Necromancer talents

Written by Martin K.

Angel of Deathloc3 by liangxinxin d8mmum7 crop

There is an otherworldly aura about you, as you walk among mortals as a creature of dark, solemn beauty and perfection. You are the mortal shell of an Angel of Death, with a mission to bring those closer to death who aim to defy it.

Unlike other necromancers, you use Charisma instead of Intelligence for your necromancy spells, and you don't have the Wasting Away class feature. You gain the Angelic True Self power.

 Angelic True Self

Quick action; Close-quarters spell; Once per battle

Effect: You grow black raven wings that allow you to fly until the end of your next turn.

Adventurer Feat: You immune to non-damage effects of enemy attacks for the duration.

Champion Feat: For one battle per day, increase the duration to until the end of the battle.

Epic Feat: You also gain a fear aura equal to your level. (see Monster abilities)


Your necromantic powers gave you a thirst for blood. You smell it from across the room. The beating of a young, fresh heart causes a throbbing sensation in your head. You need to drink.

Every day, you must drink a cup of fresh blood from any living being, or your maximum number of recoveries is reduced by two after the next full healup. Old, stale blood can't make up for more than one recovery.

You gain a 5-point Bloodseeker background that represents your supernatural ability to detect nearby living beings.

Increase the critical threat range of your necromancer spells by 2 against any living being that bleeds, typically aberrations, beasts, dragons, giants, and humanoids.

Adventurer feat: When you score a critical hit with a spell that has a save ends effect, increase the save difficulty to hard (16+).

Champion feat: Once per battle, when you score a critical hit with a spell, you can spend a recovery to heal.

Epic feat: When you score a critical hit with a spell that is not at-will, you don't expend it.

Corrupted Sorcerer

Sorcerers develop an inner gift and often lack the formal training that steers wizard apprentices off the dark arts. This makes them susceptible to the temptation of the Lich King. Once they fall, there is often no return.

You can choose one sorcerer spell instead of a necromancer spell as a remnant of your innate magical talent. You can change this spell for a new one you know whenever you take a full heal-up.

Adventurer feat: Once per day, you can Gather Power as a sorcerer. You gain the damage boost with both sorcerer and necromancer spells.

Champion feat: You gain a bonus sorcerer spell that is at least two levels below your level, in addition to the spells you can cast as a necromancer.

Epic feat: You gain a second bonus sorcerer spell, but this one can be of your level or lower.

Dark Dedication

Even a dark art like necromancy knows hacks and amateurs and true artists. Your wilting body does not come from irresponsible dabbling with power mortals were not meant to wield, but strenous but dedicated study. Night after night you spent hunched over dusty tomes and gnarly parchments, hidden away from a society that will never truly appreciate the gift that you have been bestowed by the dark gods.

You gain a 5-point background reflecting your occult study. In addition, you gain a free feat of your current tier each level that you can spend on necromancer spells.

Champion feat: Once per day, reroll an attack with a necromancer spell.

Epic feat: You gain an additional necromancer spell, at two levels below your current level.

Eternal Tormentor

You cannot choose both this talent and the Redeemer talent.

You take perverse pleasure from taking command over restless spirits, bending their will and directing their anger towards your enemies. Your spells are twisted and painful for every soul under your control, and in return they rattle their chains even harder.

Undead you summon deal extra damage equal to your level on a hit.

However, if an undead you summoned rolls a natural 1 on an attack, your control slips and it is free to act as it pleases. It is immune to any attempt to regain control, such as with Command Undead. Some summoned creatures might just flee, but most will turn back at their tormentor.

Champion feat: If you spend a quick action to allow a summoned undead to benefit from the escalation die, it gains a +2 bonus to its critical threat range that round.

Floating Skull

All necromancers suffer from their bodies slowly rotting away, but you have reached the point where you are a merely a floating skull.

Obviously this has far-reaching implications, so use your common sense. If you're the type who needs a written rule for everything, say, whether a skull can drink wine or healing potions, skip this talent.

As a floating skull, you are undead, you can fly, you don't eat, sleep or breathe. You cannot use mundane or magic items unless you can put them on your head or between your teeth. Your unarmored base AC is increased to 13, and you gain a +3 bonus to disengage checks. You have glowing eyes that can serve as a weak, eerie light source.

You can (literally) reskin this talent as a decapitated head, a shrunken head, an animated voodoo doll, a brain in a jar, a ghostly apparition, or a possessed object.

Adventurer feat: You can attach yourself to zombies and skeletons you summon. Whether that's a good idea is a different question.

Champion feat: You gain a +1 bonus to MD and PD, mainly because there isn't really much to target.

Epic feat: You are immune to critical hits.

Leeching Thirst

Your thirst for blood and life breaks the boundaries of your own body, and sucks it from those around you.

When you heal using a recovery, you can make a free Charisma + level vs. PD close-quarters attack against a nearby enemy as a free action. If you hit, you deal damage equal to the amount of the recovery, and heal additional hit points equal to the damage dealt. An ally can volunteer to let you drain him or her instead.

Adventurer feat: If you are engaged with the target, you gain a +2 bonus to hit.

Champion feat: The attack deals half damage on a miss.

Epic feat: On a hit, you create a link between you and the target that gives you a +2 bonus on your next necromancer spell attack against it.

Necrotic Knight

You were a mighty warrior once, a soldier, or even a noble, a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. But that was your youth, a long gone memory, a past life. You have been consumed by the dark, and while the strength left your body, you gained strange, cursed powers. You would no longer beat a skilled swordsman in a fair fight, but then, you no longer fight fair.

You lose one necromancer spell slot and start with three instead. In return, you gain a +2 bonus to AC, take no attack penalties for heavy armor or any weapon or shield, and your base hit points increase to 7.

Adventurer feat: You can use Intelligence for attack and damage with melee attacks.

Champion feat: On a hit with a melee basic attack, you deal additional necrotic damage equal to your level.

Epic feat: On a critical hit with a melee basic attack, you deal ongoing necrotic damage equal to 5 times your level.

Skullstaff Shaman

In your tribe, all beings are considered part of the natural environment they are in. This includes not just plant life and mundane animals, but also supernatural creatures and the undead. The shamanistic magic you practise does not distinguish between powers of life and of death.

Use Wisdom instead of Intelligence as the ability score for your Necromancer spellcasting.

During a full healup, select one of your spells from the Druid's Terrain Caster list instead. Choose a once per battle or daily spell from the terrain you are currently in.

Adventurer feat: You gain three points towards a background that represents your shamanistic training.

Champion feat: You can choose the at-will spell of that terrain instead.

Epic feat: You can choose a second terrain spell, at a -2 penalty to the spell level, which does not count against your daily spell limit.

Spectral Hand

Despite your fragile, wilting frame, you prefer to get up close with your foe until you see the white in their eyes. Your gnarly fingers pulsate with necrotic energy as they deliver a sinister spell to their chest.

You can cast your ranged attack spells as a melee attack that targets the same defense. This does not provoke opportunity attacks.

After casting a melee attack spell, you take on a vaguely spectral form, and gain resist all damage 14+ until the end of your next turn.

Adventurer feat: You can use an at-will attack spell when granted a melee basic attack or opportunity attack.

Champion feat: Increase the damage resistance to 16+.

Epic feat: In spectral form, you can levitate and gain a +5 bonus to disengage checks.


Necromancy is a widely despised form of magic. Many practitioners hide their art and try to wrap it in a way that attracts as little attention as possible. You don't. You revel in your evil reputation. You flavor your spells with ominous chants, flying skulls and dripping blood. When you target an enemy, you try to inflict as much pain and disgust as you can. Your summoned creatures are horribly disfigured, the stuff of nightmares.

After you cast a daily spell, all nearby enemies whose current hit point total is lower than yours are affected by fear (-4 to attacks and no escalation die) until the end of your next turn.

Champion feat: Add 20 to the affected hit point range.

Underworld Madness

Your mind has crossed the barrier between life and death once to often. Most of the time, you are able to compose yourself, although you let slip the occasional mad cackle and a few overly paranoid remarks. Only when you call upon your true power, you are in danger of losing it.

Before you cast a daily necromancer spell, roll a d10. If the result is equal to the escalation die or lower, you give in to madness until the end of the battle.

While in madness, you roll 2d20 for each of your necromancer spells attacks. Use the highest die as your attack roll, but track whether the other die hits. For each die that misses, you take damage equal to double the spell level.

Adventurer feat: Any undead you summoned are also affected by the madness. They roll 2d20 for their attacks, but take damage equal to the summoning spell level for each failed roll.

Champion feat: You can choose to be weakened until the end of your next turn instead of taking the damage.

Epic feat: You can choose to roll a 1d4 or a 1d20 instead to check whether the ability activates.

Visions of Death

You often seem distant, as your eyes constantly gaze into both mortal reality and the realm of death. You perceive the dead as they walk among the living, even if they are unseen by other mortals.

As death is timeless and eternal, you can sometimes receive visions of events where a being steps from one realm into the other, even if that event is in the past or still in the future in the mortal time line. You can perceive how someone died by touching the body, although the scene can be inconclusive. If you concentrate, you can foretell if a foolish action such as touching the wrong statue in a crypt would lead to imminent death. These visions can be disturbing and unwanted. There are days where you just want to buy a sword without learning it's entire history of brutal slaughter, or shake someone's hand without a scene of their brutal murder three years later playing in your head.

During battle, death is imminent and strikes from any direction. It costs all the concentration you can muster to stop the visions from overwhelming you. Outside of battle, however, you are sometimes able to perceive a threat immediately before it happens and step in. In such a situation, make a hard save (16+). On a success, you can step in and attempt to save yourself or someone you care about.  

Adventurer feat: The save to intervene is a normal save (11+).



Art credit: Liang Xin

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