Hello there, I'm working on a new character for one of the very rare opportunities I get to actually PLAY the game, as I spend most of my time on the other side of the GM's screen.
I've finally settled on a tiefling sorcerer and I'm really thinking I'll go toward the undead bloodline, as it works with my character concept. The problem is that I really am at a loss for how to build this character to be effective in combat. I considered picking up an early level or so of monk, so that I would be more effective in close combat, figuring that the added AC bonus and unarmed skill would synergize well with the touch spells found in early necromancy, but I'm not certain that it would actually be as effective as if I just went pure sorcerer to up my magical power. I had also considered a dash of rogue, as I've rarely found a situation where a little more stealth and sneak attack didn't help out.
So I suppose the question is this: is it possible to create an effective necromantic style sorcerer, or is necromancy too weak to be the focus of a sorcerer's spell list.
One of my friends was trying to play a Necromancer, and as he was new, didn't know all of his options. I ended up reading up on all the different Necromancer options.
Without forcing you to read all I sent him (it was quite long), assuming all the options for a Necromancer, the Sorcerer with the Undead bloodline just wasn't as viable as a Necromancy specialist as the rest. Cool abilities, he just didn't have lots of undead hordes as the rest.
On the other hand, re-reading what I wrote, an oracle with the bones mystery or a cleric were a lot better off. Each got Animate dead quicker and no limits on their spell selection, as well as armour, decent attack bonus and other cool abilities.
Since you're a tiefling, you're also missing out on the Infernal Bloodline bonus as a Sorcerer as well. You can still make a Undead bloodline sorcerer, just make sure you don't take only necromancy spells so that you are still viable.
There's a specific bonus for tiefling sorcerers with the infernal bloodline? Where might I find that printed?
Hey, what do you know, right in front of my face!
Fiendish Sorcery: Tiefling sorcerers with the Abyssal or Infernal bloodline treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer class abilities.
It does make the Abyssal and Infernal bloodlines more interesting. Granted it doesn't really jive with being a Necromancer, however the bonus does have some synergy with being a Tiefling Sorcerer.
Some of the necromancy spells can be quite the combat changer! Ray of enfeeblement has taken down its fair share of brutes. As far as making a combat effective sorcerer; sorcerers are a support class. This means buffing party members, debuffing enemies, or slinging damage. Necromancers focus on debuffing enemies. Even at lower levels. Just toss your sorcerer mage armor to help bolster up that AC and take advantage of the powers of necromancy.
Grave Touch gives you a likely moment of reprieve. An enemy gets up in your face, grave touch, he's shaken, touch him again next round (if he has fewer HD than you) he's frightened, and that means running away.
Take into account the bonus feat list of the Undead Bloodline, they get to pick things like Diehard, Endurance, Toughness. Those three always help bolster one's combat effectiveness.
At low level campaigns,cause fear creates a major opportunity to deal damage without taking damage.
Once you get 2nd level spells, blindness/deafness can take the umph out of opponents along with false life giving yourself more umph. Necromancy also gives you spectral hand which delivers touch attacks for you, this means for 1 min/level, you can deliver touch attack spells of 4th level or lower at long range. Huzzah! You don't have to be right in your enemies face to be effective with those touch spells necromancy gives anymore!
As you work your way up the spell levels in necromancy, you get more and more options, once you can do 4th level spells, you can start increasing your combat effectiveness even more by using undead under your control! Bestowing curses to further weaken your enemies, and it just gets better from there!
The other thing you can do is take the Infernal or Abyssal bloodline, take the Skill Focus (Knowledge (religion)), and at level 3 take Eldritch Heritage.
Eldritch HeritageYou are descended from a long line of sorcerers, and some portion of their power flows in your veins.
Prerequisites Cha 13, Skill Focus with the class skill of bloodline selected for this feat (see below), character level 3rd.
Benefit: Select one sorcerer bloodline. You must have Skill focus in the class skill that bloodline grants to a sorcerer at 1st level (for example, heal for the celestial bloodline). This bloodline cannot be a bloodline you already have. You gain the first-level bloodline power for the selected bloodline. For purposes of using that power, treat your sorcerer level as equal to your character level -2, even if you have levels in sorcerer. You do not gain any of the other bloodline abilities
And it gets better! There's also the follow up feats of Improved Eldritch Heritage (which can be taken at character level 11), and Greater Eldritch Heritage (which can be taken at character level 17). This allows you to basically have the powers of two bloodlines, one works effectively at two levels lower, but that's not a bad trade off.
Another option as well: also from Ultimate Magic, is the sorcerer archetype, Crossblooded. Its found on page 69, and allows you to mix two bloodlines together.
Crossblooded (Archetype)A crossblooded bloodline combines the powers of two distinct heritages. In most cases, sorcerers with this bloodline are the offspring of two sorcerers from different ancestries, but occasionally a crossblooded sorcerer arises from the conjunction of other powers. A draconic sorcerer who is also the culmination of a great destiny, an abyssal sorcerer from a family that dealt with devils, and an arcane sorcerer raised from birth by fey are all possible sources for crossblooded bloodlines.
A crossblooded sorcerer selects two different bloodlines. The sorcerer may gain access to the skills, feats, and some of the powers of both bloodlines she is descended from, but at the cost of reduced mental clarity and choice (see Drawbacks).
Class Skill: A crossblooded sorcerer receives the bonus class skill from both of her bloodlines. If these are the same skill, this does not grant any additional benefit.
Bonus Spells: A crossblooded sorcerer may select her bonus spells from either of her bloodlines. The sorcerer also has the choice to learn a lower-level bonus spell she did not choose in place of the higher-level bonus spell she would normally gain. Lower-level bonus spells learned this way always use the spell level that they would be if the sorcerer had learned them with the appropriate bonus spell.
Example: A 3rd-level aberrant/abyssal crossblooded sorcerer has the choice of learning cause fear or enlarge person as her bloodline bonus spell. If she selected cause fear as her 3rd-level bonus spell, at 5th level she could use her new bonus spell to learn enlarge person instead of bull's strength or see invisibility, and she would add it to her list of 1st-level spells known (just as if she had learned it as her 3rd-level bonus spell).
Bonus Feat: A crossblooded sorcerer combines the bonus feat lists from both of her bloodlines and may select her bloodline bonus feats from this combined list.
Bloodline Arcana: A crossblooded sorcerer gains the bloodline arcana of both her bloodlines.
Bloodline Powers: At 1st, 3rd, 9th, 15th, and 20th levels, a crossblooded sorcerer gains one of the two new bloodline powers available to her at that level. She may instead select a lower-level bloodline power she did not choose in place of one of these higher-level powers.
Drawbacks: A crossblooded sorcerer has one fewer spell known at each level (including cantrips) than is presented on the sorcerer spells known table. Furthermore, the conflicting urges created by the divergent nature of the crossblooded sorcerer's dual heritage forces her to constantly take some mental effort just to remain focused on her current situation and needs. This leaves her with less mental resolve to deal with external threats. A crossblooded sorcerer always takes a –2 penalty on Will saves
Hope some of these options help you out.
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Abyssal Undead Bloodline
Generations ago, your family mastered the necromantic arts with the aid of a demon. Ever since then, the taint of the grave and the abyss have lingered in your family's blood. You lucked out, and have gained power from both aspects.
Class Skill: Knowledge (planes), Knowledge (Religion)
Bonus Spells: chill touch/identify (3rd), bull's strength/false life (5th), rage/vampiric touch (7th), animate dead/stoneskin (9th), dismissal/waves of fatigue (11th), transformation/undeath to death (13th), finger of death/greater teleport (15th), horid wilting/unholy aura (17th), energy drain/summon monster IX (19th).
Bonus Feats: Augment Summoning, Cleave, Combat Casting, Diehard, Empower Spell, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Knowledge [planes]), Skill Focus (Knowledge [religion]), Spell Focus, Still Spell, Toughness.
Bloodline Arcana:Whenever you cast a spell of the summoning subschool, the creatures summoned gain DR/good equal to 1/2 your sorcerer level (minimum 1). This does not stack with any DR the creature might have.
In addition, some undead are susceptible to your mind-affecting spells. Corporeal undead that were once humanoids are treated as humanoids for the purpose of determining which spells affect them.
Claws (Su)At 1st level, you can grow claws as a free action. These claws are treated as natural weapons, allowing you to make two claw attacks as a full attack action using your full base attack bonus. These attacks deal 1d4 points of damage each (1d3 if you are Small) plus your Strength modifier. At 5th level, these claws are considered magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming DR. At 7th level, the damage increases by one step to 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if you are Small). At 11th level, these claws become flaming weapons, each dealing an additional 1d6 points of fire damage on a successful hit. You can use your claws for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.
or Grave Touch (Sp) Starting at 1st level, you can make a melee touch attack as a standard action that causes a living creature to become shaken for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your sorcerer level (minimum 1). If you touch a shaken creature with this ability, it becomes frightened for 1 round if it has fewer Hit Dice than your sorcerer level. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.
Demon Resistance (Ex) At 3rd level, you gain resist electricity 5 and a +2 bonus on saving throws made against poison. At 9th level, your resistance to electricity increases to 10 and your bonus on poison saving throws increases to +4.
or Death's Gift (Su) At 3rd level, you gain resist cold 5 and DR 5/— against nonlethal damage. At 9th level, your resistance to cold increases to 10 and your DR increases to 10/— against nonlethal damage.
Strength of the Abyss (Ex) At 9th level, you gain a +2 inherent bonus to your Strength. This bonus increases to +4 at 13th level, and to +6 at 17th level.
or Grasp of the Dead (Sp)At 9th level, you can cause a swarm of skeletal arms to burst from the ground to rip and tear at your foes. The skeletal arms erupt from the ground in a 20-foot-radius burst. Anyone in this area takes 1d6 points of slashing damage per sorcerer level. Those caught in the area receive a Reflex save for half damage. Those who fail the save are unable to move for 1 round. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your sorcerer level + your Charisma modifier. The skeletal arms disappear after 1 round. The arms must burst up from a solid surface. At 9th level, you can use this ability once per day. At 17th level, you can use this ability twice per day. At 20th level, you can use this ability three times per day. This power has a range of 60 feet.
Added Summonings (Su) At 15th level, whenever you summon a creature with the demon subtype or the fiendish template using a summon monster spell, you summon one additional creature of the same kind.
or Incorporeal Form (Sp) At 15th level, you can become incorporeal for 1 round per sorcerer level. While in this form, you gain the incorporeal subtype. You only take half damage from corporeal sources as long as they are magic (you take no damage from non-magic weapons and objects). Likewise, your spells deal only half damage to corporeal creatures. Spells and other effects that do not deal damage function normally. You can use this ability once per day.
Demonic Might (Su) At 20th level, the power of the Abyss flows through you. You gain immunity to electricity and poison. You also gain resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10, and gain telepathy with a range of 60 feet (allowing you to communicate with any creature that can speak a language).
or One of Us (Ex) At 20th level, your form begins to rot (the appearance of this decay is up to you) and undead see you as one of them. You gain immunity to cold, nonlethal damage, paralysis, and sleep. You also gain DR 5/—. Unintelligent undead do not notice you unless you attack them. You receive a +4 morale bonus on saving throws made against spells and spell-like abilities cast by undead.
Not a bad lineup, can make some interesting choices through this, and gives you a nice spread of bonus feat options.
If you are allowed to take it, Fiendish Heritage is a first level only tiefling exclusive feat that allows you to pick your ancestry for different bonuses. This alters your ability score bonuses, some of which are bonuses to CHA, meaning, you can take that, and then get treated as another +2 for your bloodline.