miss out on Aura of Terror for just flat out making opponents Panicked with your aura (unless you ditch out at 7, then come back after four levels of spellcasting advancement)

    If you think the other guide had more information, then either you didn't browse very deeply, or you just didn't care to read what was there. Included are methods to turn DMM back on, example builds, how to optimize your fear aura, details on how to optimize Enervation to one-round kill anything not immune to negative levels, and how to deliver unresistable negative levels to broad swaths of opponents... by level 4.

    Also, a one-level dip in Cloistered Cleric is okay, if you're wanting to pick up Deathbound and Planning domains, so certain builds are less feat strapped, but you're rarely that strapped on turn attempts that a dip is necessary for more of them.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Fear effects become considerably less useful in my experience beyond level 8ish, so the Aura of Terror is relegated to being more niche-case than the earlier aura.

    If you think the other guide had more information, then either you didn't browse very deeply, or you just didn't care to read what was there. Included are methods to turn DMM back on, example builds, how to optimize your fear aura, details on how to optimize Enervation to one-round kill anything not immune to negative levels, and how to deliver unresistable negative levels to broad swaths of opponents... by level 4.
    My emphasis. I've read the other one before, several times. DN's probably my favorite base class. Disagreeing with your opinion does not by default make me an inattentive or uncaring reader. The highlighted language comes across as very high-handed, from my POV.
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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    really, loredrake isn't the only useful sovereign archetype. most of the others add cleric spells as arcane spells, and one adds druid. this is really, really helpful to list-casters -- it's like rainbow warmage with less class investment.

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    Default Re: Reanimated Dread Necromancer Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Fear effects become considerably less useful in my experience beyond level 8ish, so the Aura of Terror is relegated to being more niche-case than the earlier aura.
    Dread Witch disagrees with you. So does Animate Dread Warrior, which turns your minions into things *FAR* more powerful than the party tank is. Even if he *IS* an ubercharger.

    My emphasis. I've read the other one before, several times. DN's probably my favorite base class. Disagreeing with your opinion does not by default make me an inattentive or uncaring reader. The highlighted language comes across as very high-handed, from my POV.
    So have I. It never mentions how to stack a quarter of the things I've already included. I apologize if it sounds high handed, but your statement sounded like you didn't bother reading the guide before posting, which also comes off as highly insulting.
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