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Dread Necromancer

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A dark taint stains your soul. Do you dare embrace the vile power it bestows?

The Dread Necromancer is a new class designed for the 5th edition of the world's greatest roleplaying game. With this new class you can create a character that bears the tragic stain of darkness and the gift of necromancy that comes with it. As your soul succumbs to the fell power of this insidious taint you are transformed into a Lich.

Inside you will find:

  • The Dread Necromancer class and the three path that are its dread callings.

Raise legions of the dead as a Corpsecrafter.

Frighten your enemies to death as a Fearmonger.

Visit disease and pestilence on your foes as a Plaguebearer.

  • Multiple new diseases and a new spell.
  • Alternative fates for the Dread Necromancer.

Stave off the effects of darkness with stolen holy power as a Mummy.

Use the art of the High Elves to preserve your life as one of the Balenorn.

 
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Discussions (23)
Customer avatar
Christopher F September 04, 2019 7:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
Love this, and finally was able to put one into a homebrew campaign.

Curious: can we look forward to this being put onto D&D Beyond?
Customer avatar
Zac K August 26, 2019 9:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
love it but me and play group think the level 10 ability is a bit weak for corpse crafter maybe cause i playing a pale master crospe master just level 10 ability seems really costly to get zombie or skeleton to use armor and shield and magic items that dont require attunment or activation but the fact that it is mindless and cant be more then 200 feet away from you i feel is lack luster cant really use to command undead and it does get two attacks just 3000 gold 24 hous of time for super skeleton or zombie seems weak but i do really love the book and this is the one thing that does give issues for me and my play group
Customer avatar
Maxwell G April 19, 2019 12:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello David, I am very interested in making an NPC a high level Corpse Crafter, and definitely hope to play said NPC as a PC one day. I just have a couple questions regarding the undead minion. When you say that the hit points of either the zombie or skeleton is four times your Dread Necromancer level, do you mean that the minion gains additional hit points equal to four times your level and its base hit points are the d12's for every two levels you have in Dread Necromancer, or does the minion's hit points reach a maximum of 80 and it may expend Hit Dice as self sustainability only?

Also as a quick side note, the Lich template is already a powerful thing, but I would think it would make sense for the Dread Necromancer, upon attaining 20th level, also get two 6th level spell slots and the ability to choose from the Wizard or Cleric spell list for three 6th level spells. This is so the PC can cast Create Undead, which I think would make near perfect sense for a Lich to have in their repertoire of...See more
Customer avatar
David A April 19, 2019 3:09 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for reaching out, Max!

The intent is that, regardless of the original stats for the creature being turned into a minion, a newly raised minion has a maximum hit point total equal to 4 times your level. So a 10th level Dread Necromancer would raise a new minion that had 40 hit points and 5 hit dice that were d12s. It can use those hit dice to heal during short rests.

I'll add your spell suggestions to the list of revisions I will be considering should I find the time to work on an update to the product. If you're interested in chatting more, or just checking out what I'm working on now, join me over on Twitter (level2npc).
Customer avatar
Scott M March 16, 2019 9:14 am UTC
PURCHASER
I've asked a couple questions before about this class and am going to be using it again soon. Since you haven't had the chance to update it, if you would send me a quicklist of the things you intend on changing I would make the update for you. The Plague Bearer has become one of my favorite classes in 5e so I would love to give back some support on this.
Customer avatar
Lee B February 03, 2019 11:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also... final question. How does the dark arcana spell level count? Does it mean that as you level up, any use of the dark arcana is treated as if it is cast at a higher level than the standard slot?
Customer avatar
David A February 04, 2019 8:20 pm UTC
CREATOR
This is correct.
Customer avatar
Lee B February 03, 2019 11:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey, whats up with the Ray of Fatigue in this? I just had a horrible fight where i could of downed a very much over powered NPC with exhaustion had it been stackable for Profane lifeleech and i just realized that Ray of Fatigue despite being in the actual pdf... isn't a castable spell for the class. So what class can cast it? Also does the person in question who gets it cast on gain a new level of exhaustion every round until they succeed on the saving throw? Bit vague, but i thought it worth asking.
Also kind of harsh with the gaps between spellcasting. Love the idea of this class so far, but its a far cry from the 3.5 ed Dread necro in terms of usefulness. :(
I'm level 5 and have the highest AC, thats great but i only cast level 1 spells... my saves are pretty low due to standard array... and my ability to use fell powers or spell cast at low level are extremely limited... Heck 10 uses a day at level 20 is kinda low too.
Customer avatar
David A February 04, 2019 8:20 pm UTC
CREATOR
There are definitely components here that need updating. As soon as I have the time to start the process of updating content, this product is first on my list and I have a number of things that I anticipate modifying to hit my initial design goals. Ray of Fatigue needs some clarification, but the intent is that it bestows 1 level of exhaustion for the duration of the spell. The exhaustion does not stack with itself but would stack with any other effects that bestow exhaustion.
Regarding the spellcasting, spells cast with Fell Power are cast at the level indicated in the class table. For example, at 5th level all of the spells you cast are cast at 2nd level. By 20th level, every spell you cast is 6th level. The spellcasting is similar to what you would see on the Warlock, but with the option to use your Fell Power for other abilities that are comparable to your spells. The ideal strategy for the class is to use your first round to cast a spell to soften up a target and then wade into combat with your Charnel...See more
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Lee B February 13, 2019 9:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Ah, i guess my point was kind of... vague. Why not make this class a bit more like Warlock and seperate fell powers and the dark arcana like how they seperate Invocations and spell slots... Also why tease us with Ray of Fatigue if its not even on our spell list. Also like the 3.5 version of Dread necromancer it'd be nice to be able to add a few Necromancy spells to our list of spells in case we want to customize our spell list a bit.
I turned a dread necromancer into a god level healer in 3.5 by lvl 13, as i had the ability to dump all my hp into a hurt person and then hide in the corner charnel touching myself up to full hp.
Also whats the point of having immunity to necrotic if it later heals us? I mean... That was a feat you had to take in 3.5 to get healed from negative energy. I like the throw back, but if i remember correctly an immunity trumps any weakness or resistance to a thing, so technically wouldn't our body just outright ignore it like any other undead does if we're granted immunity to...See more
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October 24, 2018 7:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is there any way we could get a doc file of this? I want to copy and paste information and cant due to the formatting of the pdf.
Customer avatar
Cody R May 29, 2018 11:44 am UTC
PURCHASER
As a baelnorn do I still get all the feature of the dress necromancer
Customer avatar
David A May 29, 2018 5:35 pm UTC
CREATOR
The Baelnorn replaces Dark Arcana with Elven Arcana and Ritual Sacrifice with Arselu'Tel'Quess. These make the class play a bit more magical and the Nethermancy Dread Calling is designed to support that, but the Baelnorn can choose any of the Dread Callings.
Customer avatar
Cody R May 29, 2018 2:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
So my local dm started very hardcore homebrew campaign and told us we could choose anything from dms guild so I stumbled upon this and I thought it was insanely cool. So we made our characters and he breaks the news that the world we are in has steampunk cabailities with guns etc but most is still normal d&d. most of my party are generally good characters and we’re going for a we are all reliable and friendly thing. My question is do you think it will fit in with the steampunkish vibe and is there a way in your mind to make the necromancer sort of good and not full I wanna watch the world burn
Customer avatar
David A May 29, 2018 10:53 am UTC
CREATOR
It is certainly a narrative possibility that a Dread Necromancer could be good - as long as alignment isn't a force like gravity where evil acts (like raising the dead against their will) cause the accumulation of whatever force turns a character to evil. The basis of the Dread Necromancer's power is a taint of evil that gradually spreads and grows within. As a character, you don't have to embrace that. You can be a tragic good character who uses this vile power out of necessity. You might look at the Baelnorn options - they're much less directly evil.
Customer avatar
Cody C May 25, 2018 4:12 am UTC
Why dose the corpse crafter only get to use animate dead once per day ?? Or did i read it wrong
Customer avatar
David A May 25, 2018 2:01 pm UTC
CREATOR
You read correctly. The limitation prevents the dread necromancer from creating a massive horde. The skeleton or zombie that the spell creates only dies when it is reduced to 0 hp and the remainder of the ability provides options to heal and protect this creature. At 10th level, the undead minion allows you to have undead creatures under your control.

Keeping the numbers of extra creatures added relatively low is important. All those extra actions add up, particularly if you use them creatively. Extra actions and turns to resolve lengthens combat. The intent was to avoid both of those complications but still attempt to provide some thematic fun that was different from the abilities that a Necromancer Wizard acquires.
Customer avatar
Cody C May 25, 2018 10:10 pm UTC
So we can have more the one minion as long as we have the time and items need to make more then one. And that makes since I was just wanting a little more then 3 at lvl 10 to help sheild me if I need it like 5 or 6 would be good with all the buffs you have for them witch are awesome and I love how you have it all set up.
Customer avatar
Scott M May 21, 2018 7:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
What is the proficiency in WIS for? I don't see anywhere it is used for the class. It seems that it should be CON and CHA. The only other things I see are the way you generate the DC checks. They seem kind of random whereas 5e its all pretty much set up as 8+pro+mod.
Customer avatar
Scott M May 21, 2018 8:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also, with tainted vitality do you mean that you add your CON modifier to your AC when wearing light armor in addition to the DEX mod that the armor itself uses? Or is it to replace the DEX mod?
Customer avatar
David A May 24, 2018 7:19 pm UTC
CREATOR
Good questions Scott!
This product and a couple of my oldest titles could do with a little sprucing up. Since they were created a lot of events have helped illuminate the underlying thinking on 5th edition's design perspective - from the addition of new content like subclasses and spells, updates in the form of errata, and greater transparency from the designers. There's a big list of things that, should I ever have time, I plan on polishing for this class.

Until that happens, I think that you should assume that save DCs would default to the standard method and that CON would replace DEX for AC calculations, ignoring any cap that armor would place on DEX.

I don't think that the content as currently presented would break anything, but it is beginning to show its age and I would very much like to give it some attention and updating. The outpouring of support for this product has been great, so you guys deserve a solid reward for that.
Customer avatar
Jeremiah B December 25, 2017 8:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Just a question, shouldn't Charnel Touch be a touch attack and not just a con Save?
Customer avatar
David A May 24, 2018 7:27 pm UTC
CREATOR
Many apologies for the delayed response Jeremiah, and thanks for the question.

As I noted above in my reply to Scott, the expansion of D&D content in the time since this was released has helped clarify and refine my approach to design for the game. I don't have a definite timeline for updating this again (I'm just wrapping up work on JetPack7's Masters and Minions publication and gearing up to work with LoreSmyth on an adventure and possible follow-up to their highly successful Remarkable Inns product), but Charnel Touch is on the list of things that could be updated. Using a spell attack is definitely a more elegant way to deliver the ability, so you can use that for now. The original factor in favoring the saving throw was to allow for a gentle caress, in keeping with the creepiness of this player option. I think that on a redesign, that could be conveyed through flavor text instead and a more streamlined mechanic used.
Customer avatar
Patrick T October 12, 2017 6:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I am looking over the Dread Necromancer and would like to add it to my class pool for my group to pick from. The only issue i worry about is if i have a Dread Necromancer will that take away from the Wizard Necromancy School?
Customer avatar
David A October 12, 2017 8:25 pm UTC
CREATOR
That depends on what draws a character to the Necromancy tradition. The Dread Necromancer has access to very few spells in comparison to the Wizard. Their thematic and flavorful abilities come from their Dread Callings - Corpsecrafters raise undead minions, Plaugebearers toss around disease, and Fearmongers weaponize fright. They are each MUCH more narrow in focus than the Necromancer tradition for Wizards, which means they can do more with their single trick but they have fewer options for versatility. Wizards, by virtue of their spell selection, have more options when it comes to necromancy and can dip their toes into a little bit of everything, ultimately feeling more studied and knowledgable than Dread Necromancers. Dread Necromancers, on the other hand, can never escape their taint and can feel cursed to their fate in some ways. So if your player really only wants to raise legions of the dead, then the Dread Necromancer is going to eclipse the Wizard because of how well it delivers on that premise. But if...See more
Customer avatar
Brim R August 18, 2017 9:36 am UTC
PURCHASER
In the Tainted Vitality feature I'm curious what the intent was to gain resistance against damage from non-magical weapons caused by opportunity attacks. The class seems built around running towards an enemy because nearly all my Arcana and Fell powers are touch attacks. Why would I ever want to leave and provoke an opportunity attack seeing as I have no source of ranged spell attacks or cantrips?
Customer avatar
David A August 21, 2017 9:45 pm UTC
CREATOR
The Baelnorn is a bit less melee-oriented than the standard Dread Necromancer, so the Tainted Vitality feature was tweaked in later iterations to allow for some flexibility in situations where a retreat was called for. Beyond not being particularly useful, do you see any other reasons to modify the feature? I would be greatly interested in hearing how you ended up using the class in gameplay: what abilities you chose, how you've adapted your tactics to work with class features, where you considered multiclassing or using feats or racial abilities to shore up any holes you've found. The Dread Necromancer isn't in active development, but it has received a lot of support and I have some ideas for possible expansion in the future if there is enough interest.
Customer avatar
Brim R August 26, 2017 6:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm playtesting one now in a home game through Curse of Strahd. My character is a human noble (think Patrick Bateman from American Psycho crossed with Ramsay Bolton). The character as it stands is the tank in the party with the following array: 8, 14, 16, 10, 8, 16 giving him 18 AC with only padded armor and the most health in the party.

If you'd like to alter Tainted Vitality I'd make it similar to the Lich Body feature of the 3.5e version: Lich Body: Starting at 2nd level, a dread necromancer begins her journey into undeath. The first symptom is her body's increased resilience to physical harm. She gains DR 2/bludgeoning and magic. As the dread necromancer increases in level, this DR increases in effectiveness, to DR 4 at 7th level, DR 6 at 11th level, and DR 8 at 15th level.

You can change it how you see fit obviously but the concept is similar to the way Heavy Armor Master feat works except it scales by level.
Customer avatar
David A August 28, 2017 2:20 pm UTC
CREATOR
I'll certainly take a look at implementing a modification more in line with DR, but it may take some time before the changes drop on here. The changes will likely coincide with the addition of a vampiric option for the class, so you can look forward to that as well.
Customer avatar
Stijn V June 09, 2017 7:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love the class. But which of the files :(The_Dread_Necromancer_v2.pdf) (Dread_Necromancer.pdf) is the newest version? (they look very similar)
Customer avatar
David A June 10, 2017 6:46 pm UTC
CREATOR
Many apologies for the confusion. I've updated some minor issues and the newest version is The_Dread_Necromancer_v3.pdf. The others are (hopefully) no longer associated with the downloads.
Customer avatar
Stijn V June 15, 2017 10:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you very much!
Customer avatar
Joseph C August 01, 2016 9:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is pretty awesome. This class is really creepy and cool and is something that I really want to play. A lot of the abilities are well done and it seems like a really awesome character.

That being said, it has one very, very big issue...and that's what seems to be an oversight with the Charnel Touch feature. The feature says you make a melee touch attack, but melee touch attacks no longer exist in 5th edition. I assume you meant to say a melee spell attack, since that would let the class use cha for to-hit on the Charnel touch which would make more sense with the ability scores the class needs. Otherwise, you'd be making an unarmed melee attack, which is keyed to strength instead of dex or your casting stat (cha). Since this class gets only light armor and no class features that provide a direct defense against mundane attacks/damage, this renders the class virtually unplayable at level 1 due to crippling multiple attribute dependency, or M.A.D. for short.

You see, most classes in...See more
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File Last Updated:
June 14, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on February 04, 2016.