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Dread Necromancer PF Upgrade


Conversions

Qadira

So I was looking through the Heroes of Horror book as I needed a necromancer, and was about to go with a wizard specialist when a friend suggested the dread necromancer. It sounded exactly like what I needed. However, it's a 3.5 class, and we're doing Pathfinder now.

Looking it over, I see very little that needs to be updated. Mainly the spells. It's already got d6 HD, every level has a special ability granted to it, etc. The only main difference are the skils and the spells at 9th level. Just change the 5 to a 6 at 9th, and take out Concentration, Decipher Script, and Hide, then add in Fly and Stealth. Maybe change the wording of "Negative Energy Burst" to the cleric's "channel negative energy".

Anyone want to add to it?


kevin_video wrote:

So I was looking through the Heroes of Horror book as I needed a necromancer, and was about to go with a wizard specialist when a friend suggested the dread necromancer. It sounded exactly like what I needed. However, it's a 3.5 class, and we're doing Pathfinder now.

Looking it over, I see very little that needs to be updated. Mainly the spells. It's already got d6 HD, every level has a special ability granted to it, etc. The only main difference are the skils and the spells at 9th level. Just change the 5 to a 6 at 9th, and take out Concentration, Decipher Script, and Hide, then add in Fly and Stealth. Maybe change the wording of "Negative Energy Burst" to the cleric's "channel negative energy".

Anyone want to add to it?

If it has the poor BAB the D6 Hit Die is right on. If it has the Cleric BAB you'll need to update it to a D8. Aside from the skills, and adjusting the spells per day, that class should be ready to rock.

I would leave negative energy burst alone. It is what it is. You only need to change Turn/Rebuke/or Command Undead to the clerics energy channeling ability if the class has one of those features.

Honestly, its a very solid class with a Capstone ability. Because it was one of the later books, a lot of the work is already done for you.

If you'd like to get sick and twisted with it, and assuming your the DM, I suggest using Heroes of Horror, The Book of Vile Darkness, Champion's of Ruin, Libiris Mortis and Exemplars of Evil. Just drop those on the table in front of the players before you begin and grab the fabreeze because I almost guarantee if you do that one of the players is going to have a proverbial bowel movement ;)

Qadira

Yeah it really is quite the class. About the only other thing I think should be added here is cantrips. A dread necromancer has none. Even a necromancer should have lvl 0 spells. Especially when a few of his lvl 1 spells are lvl 0 spells for other classes.


Dread Necromancer mostly works right out of the box in Pathfinder. As you said, it already has PF appropriate hit dice, and gains something every level, and the skill conversions are easy enough - I wouldn't give them fly though, as iirc they don't have any spells or abilities that give them flight. There are only a couple of issues to address.

The first is rebuke undead. Dread Necromancer does so as a cleric, so you could simply replace the ability with PF's channel negative energy. However, you should be aware that the CNE ability overlaps a bit too much with the DN's negative energy burst. You could just take NEB out altogether, and maybe give 'Command Undead' as a bonus feat at the level that the Dread Necro would first gain access to it. Iirc, this leaves a couple levels where the DN wouldn't gain a special ability, but that doesn't matter too much since you would still get improved spellcasting at those levels.

Alternatively, you could keep Negative Energy Burst as is (though I would suggest explicitly allowing the ability to not affect yourself if desired), and instead replace 'rebuke undead' with 'command undead' as a bonus feat, in the same way as a Necro Specialist Wizard. You might even keep the number of uses tied to Int as with the wizard, since the DN is already a little SAD. This is a more minimal change, more true to the DN's features as they were.

Finally is the issue of Cantrips. DN's already don't get level zero spells, instead having to burn level one slots to cast those utility spells, so leaving them without cantrips is probably the most accurate conversion. It isn't even without precedent - note the witch and summoner previews, which also don't get cantrips, iirc. It's not like you're going to run out of viable actions to take with an at-will touch attack and martial proficiency, anyway. So, for my money, I'd just leave it be.

Other then that, what remains is their spell list. You'll have to convert a fair number of spells from Heroes of Horror to fill out their list, but it shouldn't be too hard. Just try to tone down death spells to fit with Pathfinder gimmicks, switch out XP costs for component costs as per the conversion guide. Note that a number of HOH spells had slight erratas in the Spell Compendium, and I would recommend using those versions as a starting point where possible.

One thing to be aware of is that Undead in PF have d8 HD and add Cha mod in place of Con mod to HP per level, iirc, which will be a significant buff to any Undead Dread Necromancer. That's fine at level 20, but you should just be aware that if you allow Dread Necromancers to become undead by some other means (for instance, if you are also converting the Necropolitan template to PF and making it player available), an Undead Dread Necromancer will be even more resilient then they were in 3.5. I don't think that breaks them, they're still a much weaker caster then a Wizard or even a sorcerer with well chosen spells, but it is something to keep in mind


This thread is timely as I was JUST about to post a query on this very topic, since I am going to be playing a Dread Necromancer in an upcoming PF game.

My GM for this decided to give Dread Necromancer the Necromancer specialist abilities from Wizard (Channel Negative Energy, Command Undead as a bonus feat, Life Sight at 8th lvl, etc...).

This seems reasonable.

My feeling, though, is that some of PF's focus on flexibility and options should be built into the class. That is, the Dread Necromancer gets the innate boosts to undead they make/control, the path to become a lich, and their spellcasting, but there is little choice involved anywhere beyond feats and the 4 or 5 Advanced Learnings they gain.

This is especially troublesome as, in some games, toting around a shambling army of minions doesn't work well (paladin in party, metropolis-based campaign, etc...). So, I was wondering whether anyone had considered taking some of the class' abilities out and instead giving the Dread Necromancer 2 or 3 options for how it develops.

Just as a rough idea, I was thinking:
-One line that focused on the undead army thing (Channel, Command, the STR/DEX/HP boost and higher control limit)

-One line that focused on necromantic spells (maybe a few special abilities similar to those of the sorcerer's Undead bloodline or cleric's Death domain, and something enhancing their spellcasting in some way)

-One line that focused more on the transformation aspect of the class (DR, healing via negative energy, enhanced scrabrous touch attacks, etc...)

Any thoughts on where to go with this? Whether it's worth doing?

Cheliax

Malisteen wrote:
One thing to be aware of is that Undead in PF have d8 HD and add Cha mod in place of Con mod to HP per level, iirc, which will be a significant buff to any Undead Dread Necromancer.

Just so you know, the Lich template states "All Hit Dice derived fom class levels remain unchanged."


No new thoughts on this?


Mr. Bojangles wrote:
Just so you know, the Lich template states "All Hit Dice derived fom class levels remain unchanged."

Unless you're talking about a PF template I haven't seen, the Lich template in the 3.5 MM mentions "all current and future Hit Dice" and the example is specifically called out as having d12s for HD.


Mr. Bojangles wrote:
Just so you know, the Lich template states "All Hit Dice derived fom class levels remain unchanged."

The Dread Necromancer does not gain the Lich template. The dread necromancer gains a number of abilities specifically listed in its level 20 class feature, none of which are the lich template.

Among them, however, is specifically re-rolling their hit die with d12s. As part of converting them to pathfinder, one could either:

A) leave as is, rerolling the Necro's hit points with d12s. at level 20 this won't exactly be breaking anything, but at the same time you end up with tons more HP then originally intended due to Undead in Pathfinder having bonus hit points based on their cha mod.

B) Change to d8s. This matches the original intent of giving the Dread Necromancer hit points of an equivalent undead creature, but still ends up giving them far more hit points then they would have recieved in 3.5.

C) Do not re-roll hit points. After review, you are right that this is probably the best option. The dread necromancer will still get a ton more hit points from their cha mod. If the lich template doesn't re-work hit dice anymore, there's really no remaining reason to change the hit dice at all.

Again, though, a level 20 Dread Necromancer does not gain the lich template. They gain the Undead type, they have lich-like class features, and they have a phylactery. Presumably the phylactery works as per the Lich template, and I've never seen a DM say otherwise, but by RAW a DM could just as easily rule that it has no actual effect or function, since none is listed for it in the class feature description.


yeti1069 wrote:
Any thoughts on where to go with this? Whether it's worth doing?

I wouldn't bother. The Dread Necromancer past level 5 or 6 is already less powerful then a wizard or even a sorcerer with well chosen spells. What you're describing weakens the class by taking 3 things which the class currently does and only letting the class do one of them at a time.

Part of the elegance of the Dread Necromancer's class design is that it does what it does. You can't really build it wrong, because it's mostly built for you. If you really wanted to expand options, about the only thing I'd recommend would be opening up the advanced learning slots for to non-necromancy spells (perhaps restricting them to one spell level lower).

Anyway, Dread Necromancers can generally work fine in any party that doesn't include a paladin. Permanent undead servants, while useful, aren't even readily available to the class before 8th level, and not long past that you have access to viable storage options, including bags of holding and portable holes.

Paladins in the party? Well, I'd say that's a problem with paladin design, but there's really no getting around it.

I wouldn't give the Dread Necro all the wizard specialist abilities, just the wizard (or oracle) style access to command undead, with channel energy uses for that ability only. Apart from that, it's best to let wizard necromancers have some thematic toys that dread necromancers don't.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
yeti1069 wrote:

My feeling, though, is that some of PF's focus on flexibility and options should be built into the class. That is, the Dread Necromancer gets the innate boosts to undead they make/control, the path to become a lich, and their spellcasting, but there is little choice involved anywhere beyond feats and the 4 or 5 Advanced Learnings they gain.

This is especially troublesome as, in some games, toting around a shambling army of minions doesn't work well (paladin in party, metropolis-based campaign, etc...). So, I was wondering whether anyone had considered taking some of the class' abilities out and instead giving the Dread Necromancer 2 or 3 options for how it develops.

Just as a rough idea, I was thinking:
-One line that focused on the undead army thing (Channel, Command, the STR/DEX/HP boost and higher control limit)

-One line that focused on necromantic spells (maybe a few special abilities similar to those of the sorcerer's Undead bloodline or cleric's Death domain, and something enhancing their spellcasting in some way)

-One line that focused more on the transformation aspect of the class (DR, healing via negative energy, enhanced scrabrous touch attacks, etc...)

Any thoughts on where to go with this? Whether it's worth doing?

I had actually had this exact same thought process, and had come up with a little bit of a build to do just this. Malisteen brings up some very good points, which made me reluctant to post this. However, in the end, I just wanted to have fun trying to come up with a thematic and semi-reasonable build for a Dread Necromancer.

Dread Necromancer

(Replaces Rebuke Undead)
Channel Negative Energy: The Dread Necromancer can channel negative energy as an evil cleric can with two differences- she uses her Charisma modifier for any saving throws and number of times per day it can be used, and she may choose to affect herself with her channeled energy. The latter will become significant later.

1. Two options for first level abilities
1. Selective Channeling: The Dread Necromancer gains the Selective Channeling feat, assuming she can meet the prerequisites.

2. Control Undead: The Dread Necromancer gains the Control Undead feat, assuming she can meet all the prerequisites.

To replace Negative Energy Burst (at 3rd level):

Choose one:
1. Death Within: The Dread Necromancer can temporarily infuse herself with the aspect of Death. During this time she gains +4 to resist mind-affecting effects, sleep effects, poisons, and negative energy effects, her DR from Lich Body becomes 5/bludgeoning and magic, and mindless undead ignore her unless she directly attacks them. She will have no pulse, cannot be made to Bleed, and does not need to breathe (but can if she wants to). She can also opt to look rotted or desiccated. This power can be activated 3 + her Charisma modifier times a day.
This power can be activated two ways; if activated as a swift action, it lasts for a number of turns equal to her class level. If activated using a minute-long ritual, it lasts a number of hours equal to her Charisma modifier, but this activation can only be done once a day and prevents any further use that day. It takes a similar one-minute ritual to end the effect prematurely.
The bonuses grow to +6 to resist and DR 10/bludgeoning and magic at level 10, and +8 to resist and DR 15/bludgeoning and magic at level 15. Note the bonus to resist doesn't stack with Mental Bastion, it overlaps it.

2. Death Without: Undead are treated as their previous creature type with regards to how the Dread Necromancer's spells affect them. For example, a human zombie would be treated as a human, and therefore susceptible to Scare. A skeletal giant would count as a giant, a Dracolich would count as a dragon, etc.
They also gain additional Advanced Learning opportunities at 13th and 18th level.

As an alternative to Scabrous Touch (6th level):

Choose one:
1. Brush With Death: Should the Dread Necromancer have taken the Death Within ability, they may pass it to a willing subject with a touch. That subject gains the abilities and attributes (including the optional withered appearance, chosen by the Necromancer).
Also, when the subject of Death Within takes negative energy damage, they are instead healed for one-quarter of the damage that would have been dealt.
They gain an Advanced Learning opportunity at 11th level.

2. Dread Reach: The Dread Necromancer gains a form of blindsight that can detect only living and undead targets. The Necromancer can only distinguish if the target is living or undead; constructs, oozes and equipment carried by the targets cannot be detected. The targets appear as semi-colorful silhouettes, and can be seen up to a range of 120'. Using this form of sight is a swift action, and turns the Necromancer's eyes black or dull grey. Spells that blind the necromancer have a 50% chance of negating this form of blindsight- blindfolds and shades have no effect. Deafness does not affect the blindsight.
By spending a spell slot one higher than the original, they can attempt to draw a line of effect to match their blindsight. This allows the spell to ignore cover and obscuring objects, but other living or unliving things will block the line of effect as normal.
They gain an Advanced Learning opportunity at 11th level.

3. Scabrous Touch: Unmodified


As an alternative to Summon Familiar (7th level):

Choose one:
1. Master's Champion: The Dread Necromancer may appoint any one undead under her sole control to be her champion. This undead must be controlled and either mindless or willing to be so appointed. This requires a touch and a quick incantation, but grants the undead many benefits. It loses any appetites or diet needs it previously had (such as a ghoul's hunger for flesh or a vampire's thirst for blood), but can still gain benefits from partaking (if any). It gains +1 to attack rolls (+1 per 3 levels of the Dread Nec.), the same in deflection modifier to AC, and 3 additional hit points per hit dice. These last until the Dread Necromancer withdraws the boon, appoints a new champion, or the undead is destroyed. The boon can be withdrawn at any time with a similar incantation (a free action).

2. Dark Talisman: The Dread Necromancer can form a potent talisman of Death. This can take many forms, from a mummified hand, a jar full of eyes, a scroll of skin, an etched chalice, a cursed mirror, all the way to a painted skull on a strap. By brandishing this talisman and reciting eldritch passages, the Dread Necromancer can amplify their spells. While maintaining concentration (a move action) to recite the passages, any spells cast will either be treated as though affected by Heighten Spell with no cost or it will heighten the caster level by 2 levels. Reciting the eldrich passages is necessary for the function of the talisman, but does not interfere with the verbal components of the spell.
Constructing this talisman is a very personal task, and can take hours or days depending on the item. Regardless of its type, materials worth around 100 gp and one day-long ritual to bind the item to the Dread Necromancer's aura are needed.
They also immediately gain an Advanced Learning Opportunity.

3. Summon Familiar: Unmodified.

I offer alternatives to the Scabrous Touch since I barely ever used it when playing my own Dread Necromancer. The alternatives to Summon Familiar was because of the theme from PF for not having to have an animal with you if you didn't want one. All the extra learning opportunities was to help take advantage of all the necromancy splatbooks, and to keep the theme of a spell-driven necromancer.

I'm probably opening myself to a lot of flak, but tell me what you think.


Doesn't seem bad, really (though I haven't looked a it in all that much depth), it just seems... overcomplicated. Again, one of the things I personlly like about the Dread Necromancer is the elegance and simplicity of the class. My changes would be:

In place of rebuke undead:

Command Undead. The dread necromancer gains the 'command undead' feat, using her Dread Necromancer level in place of Cleric Level for the effects. She also gains the ability to Channel Negative Energy that can only be used to activate this feat. She can use the ability a number of times equal to 3 + her Charisma Modifier.

A note added to 'Charnel Touch':

"The Dread Necromancer is not affected by her own Charnel Touch.

A note added to 'negative energy burst':

"The Dread Necromancer is not affected by her own Negative Energy Burst.

A note added to 'Advanced Learning':

"In place of a necromancy spell from the Cleric or Wizard list, a Dread Necromancer may instead add a non-necromancy spell from the wizard list to her spell list. This spell occupies a spell level one higher then normal.

Finally, remove the references to hit points from Lich Transformation, and specify the affects of the phylactory.

Very minimal changes required, and the class works fine.

Rather then put a lot of work into rebuilding the Dread Necro (which, again, isn't necessary), I would recommend coming up with your own necromancy themed class from scratch. Unlike a Dread Necro rebuild, a new class could be submitted to Kobold Quarterly for publication or distributed on the interwebs, or what have you.

Maybe bard casting, undead companion, I don't know. Whatever.


Here, Made an update:

Current update

Armour: Can use all light

HD: 1d6

Skills: Bluff, Craft, Stealth, Linguistics’, Profession, spell craft, use magic device, Intimidate, knowledge arcane, knowledge religion. 2+Int modifier skill points.

Saves: As per sorcerer

Spells: As shown

BAB; as per sorcerer

Lv1: Charnel Touch, Spells, Negative energy Channeling (As per cleric)

Lv2: Craft wondrous Item

Lv3: Advanced Learning, +1 natural amour, DR2 Nonlethal damage/ Slashing or Bludgeoning.

Lv4: Resist 2 Electricity and cold.

Lv5: Advanced Learning, Fear aura

Lv6: DR2 Nonlethal damage/ Slashing or Bludgeoning.

Lv7: Advanced Learning, Summon Familiar

Lv8: Scabrous Touch 1/day

Lv9: Advanced Learning, +3 natural amour.

Lv10: Enervating Touch

Lv11: Advanced Learning,

Lv12: Scabrous Touch 3/day

Lv13: Advanced Learning,

Lv14: Resist 4 Electricity and cold.

Lv15: Advanced Learning,

Lv16: DR6 Nonlethal damage/ Slashing or Bludgeoning

Lv17: Advanced Learning,

Lv18: Enervating Touch

Lv19: Advanced Learning,

Lv20: Lich transformation(No +2 to ability scores)

Notes: I houseruled for charms to work on intelligent undead.

As a result the dread necromancer is a very defencive caster with armour bonuses and immunities higher than on the sorcerer but in the end is still quite balanced


Parka wrote:
yeti1069 wrote:

My feeling, though, is that some of PF's focus on flexibility and options should be built into the class. That is, the Dread Necromancer gets the innate boosts to undead they make/control, the path to become a lich, and their spellcasting, but there is little choice involved anywhere beyond feats and the 4 or 5 Advanced Learnings they gain.

This is especially troublesome as, in some games, toting around a shambling army of minions doesn't work well (paladin in party, metropolis-based campaign, etc...). So, I was wondering whether anyone had considered taking some of the class' abilities out and instead giving the Dread Necromancer 2 or 3 options for how it develops.

Just as a rough idea, I was thinking:
-One line that focused on the undead army thing (Channel, Command, the STR/DEX/HP boost and higher control limit)

-One line that focused on necromantic spells (maybe a few special abilities similar to those of the sorcerer's Undead bloodline or cleric's Death domain, and something enhancing their spellcasting in some way)

-One line that focused more on the transformation aspect of the class (DR, healing via negative energy, enhanced scrabrous touch attacks, etc...)

Any thoughts on where to go with this? Whether it's worth doing?

I had actually had this exact same thought process, and had come up with a little bit of a build to do just this. Malisteen brings up some very good points, which made me reluctant to post this. However, in the end, I just wanted to have fun trying to come up with a thematic and semi-reasonable build for a Dread Necromancer.

Dread Necromancer

(Replaces Rebuke Undead)
Channel Negative Energy: The Dread Necromancer can channel negative energy as an evil cleric can with two differences- she uses her Charisma modifier for any saving throws and number of times per day it can be used, and she may choose to affect herself with her channeled energy. The latter will become significant later.

1. Two options for first level...

I like this.


I did a Dread Necromancer PF version a while back. It's at mediafire.com/ElghinnLightbringer. Its in the Beguiler to Psychic Warrior PDF.


Can't remember what I changed or adjusted. I seem to remember it didn't need too much changing. Certainly could use cantrips, as suggested above.


wraithstrike wrote:
I like this.

Thanks! Let me know how it turns out, if you decide to use it for anything, even just inspiration for abilities for another class.


Elghinn Lightbringer wrote:
I did a Dread Necromancer PF version a while back. It's at mediafire.com/ElghinnLightbringer. Its in the Beguiler to Psychic Warrior PDF.

This link does not work. Another?


So I was unable to sleep and I made this:
Pathfinder: Dread Necromancer

I put a lot of time into it. I blended both the original and added a little bit of pathfinder into it. I took the suggestions from Parka and molded them into somethings I liked a little bit more.

Tell me what you think.


Sorry, here is the new file. The old one is outdated. Also, this one is a PDF:
Pathfinder Dread Necromancer


neceros wrote:

Sorry, here is the new file. The old one is outdated. Also, this one is a PDF:

Pathfinder Dread Necromancer

I really like your conversion. I'm about to use it in an evil campaign.

Just curious, is the spell list updated for Pathfinder?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Since you're going to be using a mix of homebrew / WotC stuff, you may as well take a gander at the Death Mage by SGG.


Cheapy wrote:
Since you're going to be using a mix of homebrew / WotC stuff, you may as well take a gander at the Death Mage by SGG.

This is an interesting class. It reminds me that some classes, even from WoTC material, can be balanced differently than even today's classes.

Thanks for showing me.


I've tweaked the Pathfinder Dread Necromancer a little bit. Flows a bit better and has some corrections.


none of the links work... :(


this is a crappy necro but does anyone have an updated version of this? MY pc wants to be a necro and this seems reasonably balanced so ide like a pdf or something with it Pathfinderized. I dont have quite enough System mastery to do it myself and im having issues with some of the spells.


*looks at original thread date*

Speaking of necros...

It's not a conversion of the 3.5 class discussed here, but the Sacred Necromancer is an interesting necromancy based class. It's 4 dollars for the pdf (as it isn't on pfsrd, at least last time I checked) but I think it was worth it.


http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pkq3?Help-with-Conversion#6


http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pkq3?Help-with-Conversion


have someone definitely converted Dread Necromancer for Pathfinder? If yes, does it work good?

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2q8zn?Dread-Necromancer-Conversion#1
No comments there... is that a good conversion or not?

thanks for the help


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

this has our homebrew stuff. Dread necromancer is inside. It's one of the early pages


thank you for the tip! Is it balanced=?


Could you please take a look at this?

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qxkb?Necromancer


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yes it has been balanced out and has been working well in our games.

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