Necromancer (yet another)

This is a semi-racial version, and is well-designed for skulking about tombs at low levels, trying to dig up the treasures and secrets to fund research, serving as a leader and vizier to beastmen lords in Chaotic armies during the mid levels, and finally establishing a proper boss fight domain in the upper levels. Madness is a special language available to devotees of Chaos in Oceana, which looks like ravings of a madman (particularly in journal form), but often contains arcane secrets for those in the know. Even knowing Madness is enough to make others look at you a bit askance, however.

Chaos Devotee. A human who has devoted themselves to Chaos. The degree to which they have done so is determined by the build points they put into this “racial” class.

0 build points. This grants infravision 60’, a +1 to surprise rolls when underground, and one bonus language (Madness). XP cost 125. The cost of the Arcane value is reduced by 125, thanks to the granted gifts in that regard from Chaos.

1 build point. As above, plus 1/3 arcane caster. XP cost 750.
2 build points. As above, plus 1/2 arcane caster. XP cost 1,375.
3 build points. As above, plus 2/3 arcane caster. XP cost 2,000.
4 build points. As above, plus full arcane caster. XP cost 2,500.

In all cases, add +50,000 XP per level above 8th.

Build: HD 0 (1d4) [XP 0]; Fighting Ability 1b (Thief; no armor, restricted weapons, two-handed) [XP 500]; Thievery Ability 1 (Hear Noise, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently) [XP 225]; Arcane 2 + Chaos Devotee 2 (drop constructs and crossbreeds) [XP 2,500]. Net 7.426 customs. Maximum level 11th.

Level / XP / Title
1 / 0 / Gravedigger
2 / 3,225 / Tomb Thief
3 / 6,450 / Anatomist
4 / 12,900 / Malefactor
5 / 25,800 / Necromancer
6 / 51,600 / Necromancer (6th)
7 / 105,000 / Necromancer (7th)
8 / 210,000 / Necromancer (8th)
9 / 410,000 / Dark Master
10 / 610,000 / Dark Master (10th)
11 / 810,000 / Lord of Undead

Customs by level:

  1. Black Lore (control undead, necro benefits). Cost 1.142.
  2. Shadow (re-skinned familiar). Cost 1.142.
  3. Sense Undead (full turn, at will). Cost 1.142.
  4. Anatomical Knowledge (backstab). Cost 0.857.
  5. Master of Monsters (Chaotic minion Morale +2 when led directly by the necromancer). Cost 0.714.
  6. When the necromancer founds a sanctum, 6d6×5 hit dice of Chaotic monster followers are attracted to offer their services, plus 1d6 necromancers of level 1–3. The monsters are fanatically loyal (Morale +4) and must be fed and housed, but require no wages. The sanctum counts as a Chaotic Altar, and money spent on the fortification of the sanctum also counts toward the size of the Sinkhole created by it. Cost 1.287.
  7. After the Flesh. Cost 0.858.
  8. Control Undead as a cleric of full level. Cost 0.286.

The Chaotic monster followers was treated as two customs. The sanctum Chaotic Altar effect was treated as one custom. After the Flesh was counted as three customs.

Like a regular mage, the necromancer gains the ability to research spells, scrolls, and potions at 5th level; the ability to research more powerful items at 9th; and the ability to create undead and research and cast ritual magic at 11th.

Very interesting … I’ve been browsing old Dragons recently, and I’m reminded of an old “NPC Class”.

Pardon my density, but I don’t follow “Cost 3.426” and so on. Could you explain this? Thanks!

Alex discusses the math in that thread. Short version: the value of a power available at a given level above first is ([14-level]/14); powers available at first level are worth 1.142.

O.K. I have had some thoughts along those lines. However, Alex is discussing the math behind constructing trade-offs. I’m probably above-average in math, but slow, if that makes sense: can the cost of a specific trade-off combination be equated to (or reduced down to) the cost of a power at a given level? If so, this is in effect an alternative to how the Player’s Companion presents creating custom classes, isn’t it? Seems like, at a minimum, a class created this way could gain more powers by summing remainders that would have been rounded-off using whole numbers and trade-offs. Or, are both methods mathematically equal?

They come out the same. Here are the values, pre-worked out:

1: 1.142
2: 0.929
3: 0.857
4: 0.786
5: 0.714
6: 0.643
7: 0.571
8: 0.5
9: 0.429
10: 0.357
11: 0.286
12: 0.214
13: 0.143
14: 0.071

You can swap one power at first level [1.142] for a power at 3rd and 11th level [0.857+0.286 = 1.143] or 5th and 9th [0.714+0.429 = 1.143] and so on. The main result of the math is that you can also make more complicated trades, or (as I like to do) add up everything you gave up in one step, and then spend that as a budget for everything you want to add in a second step.


Back to the class …

“Arcane + Chaos Devotee 2 (drop constructs and crossbreeds)”: what is the effect of drop constructs and crossbreeds, besides not being able to create constructs and crossbreeds? Is this from the class or the race?

“Net 7.67 customs”: is this the starting “value” of the powers if taken at 1st level? From fighting exchanges, I guess?

“Anatomical Knowledge (backstab)”: is this ambush proficiency or actual backstab?

Thanks again.

Anatomical Knowledge is a renamed, but actual Backstab ability that thieves possess.

Arcane 2 + Chaos Devotee 2 yields Arcane 4. I appear to have typo’d and written “Arcane +” instead of “Arcane 2 +”.

Arcane 4 includes the ability to create constructs and crossbreed creatures automatically.

The cost for these was derived from the Dwarven Machinist’s automaton ability as 3 custom powers each. Since they normally become available at 11th level, they are worth 3×0.286 = 0.858 custom powers. Both together are worth 1.716.

The total custom powers gained are:
Leather armor to no armor: 1.142.
Broad to narrow to restricted weapons: 3.426.
Drop from 2 styles to 1 style: 1.142.
No crossbreeds: 0.858.
No constructs: 0.858.
Total: 7.426 (my math was off, oops).

Shifting Turn undead as full cleric to level 11 fixes the point total.

I will make these adjustments in the post, thank you!


I suspect your math is off a bit, still, though I’m not sure.

Are you sure that going from broad weapons to restricted weapons then also giving up one of two fighting styles isn’t double dipping? Seems like restricted already had only 1.

Also, I don’t think you can have backstab rather than ambush without giving up one of your other thief skills.

If you want to call chaos devotee a race, why not add inhumanity to the progression, as with thrassians, with positive reactions from chaos creatures? Seems to fit the theme, though I’m not sure that’s a race :slight_smile:

Math: If you see something you can point at, let me know.

Styles: Restricted has however many the underlying fighting ability has, which can be 1, 2, or 3. Fighting ability 1b has two styles.

Backstab: Technically speaking, I can’t swap arcane abilities for custom powers at all. It’s true that some thief skills are more powerful than others, and I would not allow a player to swap an arcane ability for a thief skill without oversight, but as Judge, I felt it was reasonable for this class. If it bothers you, as a Judge, change it to Ambush for your campaigns with my blessing ;-).

Inhumanity: Inhumanity makes it tough for the necromancer to maintain a facade during the day, before sneaking out to crack graves at night. The necromancer is designed to blend into the population until he’s too powerful to stop, save by a small band of daughty heroes. Or, if played by a player, possibly by his former allies ;-).

Technically speaking, you cannot purchase Thief Abilities with custom powers. That was specifically done to force anyone who wanted Thief Abilities to have to put points into Thievery Value. 

Climbing and Hear Noise are available as Class Powers, but the others are not.

I don't think this "breaks" your class, as the guidelines are just guidelines, but it's worth noting for those who like to roll strictly by the book.


Technicalities aside, I really like this class!

I wonder if we should do a book of classes just packed with awesome classes drawn from the community?!


Fortunately, Hear Noise is one of the Thief Abilities he listed for the class’ Thievery 1 rating. Swap that with Backstab, and Backstab with Eavesdropping as a bonus proficiency, and it’s all legal.

Well, I'd buy it. Just one voice, I know, and it's an online voice at that ;-)

The main difficulty would be in setting up permissions. Most forum-posted classes don't include any OGL, and don't fall within the scope of implicit OGL usage (one of the reasons I am only including spellsword classes that I am explicitly given permission for), so individual permission would be needed for the copyright issue.

Quality control would be a (smaller) issue. I know that some of the ones I post, I don't expect a PC to want to play, so I didn't do a full write-up (including this necromancer!).

But, you know, I mine the heck out of these forums for world-building, and having all the best classes in one place would be awesome.

This is an awesome class.

I may have to find a way to fit one into my global map.