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11th level evil necromancer dies...


Advice


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...decapitated by the PC barbarian. The PCs loot the body (as PCs will) and then proceed to ignore it.

It occurs to me that an 11th level evil necromancer is a pretty good candidate for rising as an undead.

So: any suggestions as to the type of undead? I don't see his death as being the sort to trigger a ghost. A wight or something would be fine, but the PCs would probably just whack it again -- the barb does just a stupid amount of damage. A spectre or dread wraith, maybe? Ideas?

Doug M.


A caster level of 11 is all you need to create a phylactery and become a lich. Yes, the PCs looted the body, but that doesn't mean the phylactery was on the necromancer when he died...

The phrase "If you strike me down" comes to mind.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

...decapitated by the PC barbarian. The PCs loot the body (as PCs will) and then proceed to ignore it.

It occurs to me that an 11th level evil necromancer is a pretty good candidate for rising as an undead.

So: any suggestions as to the type of undead? I don't see his death as being the sort to trigger a ghost. A wight or something would be fine, but the PCs would probably just whack it again -- the barb does just a stupid amount of damage. A spectre or dread wraith, maybe? Ideas?

Doug M.

THIS


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
dread wraith, maybe? Ideas?

"Worm that Walks" is a template that can be applied at CR+2 and is probably something new and previously unencountered by your players that could be fun.

Otherwise, I'm a fan of anything preceeded by "Dread".


Worm that Walks is a cool idea, but not undead. If you really want to keep the undead flavor I'd say Revenant.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.

I like that.


There are reasons my last group made sure to bury/burn and say a word of pryer over every. Single.Foe.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

...decapitated by the PC barbarian. The PCs loot the body (as PCs will) and then proceed to ignore it.

It occurs to me that an 11th level evil necromancer is a pretty good candidate for rising as an undead.

So: any suggestions as to the type of undead? I don't see his death as being the sort to trigger a ghost. A wight or something would be fine, but the PCs would probably just whack it again -- the barb does just a stupid amount of damage. A spectre or dread wraith, maybe? Ideas?

Doug M.

make him a crappy undead just whole enough to scare the pcs when they see him next and when they pull out all the stops, he dies really quickly


I like the idea of the proposed maggot that walks over a lich. Makes it less "Just as planned, huehuehue," and more "I don't know how I'm still alive, but I', liking it."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
There are reasons my last group made sure to bury/burn and say a word of pryer over every. Single.Foe.

This is a lesson my PCs have yet to learn.

N.B., having bad guys regularly come back as undead is not something I'd do! In fact, I don't think I've done it once yet. (Did have an undead who kept coming back, but that's different.)

But, duuuudes. You just walked away from the body of an 11th level. Evil. Necromancer. It's like I have no choice.

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spacelard wrote:


THIS

I like the idea of a revenant. The only problem is, at CR 6 it'll present no challenge to my (currently APL 8) party.

Int 7, so I can't give it arcane spells. Advanced template gives +1 CR, not enough.

Suggestions?

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

... I like the idea of a revenant. The only problem is, at CR 6 it'll present no challenge to my (currently APL 8) party.

Int 7, so I can't give it arcane spells. Advanced template gives +1 CR, not enough.

Suggestions?...

Just give it higher intel so it can cast spells.

Or
It managed to carry over some of it's favorite spells as spell like abilities so intel isn't necessarily required. (Though the save DC's would prob go down then.)


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Spacelard wrote:


THIS

I like the idea of a revenant. The only problem is, at CR 6 it'll present no challenge to my (currently APL 8) party.

Int 7, so I can't give it arcane spells. Advanced template gives +1 CR, not enough.

Suggestions?

Doug M.

Replace its mental stats with the stats of the dead necromancer and give it his class levels?

The Revenant itself is a melee beast, not a caster; therefore, its abilities wont synergize all that well, but it will be more well rounded this incarnation, and I wouldn't count pure-caster levels as 'key' levels for adding to its CR... so final CR should be around 12, which is pretty epic for APL 8, but not out of the ball park.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.

CR of the target creature +2? That's close to perfect, actually -- he'd be CR 12, a very suitable opponent for them in a level or two when they're APL 9 or 10.

The only tricky bit here is that they killed him in a cold (arctic) setting, without a lot of worms around. Hmmm...

Doug M.


What if he was made up of a bunch of hatchling remorhaz?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Revenant is really awesome for thematic reasons (though I'd hesitate to call the necromancer's death "murder"), but I'd still recommend something like a Worm that Walks, primarily because of...

Doug Walker wrote:
...decapitated by the PC barbarian.

... which tends to be pretty fatal for most humanoid-shaped things, even undead. If it came back as a revenant it would have to find some way to keep its head. That said Dullahans are literally headless horsemen sent directly back from hell to perform certain tasks. And while a Dullahan is CR 7, popping its necromancer levels (+[1/2 level] to CR) with the Necromancer's base scores (or base scores plus the Dullahan "racial modifiers") yields a CR of about 11 (I'm guesstimating).

One other interesting thought is that he could become a reoccurring villain. Perhaps during his time as a worm that walks (or even Dullahan!), he builds his phylactery and becomes a lich. This would be a perfect squick-factor and very memorable villain, as well: his phylactery could be his worms (which discorporate for a time when he's "destroyed", before reforming him a few days later) or even his own previously-severed head (probably kept somewhere nice and safe... also, it's animate and intelligent. It could even be a flame skull or other animated head made by him).

As far as the cold goes... there's nothing that says that his worms have to be "normal", "mundane", or "non-larval" worms...

The first link - a Neolithid (presuming its miniscule spawn are the worms) - would be great to make him a kind of puppet-creature, animated by his magic, true, but also by other forces.

The second - a Remorhaz, which are arctic creatures - makes perfect sense in the arctic situation (depending on the size of their just-hatched in your setting, or how magic works - alternatively, you could just make small versions).

And the third - a Purple Worm - functions pretty much anywhere there's land (again, depending on the size of their spawn, which "pygmy" or "toy" versions aren't unheard of in reality).

Finally, for cold undead, the Winter Wight might be of interest.

One other thing to keep in mind, you don't even have to go by hard RAW rules. The arctic has been linked in our world with extraterrestrial microbial life... so why wouldn't some alien worm-life show up? Also, you could look at the Dullahan or the Winter Wight and reverse-engineer templates from them.

Good luck, regardless!

EDIT: DAGGUMIT, Azten, you ninja'd me by, like, 15 minutes. Well played, sir. Well played... :D


Tacticslion wrote:
EDIT: DAGGUMIT, Azten, you ninja'd me by, like, 15 minutes. Well played, sir. Well played... :D

*ninja smoke bomb*

Always wanted to throw one of those...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, apparently there are some mundane worms that live on glaciers, although they normally feed on glacier algae.

Another option would be to, depending on where the body was left, have the body naturally become preserved in the cold and the necromancer rise again as some kind of mummy. I believe there's some kinda crazy headless mummy variant in one of the recent Jade Regent AP adventures. There's also the dread mummy template from Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary or the various "ancient dead" templates from the 3e Ravenloft stuff.

Another option would be for the necromancer's evil essence to sink into the ice around him and the guy come back as some crazy form of corrupted ice elemental or ice golem. Or perhaps his evil seeped into some of the glacial algae around him and that in turn got into the ice worms, creating a worm that walks by proxy?


Tacticslion wrote:
That said Dullahans are literally headless horsemen sent directly back from hell to perform certain tasks.

I have to agree with Tacticslion here, the Dullahan seems perfect! A vengeful headless necromancer horseman would be right creepy!

Just give it all 11 of its original necro levels, and it'd end up around CR 13 or so, neh?
Hell, for added flavor, replace the fiendish warhorse with an actual Nightmare. Or if you really want to teach them the lesson, make it a Cauchemar Nightmare, so your Headless Necro Horseman has a handy ethereal escape route and hopefully can work its way into a reoccurring enemy of their own making.

Just be sure to have your necro use its newfound knowledge of the PC's (like that barbarian and his 'stupid amounts of damage') to have the right spells prepared for the job. A handy acid pit and a some means of bull rushing him should get him out of the way. (telekinesis would work)

As a PC, I love (to hate) reoccurring bad guys. Be fun if you could make this one of those for your pc's.


There is also the mohrg to consider. Someone who kills a lot of people while alive comes back as something like this. Base CR 8, It wouldn't take much to advance it to be trouble. Also, anything they kill immediately rises up as Fast Zombies, perfect for a former necromancer.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.

CR of the target creature +2? That's close to perfect, actually -- he'd be CR 12, a very suitable opponent for them in a level or two when they're APL 9 or 10.

The only tricky bit here is that they killed him in a cold (arctic) setting, without a lot of worms around. Hmmm...

Doug M.

While worms may not be common, the arctic does have insects. From bees( of all things) to beetles an Arctic region is far from lifeless. Any insect will do really.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.

CR of the target creature +2? That's close to perfect, actually -- he'd be CR 12, a very suitable opponent for them in a level or two when they're APL 9 or 10.

The only tricky bit here is that they killed him in a cold (arctic) setting, without a lot of worms around. Hmmm...

Doug M.

While worms may not be common, the arctic does have insects. From bees( of all things) to beetles an Arctic region is far from lifeless. Any insect will do really.

Alaska has a really bad mosquito problem.

Also, any undead that can create spawn (like my aforementioned mohrg). have it go around killing off a village that the PCs like, the emotional impact would be far greater than a physical threat. And it could spark a quest for a miracle spell to bring them all back.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Spacelard wrote:


THIS

I like the idea of a revenant. The only problem is, at CR 6 it'll present no challenge to my (currently APL 8) party.

Int 7, so I can't give it arcane spells. Advanced template gives +1 CR, not enough.

Suggestions?

Doug M.

You could give it levels of Necromancer in addition to Revenant. That's always a way to bump the CR up some. Increase its Necromancer levels until you hit the desired CR; the experience of dying and transforming may have reduced some of its spellcasting capabilities, but even some lower-level spells and abilities piled on the Revenant can make for a nasty encounter.


Tacticslion wrote:
Doug Walker wrote:
...decapitated by the PC barbarian.
... which tends to be pretty fatal for most humanoid-shaped things, even undead. If it came back as a revenant it would have to find some way to keep its head.

"Others, such as golems and undead creatures other than vampires, are not affected by the loss of their heads." quoted from the SRD entry of the Vorpal weapon ability.

Sign me up for Revenant with class levels and a loosely stitched on head. Or how about a lich, with a detachable skull. Though he would have to have been a lich before the beheading, as they don't rise spontaneously.

Or for something completely different, animate the head only:

Quote:

A disembodied humanoid head speeds through the air toward you. Its eyes and throat glow with a crimson radiance, highlighting its otherwise featureless coal-black skin. The head dives quickly, sharp teeth bared for combat.

Akyanzi are the heads of spellcasters who are slain by a fireenchanted weapon. After slain (and likely beheaded) by victorious warriors, negative energy wells from the caster’s anger at being defeated by a non-spellcaster and animates the head only. Oddly enough, it is not the death of the blade wielder that the akyanzi desires, it is the destruction of the weapon, and to a greater extent, all magic weapons. Without weapons, the undead believes, non-spellcasters cannot hope to achieve positions of power in the world. Obviously, the akyanzi have been less than successful in their quest to eliminate all magical weapons, but this does not dissuade them from trying.

[...]
Since the akyanzi don’t deal any fire damage, the fire subtype is just window dressing for their origin story. In reality, you can keep the stats and either drop or change the subtype to better suit your needs as GM. Perhaps akyanzi in your game come from spellcasters slain by drow weapons, or slain by weapons forged in a specific geographic area.

from the Akyanzi in the Grand OGL wiki


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thanael wrote:
"Others, such as golems and undead creatures other than vampires, are not affected by the loss of their heads." quoted from the SRD entry of the Vorpal weapon ability.

Good to know! Sorry, I missed that. I'm kind of sick and taking medicine, ergo, occasionally a bit out of it right now.

Azten wrote:

*ninja smoke bomb*

Always wanted to throw one of those...

*cough, cough*

"... !!! Wha-?! Where did he go?! I'll get you one day, Strideeeeeerrrrrrr!"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another trick with the head thing might make the guy turn into a penanggalan (though culturally it might be a little bit out of place, and I dunno if it ever made the jump to Pathfinder).

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I would turn him into Albert Wesker.


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kierato wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I like the worm that walks, however as they left him to rot make it maggots. That should mess with them a bit.

CR of the target creature +2? That's close to perfect, actually -- he'd be CR 12, a very suitable opponent for them in a level or two when they're APL 9 or 10.

The only tricky bit here is that they killed him in a cold (arctic) setting, without a lot of worms around. Hmmm...

Doug M.

While worms may not be common, the arctic does have insects. From bees( of all things) to beetles an Arctic region is far from lifeless. Any insect will do really.

Alaska has a really bad mosquito problem.

It might be a bit tricky to justify, but if you really wanted to mess with the PC's heads then you could have your Necromancer be a catapiller that walks. The advantage of this is that instead of being a maggoty monster surrounded by flies, he's surrounded by and able to control butterflies.

Who's going to suspect that they're being spied upon by butterflies? And even if they do a PC could easily think there was a Desnan connection rather than a returning foe.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Headless Horseman? Throw the skull like an alchemist's bomb! Or fireball or flameburst....with half fire, half negative energy...

Or animate the head as a giant spider or something....maybe an upside down head on tentacle-like hair like that thing from the ToM.


Azten wrote:

A caster level of 11 is all you need to create a phylactery and become a lich. Yes, the PCs looted the body, but that doesn't mean the phylactery was on the necromancer when he died...

The phrase "If you strike me down" comes to mind.

See, I like this idea. Maybe he WANTED them to whack him as the final step in his ritual to becoming a lich.

"Events are unfolding exactly as I planned! Bwa Ha Ha Haaaaaaa!!!"


Could a ghost cast Animate Dead on its mortal remains (or Create Undead?)? Shuffle the old bones off to a resurrectionist!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just an update: I haven't brought him back yet, but I plan to for the final campaign arc. He'll be an undead ally of the final boss. I'll post here when it happens!

cheers,

Doug M.

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