A player wants to play a Necromancer in my upcoming evil-themed campaign I am running, and he asked about some of the problems he would face in my game. I explained to him that the biggest issue will be walking around with a growing horde of undead trailing in his wake. He asked if there was a way to fix that and all I had for him was buy invisibility rings for his undead.
But it got me thinking, what clever ways could a Necromancer travel about and still keep his undead with him without arousing unwanted attention?
Friend of mine played a couple of Necromancers. Skeletons are proficient with armor they are wearing broken chain shirts which means they can wear any light armor. Invest in lots and lots of desert style robes and chain shirts. Instant disguise and a couple of points in armor.
Zombies were harder since they smell as they decay. Gentle repose stops this but if you have several it's gets painful using all of your first level spells.
Other undead we didn't really deal with since they have intelligence and could resist control.
|An Immortal Lychee|
Horror Adventures has a 3rd level spell called appearance of life that makes undead creatures of Medium size or smaller appear as if they were living humanoid creatures. It lasts 10 minutes/level. It's not great for walking around the city all day, but if you need an hour or two of milling around with minions, it'll do.
Eventually it can be made permanent via permanency, but that doesn't happen till 12th level and costs 10,000 gp.
If they're intelligent undead, consider outfitting them with hats of disguise. They'll still have to look like undead, but you could have them pick a kind of undead that appear pretty much living.
At higher levels you can use the seeming spell to disguise even unintelligent undead as less objectionable undead. And at even higher levels veil will make them look like anything you want.
You can also go the mundane route (which has the advantage of not being penetrated by true seeing). I would say the Disguise check probably has at least a -4 penalty (being a different race and "age category" if you count "dead" as a fourth age category), though I could see it going as high as -10. That would be a GM call. Still, if your Disguise skill is high enough, you should be able to thwart most casual Perception checks and people will only notice if you do something to call attention to the creatures.
It's worth noting that a horde of minions will scare people on its own anyways, regardless of whether or not they're undead. Imagine a group of hooded people show up in your potion shop, 10 of them hooded and 4 other people who look ready to kill (adventurers). You're going to be suspicious of them.
For Hell's Vengeance that I'm currently playing in we have an Necromancer. He only brings 2 of his undead into the city with him, and uses fleshy facade or appearance of life spells.
|Chromantic Durgon <3|
I had a not so big horde focused more on having 2 or 3 more meaty guys that were kind of tough.
I covered them in big long dark hooded robes and flayed their faces too. Basically introduced them as my muscle and also used their faces for intimidate checks. I think I doused the robes in booze to mask the smell? Maybe can't quite remember.