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Rise of the Necromancer

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Suggested Price $0.00

Now a PLATINUM seller! And over 52,000 downloads - Holy avernus thank you all so much!

Thank you all for the continued support with this one shot - in the top 40 most popular of "pay what you want" titles. This is amazing I am eternally greatful!

Rise of the Necromancer is a beginners quest for D&D 5e players and DM's offering a descriptive setting and an easy to follow quest with some unique twists and game features I decided to implement to add another layer of gaming to an already amazing RPG. I have intended it for new DM's and players starting out up to Level 5 although the difficulty can be modified to compensate as seen fit.

Any critisism is welcome and I hope you enjoy the content.

Download size = 41.3mb

V3 - Now has a prequal to the adventure campaign as well as fixing some small grammar and gameplay issues. I've added a small authors note section.

I will say the maps on this module are not great - I did intend to revisit and renew them but in getting a new PC ive lost my photoshop files and so would have to make them from scratch which I do not have the time to do. The maps in the rest of the series are of much better quality and print much better than the ones in this free module.

see the sequal - The Underling's Awakening https://www.dmsguild.com/product/269090/The-Underlings-Awakening and the final conclusion to this Mini Campaign - Empire of the Underling https://www.dmsguild.com/product/290402/Empire-of-the-Underling?term=empire+underl

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Reviews (25)
Discussions (35)
Customer avatar
Joey K April 07, 2024 11:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I played this, and the second module with my group. They absolutely loved it! The setting to get the party together is amazing, to the final boss battle in the first module. The second was amazing by far, and my party of 4 completed both modules in one long session. I would highly recommend this!
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Customer avatar
Craig R April 12, 2024 8:01 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Joey, thanks for the kind words and I'm glad you and your party enjoyed yourselves. I hope you are able to get a shot at he third instalment and find many more hours of fun and adventure in the fight against he Underling!
Customer avatar
JP W November 12, 2023 12:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello Craig! I am considering getting this entire trilogy of works...My group is three level 10s. What advice would you give and what changes would you recommend for that lvl of players?
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Customer avatar
Craig R November 24, 2023 10:43 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey JP, sorry for the late reply - I'd say for the first 2 modules you would have to beef up the encounters and damage from environmental dangers. Substitute the enemies I have stated with stronger ones from the monster manual or any other source you like and as for the bosses - beef them up HP and damage output wise + give them some invulnerable saves x3 but keep their personas etc. If you have some old character sheets around level 10 id suggest using old friends as enemies to save you time. Also don't be afraid to add in some more traps or side quests to diminish your party's healing/supplies to make the questing harder. Alternatively you can keep the modules as is and play on the fact your PC's will be monstrously overpowered and steamroll the opposition - which I've found in the past can lead to some extra funny roleplay opportunities when the enemies talk a big game and then get stomped on.

You know your party and what would fit best so I cant give any specific recommendations - but as I always...See more
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JP W November 25, 2023 4:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I appreciate the reply Craig! I will most certainly take the advice you have given and put it into the mix of things and do the beefing up of monsters and such. And with this reply, I am purchasing "Rise of The Necromancer!" Keep up the great work, and bring us even more wonderful product in the near future!
Customer avatar
Charlie L October 07, 2023 11:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I'm planning on running this oneshot for my family soon but they all speak french so I will have to translate it. Would you be interested in getting the translation or would you be okay with me sharing it so other french speakers could play it too?
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Customer avatar
Craig R October 07, 2023 11:43 am UTC
CREATOR
Bonjour Charlie, you are more than welcome to share it amongst your fellow French speaking gamers as long as you pass my name onto them. Bon jeu :)
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Charlie L October 07, 2023 12:58 pm UTC
PURCHASER
great, thanks!
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Oscar K October 02, 2023 11:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Craig, Im a new DM and am thinking of running this for some friends i have DM'd once before and some new people that havent played before. I see that this adventure says its for players up to level 5. Does this mean they should start at level 1 and get to level 5 by the end? I am expecting there to be either 5 or 6 players. What would you suggest?
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Customer avatar
Craig R October 02, 2023 11:32 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Oscar - this one shot can easily be done by 5 or 6 level 1 players however I would stick to the script and level them up sooner than later as level 1 players are quite squishy when a boss can take them out with one blow easily.

Hope this helps and have fun!
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Oscar K October 02, 2023 1:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Ok thanks for the info! I havent finished reading the whole adventure yet but does it tell me in the adventure when I should level up the characters or is it supposed to be level based? I was also thinking maybe increase them by a level each part but with 5 or 6 people they may get too powerful that way. Thanks for your help!
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Customer avatar
Craig R October 02, 2023 1:43 pm UTC
CREATOR
It doesnt say specifically, I left that open to DM's discretion depening on if they sre doing exp based levelling or story base levelling. A party your size should be able to manage until defeating the mini boss (Necro-Spectre) at level 1. Make sure your players are prepared to level up at some point in the game as it can be time consuming when mid play. Id then level them to 3 (as thats when the game becomes much more fun for players picking archetypes) after defeating the main boss at the end.
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Oscar K October 02, 2023 1:48 pm UTC
PURCHASER
OK great. Thank you for this! I assume this means going into the next part of this series the party would be level 3?
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Customer avatar
Craig R October 03, 2023 9:02 pm UTC
CREATOR
Not quite - you could do some other Quests/tasks to level the players up a bit more before moving onto the next module. Perhaps some quests that take them to the next location of where the underlings awakening takes place to level them up a bit for the next "story" quest. Hope this helps :)
Customer avatar
Ivan M January 14, 2023 12:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
Are there maps without the numbers for the rooms on them? Especially the Shrine map. Im using a VTT and it will ruins the whole thing when the players are seeing the numbers.
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Customer avatar
Craig R January 17, 2023 5:59 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Ivan, I have edited and uploaded the maps so there is no numbers overlay - give the site a few hours and they should be available shortly - hope I have managed to sort this out for you in time! Happy gaming.
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Ivan M February 19, 2023 11:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you i appreciate it!
Customer avatar
Solène L July 18, 2022 9:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hello Craig, thank you for this adventure !
Just ran it yesterday: first time playing for two of the players, and they absolutely loved it. So mission accomplished I guess!
It was a really nice scenario for beginners, allowing them to discover the rules as they advanced, and being comfortable with the game by the time they reached the more difficult parts.

It was quite a long session of about 5 hours, partly because they needed some game mechanics explanations as we went. But mostly because they role-played a LOT. The scenario allowed for a lot of character reactions on their part, and they got so invested, which made the final combat really epic :D

I very slightly lowered the difficulty by the end. I went a bit easy with the horde part (following the suggestions). I also lowered the ghouls HP because the characters were starting to struggle, and I wanted them to have a chance for the following combat. But I didn't have to tweak too much. It was certainly intense for them...See more
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Customer avatar
Craig R July 21, 2022 9:57 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you Solene for your kind words. I have done my best to keep this module (and the following ones) relatively simple yet interesting so hearing hat two more new players have enjoyed their first time rolling the dice at the table. Keeping the pace short and having a descriptive setting helps immerse newer players into the worlds we create and so I try to be as vivid as possible.

Love the enthusiasm for role playing - makes the game seem more real :)

Great knowing you were easily able to tweak the difficulty -I know first hand how easy it is to accidently get a low level player killed when they are still soft and squishy. Hopefully the near death experience will make them more cautious in the future, lessons learned lol.

Please feel free to let us know how the rest of the campaign goes. Happy gaming.
Customer avatar
KG P March 14, 2022 12:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
Much thanks to the author. I am a beginning DM and my group and I had a blast with this one shot! I am in need of suggestions... I have a necromancer in my party who is very into his character. He collected the Diary, and intends to learn from it and use it. There's not much detail on what it contains, and I told him it was written in some kind of code and it would take him some time to learn it's secrets. I'm not exactly sure how to go about this, but I'd like for the diary to be something he has to work on, and de-code and study as an ongoing thing. How should I go about this?
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Customer avatar
Craig R March 14, 2022 5:43 am UTC
CREATOR
Nice work stalling for time until you can figure out what to do with this oppertunity! This is a perfect opertunity to expand on the lore behind the scenes, I wont tell you precisely what is in the diary but suffice to say - the necromancer is very keen to ramble. Much of it will be reminising over setbacks in his "research" however to balance the game out your player could for each level block (ie 2-5 and 5-10) "decipher" a small buff to his existing spells (for example any spells cast from the necromancy school last 1d4 longer or do 1d4 more damage etc. Moving on from this i will leave entirely up to you, if you want to just increase this dice limit (onto a 1d6 then a 1d8 etc) then that is the simple solution.

You could try your hand at coming up with an entirely new spell (or even re word an existing spell) and giving the player access to it all the time (instead of on thier prepared list of spells for the day). You could also let the player change their arcane focus to this...See more
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KG P March 16, 2022 6:51 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks! I had thought about coming up with new spells for him, but the idea of slightly buffing his existing spells hadn't occured to me. I downloaded Underling's Awakening, and with the titilating cliffhanger at the end of RotN they're eager to continue. I've only read through it once so far, but i figure I'll just download part3 and glean all I can from the necromancers ultimate goal. One other question I have... 3/4 of my players decided to... keep one or more of the souls in the jars after setting the rest free... I just think i may need to research more spells to figure out if there's a way they'll be useful.
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Customer avatar
Craig R March 16, 2022 7:08 am UTC
CREATOR
Interesting choice from the characters to keep some of the souls in the jars, perhaps you could use them as a "tracker" for the underling to keep tabs on the party ? Other than that maybe they could become the souls or spirits of familiars to the party, maybe with some attitude or varying personalities to the thought of being subjugated by a necromancer and now the characters.

Glad you are all enjoying the story and I hope you get many laughs and hours enjoyment from it :)
Customer avatar
Pharazi F January 27, 2022 4:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I would really like to DM this; could you let me know approximately how long this adventure takes in real time? Also, if I use the other installments of your adventures, about how long would the whole adventure take?
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Customer avatar
Craig R January 27, 2022 5:09 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Pharazi, this module should be easily doable as a one shot of a couple of hours. The second one takes maybe 2 -4 sessions of a few hours and the final module can take upwards of 8 sessions each a couple of hours long depending on how efficient your players are. Hope this helps :)
Customer avatar
Shayne L September 10, 2021 6:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm in the process of starting a tabletop gaming podcast and was wondering if I could use this adventure in the first episode, and maybe use its sequels in future episodes. I saw at the end of the PDF that it was for personal use only and wasn't to be used for financial gain without your consent, so I wanted to ask you in case the podcast ends up making money in the future. I promise to give you full credit for creating them.
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Customer avatar
Craig R September 10, 2021 2:01 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Shayne, I'm absolutely flattered you would like to use my campaign for your podcast and you have my blessing to use it. As long as you arent selling it directly using it for entertainment is fine by me. Good luck and if you dont mind could you post a link to it - would quite like to see how it goes :)
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Shayne L September 10, 2021 5:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you. Before I do the episode, can you explain how the storm works? It says it lasts five turns, but does that mean five turns one after another or five turns for each player?
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Customer avatar
Craig R September 10, 2021 5:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
5 rounds (as if fighting an enemy). So each player gets 5 chances to get thier gear.
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Shayne L September 10, 2021 5:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks. You may want to edit the PDF to say the storm lasts five rounds instead of five turns.
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Brendan D May 17, 2021 4:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Craig :)
This sounds like a great adventure. I'm planning on running this in between campaign arcs for a group in which I am normally a player (swapping places with the regular DM for a session). It will be my first time DMing. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. The party at this time will consist of 3 players, all level 5. What adjustments, if any, would you recommend making to accommodate them being on the upper end of the suggested level range?
Thanks for making this available, it's a great piece of work.
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Customer avatar
Craig R May 17, 2021 4:46 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Brendan, glad you like the look of this short module. Your players are quite high level for the enemies as it stands. Even putting them against multiple skeletons wouldnt be much of a challenge so id suggest finding something from the monster manual or even descent to avernus campaign to substitute from one of the middle chapters. Pretty much anything fits in with the theme and as for the boss - pick a strong warlock from a previous campaign you have ran and have him "possessed" by the underling.

These are just some ideas for you. Let us know how it goes or if you want specifics. I dont want to take the spotlight from what will be your first shot behind the screen. As the module says - you can never be wrong as DM. Just make it up and have fun :)
Customer avatar
Bob M February 22, 2021 7:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, I'm going to be running this with a group of 4, and I have a few questions. I understand the level range is 1-5, but is there a recommended level to have the party be at to make it a comfortable challenge? Also, how long should I expect this mini-story to run? I'm hoping to only require one session, but I'd like to know if I should be expecting multiple.

Thanks!
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Customer avatar
Craig R February 22, 2021 8:07 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Bob, thanks for taking an interest in the module. It is well within the realms of possibility to get it done in one 4 hour session. If your players linger too long you can always hurry them on by having the cave partially collapse. As for levels- its all about how proficient your players are. If they are new recruits then get them to level 2 as soon as you can as level 1 characters are very fragile. If they are veterns of the game then level up as you normally would throughout the adventure. Personally when ive ran this my players started at level 1 and were usually level 3 or 4 by the time it was done. I find getting through those first few levels makes a whole campaign run smoother as the players get to explore their characters and abilities quicker ... hope this helps and have fun :)
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Bob M February 22, 2021 8:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That helps greatly, thank you so much for the quick reply! I think I'll start them at level 1 for simplicity but have them be a bit stronger at the end, like you said. Thanks again!
Customer avatar
Rambler J February 05, 2021 4:24 am UTC
PURCHASER
A friend of mine discovered this module, brought it to my attention and we had no intention of going past the 1st session, let alone 6. This has turned into the start for a larger campaign. Couldn't be happier with this and will now go find that continuation.
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Craig R February 07, 2021 1:30 am UTC
CREATOR
Hello Rambler, thanks for the words of praise - hope you enjoy the next modules and it all fits in nicely to the story you guys are taking part in :)
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Casey P January 30, 2021 5:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Could use a synopsis in the description.
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Customer avatar
Craig R January 30, 2021 9:26 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Casey- if you look at the preview It gives a good overall outline of the story. If you are wanting a breakdown of all the sections and encounter just download it. Its a free module after all :)
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Casey P April 10, 2021 5:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Fair.
Customer avatar
Luke L August 12, 2020 8:40 am UTC
PURCHASER
I played this adventure as my first ever DMing recently. I used this as a sort of intermediary adventure. The hook at the start of the session was actually for the adventure "Accursed Apple Twists" with Honeywell being along the way to the village in the other adventure. There were 4 lvl. 5 players. I knew the adventure as is would've been way too easy for them, so I added some difficulty by doing the following:
In the Storm: rolled 1d6 (roll of 5/6 hit a tree) at the start of each round to see who would get hit by green lightning for 1d6 lightning + 1d4 necrotic damage.
Dex check to get through the rough, slippery terrain to the cavern entrance, 1d4 damage from "dagger rain" if failed. 5 rounds of running in order to get to the cavern entrance (so some made it to the cavern a few rounds later than others). I did allow them to help each other, letting them roll Advantage.
A Violet Fungus in the cavern entrance (but too easy).
Used Skeletons from the Monster Manual....See more
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Customer avatar
Craig R August 14, 2020 4:38 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Luke, thanks for the in depth analysis for everyone looking for tweaks to make it harder. Love the little twists and turns to make this adventure your own they are a great addition to the backbone adventure I created. I only play D&D with two players these days so if my encounters seem to easy then be sure to step it up a notch. I also DM my games to be fun - minions are cannon fodder and so when they are defeated easily my players feel like the heroes they should be - the real tests are when the boss battle starts in my opinion otherwise players focus too much on just surviving rather than enjoying themselves (unless that's what you're going for eh!).

Glad you and your party enjoyed it and look forward to hearing your reports on the next instalment.

Go get at it!
Customer avatar
Kiko Q August 05, 2020 5:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! this one shot adventure is going to be my first DM experience, I just want to ask if there's a map for the battle with the necromancer or is the picture in the PDF it?
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Customer avatar
Craig R August 10, 2020 4:23 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Kiko, sorry there is no stand alone battle map for the necromancer fight - i lost all my data when i upgraded my laptop and all my map files too :( ... if you are struggling with that print off a grid onto a4 paper and try your best to draw out a rough map. In my experience any map is better than none if your players like using them so give it a go. If in future I get spare time i will make individual battle maps for this adventure.
Customer avatar
Vebjørn H May 09, 2020 10:02 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I'm planning on starting of a new campaign with this module, and it says it's meant for starting characters up to level 5. Does this mean that they start on level 1 and progress to level 5, or that they should be between level 1 and 5? Just need some clarification.

Thanks in advance!
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Customer avatar
Craig R May 09, 2020 11:06 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi there Vebjørn, preferably they could start at level 1. Level 3+ characters will find it very easy (unless you make enemies much tougher). However if you have higher level players and just want to use this as an introduction to the canpaign there is no harm in giving them a nice fun, easy adventure to start with. Hope this helps!
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File Last Updated:
January 17, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on February 20, 2019.