Items / Feats / Etc for a Necromancer that doesn't use undead?


Are there any particularly useful items/feats/archetypes/prestige classes/etc for a character specializing in Necromancy spells (with some Transmutation thrown in there), but that doesn't plan to ever use undead?

Not such an easy question to answer as there have been more splatbooks published since I tried to come up with a Life School Necromancer guide.

Let's throw out a couple:

Rod of Withering (25,000 gp) - +1 mace that deals 1d4 points of Strength damage and 1d4 points of Constitution damage, causes permanent drain on a critical hit.

Spiritualist Ring (70,000 gp) - Not really worth it in my opinion but here goes. Speak with dead 3x per day; spectral hand, 3x per day; ghost touch on weapon you wield; +4 sacred or profane bonus on saving throws against positive and negative energy effects (based on character's alignment).

Shadowform Belt (110,000 gp) - +6 to DEX; as a swift action, its wearer can become incorporeal for 10 rounds per day.

Spectral Shroud (26,000 gp) - Discern invisible or ethereal creatures as though using see invisibility. Once per day, the wearer can become incorporeal for 10 rounds and gain a fly speed equal to half his base speed with perfect maneuverability.

Haunted Shoes (6,480 gp) - 2x per day, 1d4 unseen servants (lasts 3 hours). 1x per day gain concealment (20% miss chance) for 3 minutes.

Vampiric Gloves (18,000 gp) - 3x per day use vampiric touch (ranged touch @ 30 ft, but only against dying target) and bleed.

Cloak of the Duskwalker (10,000 gp) - Gain low-light vision; 1/day darkness spell & gain darkvision 60 ft while within that darkness.

Spellguard Bracers (5,000 gp) - +2 bonus on concentration checks to cast defensively; 3x/day roll a concentration check to cast defensively twice and take the better result.

Eye of the Void (10,000 gp) - 1x/day gaze effect in a 30-foot cone or 15-foot sphere. Success on Will save target is shaken for 1 min. Failure on Will save causes target to be frightened for 1 minute and take 1d6 WIS damage.

Necromancer's Athame (20,000 gp) - A necromancer who selects the athame as his bonded object can use it to spontaneously convert any prepared wizard necromancy spell into any other wizard necromancy spell he knows; the desired spell must be of the same level or lower than the prepared spell.

Staff of the Master (30,000 gp) - +1/+1 quarterstaff; Ray of enfeeblement (1 charge), Spectral hand (1 charge), Vampiric touch (2 charges); apply one metamagic feats known by character when casting a spell by expending a number of charges equal to the number of spell levels increased by the feat.

Jars, Spirit (26,250 gp) - Spirit jars serve as focus items for the spell Magic Jar. Souls can be potentially trapped within these jars forever. Warning: If Magic Jar expires while your character is within a Spirit jar, the soul and those in the other jars are trapped until somebody pops the jar open to release your character's soul. You can also cast Magic Jar on a soul-occupied Spirit Jar, allowing that spirit to swap bodies as if it were the target of the spell. At the end of the Magic Jar spell, the spirit returns to the Spirit Jar if it's within range (otherwise it perishes).

Metamagic Rod, Ectoplasmic [Lesser] [3,000 gp] - Ectoplasmic spells have full effect against incorporeal or ethereal creatures. Since incorporeal creatures have no STR score an Ectoplasmic web spell will totally screw them over.

Shrunken Head (90,000 gp) - Can be used as additional focus component for fear-based spells, increasing save DCs by 1. When held in one hand or occupying the neck slot, 1/day as immediate action, the head can absorb a mind-affecting spell up to Level 5. After absorption you can unleash an Enervation effect (1 neg. level per spell level absorbed) within 1 round per level of the spell absorbed.

Cracked Pearly White Spindle Ioun Stone (3,400 gp) - Regenerate 1 hit point of damage per hour. Not the fastest way to get back your hit points, but it's regeneration which means you still stay alive as long as the stone isn't removed. So, make sure to have it surgically implanted.

Armor: Obtain a spell-storing haramaki, then put a vampiric touch in it.

I personally think some of the best casters focus. In this case I'd chose a single spell for Spell Perfection from the necromancy school and work it. Have all of your feats still be viable for the other spells though as well.

Some spell ideas are Vampiric Touch, Suffocation, Banshee Blast, and Finger of Death.

Vampiric Touch is a great spell if your planning an Eldrich Knight. The reasoning for this is the fact that its a touch spell so having the high BaB from EK coupled with EK's cap stone is great to get the spell going. Having a high crit range weapon will almost guarantee getting the quicken off for some nice temp hp and damage. The Feats id suggest for making best use of this spell is Spell Perfection, Maximize spell, Empower spell, and Intensified spell.Using Spell perfection will make Maximize free and combining Empower and Intensified will raise it to a 6th level spell but the damage and temp hp will make you a great front liner.

Suffocation is a great spell to abuse if u want to guarantee death to a single target. Feats to use for this spell is Spell Perfection, Extend spell, Reach spell, Persistent spell, and (Greater)Spell Focus. The idea of this combo is to extend the rounds of potential success and make them have to make to saves per save to stack the odds in your favor. Spell perfection is mainly to double the bonuses gained from Spell Focus.

Banshee Blast I would abuse in the same way as Vampiric touch when it comes to feats at least. I would also add the Spell focus feats to that list since it does have a save though the spell focus feats are just good to have for most necro spells since there mainly save spells.

Finger of Death is a spell I'd highly focus upping my saves and caster level for. The main thing id do with the spell is use the Reach spell to snipe targets from a far.

To be honest your feats would depend entirely on the type of character you want to make. The examples of all the spells to abuse are mainly for your typical stay in the back caster, minus Vampiric Touch. In concerns to making a cleric necro your best bet is to focus on the Reach spell so you can make your Inflict spells useful for damage.

Is that transmutation for offensive touch spells, for battlefield control, general buffs or for turning into a monster and tearing faces off?

Necromantic attack spells use saves usually and have SR applied universally. Therefore feats which make your spells harder to save against or resist are important. Spell focus/penetration, persistent spell, piercing spell. Enervation is worthless as is (seriously, just use intimidate to demoralize, it's a more reliable debuff with about the same effect. And it doesn't cost a 4th level spell slot.) but at higher levels empower/maximise spell can make it worthwhile.

Little stuff to consider. You might take the Life school instead of vanilla necromancy. You might also consider sin magic which is very powerful...but completely denies a necromancer access to abjuration and enchantment.

Dhampyr get a favored class bonus of 1/4 CL bump for necromancy spells. While that is a mixed blessing, it means you'll have an advantage against SR. Also a few necromancy spells do scale with level.
But that whole negative energy thing is a huge draw back in a standard party.

You could become a hallowed necromancer. Not sure I recommend that, but its exactly what you want. Right?

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Part of the problem that necromancers have is that some of their best spells were nerfed from D&D 3.5 into Pathfinder. Consequently you have to change your tactics a little bit. There are several things you will have to get through your head right away.

1) Your first and primary duty is to be the party de-buffer. The weaker you make them, the quicker the fight will end. This will not change. The problem is that a lot of these spells are safe or suck, as well as safe or die. Consequently, you have to think in a slightly different way than other wizards. It's about progression to increase the suckage before you hit them with the BIG SUCK. Otherwise you'll take a big chance in failing and look like an idiot.

Example 1: Start with Sands of Time, then Ray of Enfeeblement, hit them with Exhaustion and watch Mr. Melee fall unconscious. :)

Example 2: Waves of fatigue + Ray of Exhaustion. Waves doesn't grant a save. Ray of Exhaustion makes them exhausted if already fatigued even if they pass the save.

Consequently, the main thing is to boost the ALMIGHTY DC by starting off with as high an INT modifier as possible to make sure of that. Also, that means there are 3 feats you absolutely need:

Spell Focus;
Greater Spell Focus;
Heighten Spell.

For example, let's say you can cast up to Level 3 spells and you want to make sure your DC for Ray of Enfeeblement is as high as possible. By using Heighten Spell you now prepare this Level 1 spell as a Level 3 spell.

2) Your secondary duty as a Wizard is battlefield control. The more you can change the environment to suit your party's needs the easier the fight will be.

3) Your tertiary duty is that of utility caster. Always have the right tool for the right time and the right moment.

4) Your quaternary duty will be two-fold: you will be a temporary hit point powerhouse (especially as a Life School Necromancer), and an out-of-combat healer. You'll never be as good as the Cleric for in-combat healing.

5) Most necromancy spells are touch or ranged touch spells, which makes us live dangerously. Consequently, get the Reach Spell feat when you can or use other spells like Spectral Hand to keep yourself out of melee.

My personal favorite when it comes to utility is the Eldritch Researcher feat. You gain a +2 to Spellcraft outright (that bonus increases to +4 with 10 Ranks in Spellcraft). Whenever you create a new spell, that spell has +1 CL. When you finally create a spell that is Level 6, that spell and all previous spells that were created increase their Save DC by 1. Also, when applying metamagic feats to self-created spells, reduce the total level adjustment by 1.

Basically, this is the feat to take to get all those lovely D&D 3.5 necromancy spells back that were awesome.

The problem with the Healing Grace power from the Life School is that it only works with spells if they have targets, are area-based, or belong to ranged or melee touch attacks. Your spells are limited, especially in the early levels, which means that you have to choose between healing (probably yourself) or being useful in combat. Also, if you tried to heal your party members using this ability, you more than likely would have to resort to fear-based and mind-affecting Necromancy spells and watch the hilarity ensue as you scare the wits out of them.

The only thing that literally makes you heal while casting Necromancy spells is being a Ghoul with a 1 Level dip in Sorcerer for the Ghoul Bloodline. That bloodline arcana allows you to heal 1 hp per spell level for each Necromancy spell you cast. So, the only way I've figured out to get that is snort Mumia (referenced in Lost Kingdoms) until you become one. Then use a Helmet of Opposite Alignment to turn from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good.

The spells to look out for:

Level 0
Sotto Voce
Disrupt Undead
Touch of Fatigue

Level 1


(***) Chill Touch [Necro]
Touch attacks that deal 1d6 HP damage + 1 STR damage. Undead take no HP or STR damage but become panicked for 1d4 rounds +1/caster level on failed Will save.
Verdict: Repeatable, easy, touch attacks which, unlike Ray of Enfeeblement, does allow the STR damage to stack. It becomes a very dangerous spell if used properly.

(**)Touch of Blindness [Necro.]
Use a melee touch attack 1/CL. Each touch causes the target to become blinded for 1 round unless it makes a successful Fortitude saving throw.
Verdict: Causing blindness is a great gimp move at any level, and this will at least allow you a way to do so until you finally get the much better Level 2 spell. The amount of times you can use this is great, but is hampered by the fact that you have to get into melee to use it unless you have the Reach Spell feat.

(**) Cause Fear [Necro. (fear, mind-affecting)]
One living creature with 5 or fewer HD becomes frightened for 1d4 rounds (shaken for 1 round on Will save).
Verdict: A decent save or suck at this level that can buy you some time, and act as a set-up for further de-buffs.

(**) Ray of Sickening (Ultimate Magic, p.234) [Necro.]
Ranged touch attack makes subject sickened for 1 min./level (Fort negates).
Verdict: Quite acceptable as a debuff. The target is immediately sickened for the spell's duration.

(**) Ray of Enfeeblement (Core, p.329 ) [Necro.]
Ranged touch attack causes 1d6+1/two caster levels (maximum 1d6+5) STR damage.
Verdict: Still useful in conjunction with Fatigue, but it doesn't actually penalize encumbrance anymore. Still, even if the target makes the save they still take half of the penalty. So if you're a level 10 caster with a minimum roll with a Fortitude save that's still a -3 STR, a failure on the save with a max roll causes -11 STR damage. Alas, you can't get the STR score below 1. The other bad thing is that you can only use this once since the penalty doesn't stack. Oh how they've nerfed this good spell! So we have to use poison, if necessary.

Level 2


(****) Blindness/Deafness (Core, p. ) [Necro.]
Blindness is THE super gimp spell at this level (–2 AC, loses Dex. bonus to AC (if any), –4 on STR- and DEX-based skill checks, -4 on opposed Perception checks, 50% miss chance when attacking, DC 10 Acrobatics check to move faster than half speed or fall prone). Casters can still get you with AoE spells, but for them you use Deafness (–4 on Init., auto fail on sound Perception checks, –4 on opposed Perception checks, 20% spell failure with verbal component spells). Your melee guys will love you for this. It has saved my party on many occasions.

(***) Ghoul Touch (Core, p.289) [Necro.]: Very useful staple for quick paralysis.
Melee touch to paralyze then AoE sicken (10-foot radius) for 1d6+2 rounds (Fort negates).
(–2 attack, weapon dmg., saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks).
Verdict: One of the best save or suck spells for the early game, especially if combo'd with the Reach Spell in either feat or rod form. Takes your target just one coup de gras away from death. The chance to lower the saves of nearby targets is just an extra added bonus.

(***) Limp Lash (Goblins of Golarion, p.29) [Necro.]: Third best gimp spell for this level.
Ranged touch atk. on target causes 1d6 STR, DEX, and CON damage each round until caster is disarmed, lets go, or whip-like energy sundered. When any of the three attributes reaches 1 the target is paralyzed (except for the head).

(***) False Life (Core, p.280) [Necro.]
1 hr/level self buff that provides temporary HP equal to 1d10 + 1/CL (max +10).
Verdict: Temp HP shields are very useful. This a a good deal that will remain a good deal for many levels.

(***) Lipstitch (Pathfinder Society Field Guide) [Necro.]
Sews the target’s lips tightly together for 1d6 points of damage on failed Fort save disallowing clear speech, bite attacks, spellcasting, or use of command words. Breaking thread with STR check DC 20 (standard action, no AoO) or slicing it with a piercing or slashing weapon (full-round action and provokes AoO) causes 1d6 points of damage and 1 bleed damage. Bleed damage causes 20% spell failure each round until bleeding is stopped.
Verdict: The complementary spell to Blindness/Deafness when it comes to spellcasters. It's also a good setup when it comes to spells that make Bleed effects worse. Unfortunately multiple castings of this spell don't stack, and creatures without a mouth are unaffected by this spell. Also, creatures with multiple mouths lose the use of only one mouth per casting.

(***) Stricken Heart [Necro.]
Melee touch spell with NO SAVE that causes 2d6 points of negative energy damage and causes the target to be staggered for 1 round. If the attack is a critical hit, the target is staggered for 1 minute instead. Creatures immune to precision damage are immune to the staggered effect.
Verdict: It is still hampered by Spell Resistance, but there aren't many negative energy spells this early on. That means you can even heal yourself with it if you play a Damphir. Plus it comes with a rather nasty status effect.

(**) Spectral Hand [Necro.]
Lose 1d4 hp to create a ghostly hand to deliver touch spells of level 4 and below. Provides a +2 to melee touch attacks. You regain those hit points when the spell ends (but not if the hand is destroyed).
Verdict: Since the hand is incorporeal it can only be hit by magic weapons, has Improved Evasion regarding spells, and 22 + INT mod. AC. Use this to apply your touch spells at range, unless you want your familiar to do it for you. Spectral Hand will last the entire combat (even long ones), but not multiple combats. Sure, the ability to deliver touch spells at range is very good, but this spell will take you out of the combat for the first round (unless you have preparation time) which is a significant drawback. Also, the viability of quickened Spectral Hands at high levels is hampered by the fact that you are limited to Level 4 spells and below. Still, this will be your utility spell to use those pesky touch-based spells for a while unless you have Reach Spell.

(**) Shared Suffering (Champions of Corruption, p.25) [Necro.]
Deal 1d6 neg. dmg + 1d6/2 levels (5d6 max) to yourself. Target takes equal amount of dmg. + Int. mod. (no save)
Verdict: Use this after you use False Life on yourself to bypass as much actual damage to yourself as possible. If you absolutely have no other way to hit your opponent then this spell is it.

(**) Brow Gasher [Necro.]
Imbued slashing weapon when hitting a living creature, causes normal damage, as well as bleed damage on forehead equal to half character's character level. The hit creature takes a cumulative -1 penalty on attack rolls at the beginning of each turn, resulting in all targets gaining 20% concealment at -3 penalty, and complete concealment at -5 due to blindness. this spell imposes on the bleeding creature. You discharge the spell as a free action for its effects to start acting on a creature.
Verdict: Imbue a nearby melee character's slashing weapon with this. You don't want to enter melee yourself. Unfortunately it doesn't work on constructs or undead creatures which limits its application. Stopping the bleed damage ends the spell's effects. Also, a target that is immune to bleed damage is also immune to all this spell's effects.

(*) Life Pact (Advanced Class Guide, p.186) [Necro.]
Bind one willing creature/level together so that if one drops below 0 hp, it receives 1 hp from each creature of the group within 30 feet.
Verdict: Wish this spell could give more than 1 hit point. Doesn't work against death effects or stuff like suffocation either. It's a weak "Oh crap" button, but that's about it.

Level 3:


(***) Sands of Time (Osirion: Lands of Pharaohs, p.27) [Necro.]
Verdict: This spell is like Ray of Enfeeblement on crack. Unfortunately you can't reduce any of the abilities beneath 1, but you can certainly use it in conjunction with Ray of Enfeeblement if you needed it. Either way, it doesn't require a Save (SR applies though)!

(***) Ray of Exhaustion (Core, p.330) [Necro.]
Verdict: Exhaustion is the bane of melee characters (half speed, cannot run or charge, –6 STR and DEX). If the target makes its Fort. save it still becomes fatigued. The devious way to abuse this feature is to combine it with other debuff spells that cause fatigue. If a target is already fatigued and makes the Fortitude save they still become exhausted thanks to this ray. That makes this a good finisher.

(***) Fear (Core, p.281) [Necro.]
30-foot cone-shaped burst, causes each living creature in the area to become panicked unless it succeeds on a Will save.
Verdict: Even if the targets make their Will saves they're still shaken for 1 round, which is not bad if you're trying to stack negatives. If you can corner them while they're panicked the targets start cowering making them even more useless in combat.

(***) Accursed Glare (Blood of the Moon, p.9) [Necro. (curse)]
Verdict: A solid way to allow you to gain another chance to have your de-buff spells work on your target. This curse's duration is 1 day/level which can be useful to continue to bring NPCs under control with other spells on a long-term basis. The almost broken thing, however, is that if your minions have the ability to use Intimidate (even untrained) you can royally boost your ability to bypass SR on your target, because each ally's intervention stacks. Granted, the wording for the Intimidate check is a little strange. I would think it's the base DC, thus being around 16 or 17, rather than adding stuff like Spell Focus feats to increase it to 19+.

(***/**) Fear
30-foot cone-shaped burst that causes each living creature in the area to become panicked unless it succeeds on a Will save. If cornered, a panicked creature begins cowering. If the Will save succeeds, the creature is shaken for 1 round.
Verdict: The idea here is to drive your enemies into a corner so that they cower. Otherwise, if they run away you might not get any experience points. Still, if you have to use it to buy time then buy time.

(**) Vampiric Touch (Core, p.364) [Necro.]
Melee touch deals 1d6 points/2 caster levels (max. 10d6). You gain this as temporary HP.
Verdict: Decent spell as it's very hard to kill a Necromancer that sucks the life out of you each round.

(**/*) Vampiric Hunger (Faiths of Corruption, p.29) [Necro.] (polymorph) {Evil}
Creature touched gains ability to drain blood, dealing 1d4 CON dmg. Each round of draining heals 5 hp, or 5 temp. hp (max temp hp = max hp). Failure to drain blood causes target to be exhausted.
Verdict: Part of your utility spells, but a double-edged sword. Can serve as a very morbid way to allow your party members to heal after combat, but expect hurt feelings. The duration makes it less desirable to use on enemies in combat, but can be useful to cause chaos in a camp. Only use this on yourself to heal after combat. It still has the highest potential for temporary hp.

Level 4:


(****) Enervation (Core, p.277) [Necro.]:
Verdict: Negative levels are the most powerful de-buff in the game. It's a great metamagic target too, as there are no saves! However, casters do not lose any spells or spell slots prepared.

(***) Bestow Curse [Necro.]:
It's very easy to kill enemies when 50% of the things they try to do don't work. It's even easier when the enemy in question is -4 to all d20 rolls. The -6 to one ability score is not worth it as you can't get to 0. However, you can get very creative with this spell to royally gimp people - permanently. The fact that it's a touch spell makes it slightly less desirable than Enervation, but not by much.

(***) Boneshatter (Osirion: Land of Pharaohs, p.26) [Necro.]
Verdict: Effectively ray of exhaustion without a touch component. Half damage and fatigue on Fort save. What makes this spell nice is the damage that it deals.

(***) Shadow Projection
You gain a shadow’s darkvision, defensive abilities, fly speed, racial stealth modifier, and strength damage attack.
Verdict: Despite the drawbacks this spell is good for when you have to go exploring and still allows you to drain Strength from enemies. The bad thing is that you drop to -1 hp when your shadow is destroyed through Turn Undead or other magical means. Also, no spawn ability of a real shadow. We just can't have nice things.

(**) Object Possession, Lesser (Occult Adventures, p. ) [Necro.]
You possess an object and turn it into an animated object. You can't use any spells or other abilities while possessing an object.
Verdict: You can have some fun with this if you're creative enough.

(**) Wall of Blindness/Deafness (Advanced class Guide, p.198) [Necro.]
Permanently blind or deafen creature that passes through the wall.
Verdict: This spell has potential as a major de-buff spell. The nice thing is that the wall can be either in vertical & rectangular, or circular form (both 20 ft. high) and does not need to touch the ground (as long as it is continuous and unbroken). This makes it useful against flying creatures. The problem is the concentration duration, so you have to use it precisely.

(**) False Life, Greater [Necro.]
Verdict: Another utility spell, but the inability to stack this really stinks. Consequently it really shines when you layer it with other temporary hp spells.

(**) Undeath Inversion (Undead Slayer's Handbook, p.27) [Necro.]
Undead take damage from negative energy and heal from positive energy. Channels positive rather than negative energy, too.
Verdict: Limited application in that you could heal one of your own undead with cure spells, or dealing damage to an enemy undead with your negative energy spells. However, if it's an intelligent undead that channels energy you have taken out one of his abilities lest he heal you or damage his own undead minions.

(**) Geb's Hammer (Inner Sea Magic, p.55) [Necro.]
Verdict: Situational spell in that you actually need destroyed undead, whether created by you or thrown at you by the GM. I personally think it's too high a spell slot because it is similar to flaming sphere, but when you keep action economy in mind you have another attack per round. Still, if you do decide to have minions, and they ever run out of usefulness, you still have one last use for them.

(*) Death Knell Aura (Book of the Damned Vol. 3, p.38) [Necro. (death, evil)]
Verdict: If this spell actually said that these values stack it would be awesome, but used this way it's only worth a quick boost to either buff a level-dependent spell to heal your undead or your party, provide a buffer to use another spell to drain off the temporary hp, or a quick buff to a damage-dealing spell which you're going to be using soon. Rather underwhelming for this level as there are better ways to use the corpses of your fallen enemies. But, yay, you wasted a Level 4 spell to emit gray light!

Level 5:


(****) Magic Jar [Necro.]
Verdict: Probably one of THE best necromancy spells. BUT THIS IS NOT A COMBAT SPELL! You just need to be a little creative to use it. It has several limitations that need to be followed: 1) Keep your body safe while you body-hop; 2) Keep other Spell component pouches around, otherwise you need Eschew Materials to continue to cast spells in the other bodies; 3) Control line of effect by having a familiar or ally carry the soul-containing item. The spell is useless if you can only see so many enemies; 4) Always keep your body in spell range or you die. Optional: Combine it with the Persistent Spell feat – you don't want to fail a possession check, because you can't retry on the same creature again. Possess the first monster and use it to kill the next. Once your possessed creature dies, you possess the next creature. Thus you stop the encounter before it even begins. Summon a monster, possess it, and then use Blood Money to drain it of Strength while creating an expensive material component (*cough* 25k Diamond), use the monster to scout ahead, or trip traps are all viable tactics, too. You can also possess your friends and add spells to their bodies using Permanency.

(***) Suffocation (Advanced Player's Guide) [Necro.]
Round 1: Staggered on Fortitude save; otherwise target falls unconscious and at 0 hp.
Round 2: Staggered on Fortitude save; otherwise target drops to -1 and is dying.
Round 3: Staggered on Fortitude save; otherwise dead.
Verdict: Only works on living creatures that actually breathe. However, this spell is quite powerful, and can get quite silly when combined with the Extend Spell metamagic feat or a rod thereof.

(***) Waves of Fatigue (Core, p.368) [Necro.]
30-foot cone-shaped burst renders all living creatures in the spell's area fatigued.
Verdict: Waves of negative energy completely cripple both melee and ranged combatants with no saving throw. Unfortunately this spell has no effect on creatures that are already fatigued. Still, it's a good way to debilitate several enemies quickly, fast, and in a hurry.

(**) Black Spot (Pirates of the Inner Sea, p.28] [Necro.]
Verdict: The spell is a little high for the effect, but the effect is permanent once you get passed the Will save or any SR. It makes your melee guys happy, and serves as a setup for your next Death effect spell like Circle of Death, Finger of Death, Canopic Conversion, Wail of the Banshee, Parasitic Soul, etc. The spell cannot be countered except by break enchantment, limited wish, miracle, remove curse, or wish, but the Constitution damage happens too slow for combat use.

(**) Feast on Fear (Advanced Class Guide, p.181) [Necro.]
Each round target a creature of up to 9HD and if it fails the Fort save it becomes panicked for 1d4 rounds. The creature remains shaken for 10 minutes/caster level and becomes automatically panicked again if it sees you.
Verdict: Unlike other temp. HP spells, this one actually says that it stacks with itself, which is awesome! This spell allows you to redirect the effect each round to a new target, which means you can get up to 45 temporary hit points (you can hit up to 9 creatures at Level 9 and it increases) because the effect stacks when you first get this spell (max. 100 temp. hp), which lasts 1 hour. Now here comes the buzz-kill...It all depends on how many targets you are facing and that they are Level 9 or below. Also, Fortitude saves make this less and less likely at the higher levels, and thus becomes useless pretty quickly, and it does occupy a lot of your time. So, you want to make sure that your targets are thoroughly debuffed and controlled (*cough* Dazing Spell) that you can take the time to pull this off.

(**) Vampiric Shadowshield (Advanced Class Guide, p.198) [Necro.]
Attacker hitting you with non-reach weapon takes 1d6 negative energy damage + 1 point per caster level (max +15). You heal 25% of damage dealt by the spell.
Verdict: At least some way of regaining hit points, but you don't want to get hit and the most you'll ever get is 5 hit points with each hit The way this works is that you cast Vampiric Shadowshield on yourself and have your familiar with fast healing/regeneration hit you for 1 hp or 1 nonlethal damage (if penalties reduce the damage result to less than 1, a hit still deals 1 point of nonlethal damage). If your familiar has the Measured Response (Inner Sea Gods) combat feat then make sure it attacks with a d4 attack. Otherwise, have one of your undead minions do that on you - that way you both get healed at the same time.

(**) Symbol of Pain
Scribe a rune on a surface (which takes 10 minutes) then set a trigger for its release. Everything within a 60-foot radius takes a -4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. These effects last for 1 hour after the creature moves farther than 60 feet from the symbol. If you don't want your own group to be affected by this spell it takes up to 1 hour to cast.
Verdict: I could see this being useful if you have the time to set up an ambush. However, since it doesn't affect the Save DC it doesn't provide that great of a battlefield control mechanism. It will mess with spellcaster's concentration checks, however.

(**)Possession (Occult Adventures, pp.180-181) [Necro.]
Possess a creature at 1 hr/level, keeping your INT, WIS, CHA, class, BAB, Base save bonuses, alignment and mental abilities. The body keeps its physical stats, hp, natural abilities and automatic abilities. As a standard action you can move back into your body. You return automatically to your body when the target is killed. If your body dies when the spell duration runs out you die.
Verdict: Alas, you neither can activate a body's extraordinary or supernatural abilities, nor use any of its spells or spell-like abilities.

(**) Object Possession (Occult Adventures, p. 179) [Necro.]
Can possess an object up to Large size (3 CP). After 1 standard action to return to your body, you can use the next standard action to possess another object. Only works within Close range of your body.
Verdict: It really depends on the situation on how useful this spell is going to be. You can have it in your spellbook, but it's really not necessary.

Level 6:


(***) Eyebite [Necro.]
Each round, you can target a single living creature, striking it with waves of power. Depending on the target's HD, this attack has as many as three effects.
<4 HD = Comatose, panicked, sickened
5-9 HD = Panicked, sickened
10+ HD = Sickened
Spend a swift action each round after the first to target a foe.
Verdict: Good use for action economy by using a swift action after the initial casting.

(**) Lash of the Astradaemon (Book of the Damned, Vol. 3, pp.38-39)
Verdict: Basically, this spell is what you use when you surround yourself with your undead minions and hope that each round you will crit. to get 10 temp. HP. Since it dishes out negative energy like Enervation, I have to assume that each minion will receive 1d4 x 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour as well. So, unless you are the target of an AoE spell, enemies will have a hard time getting through your bodyguards. If it actually stacked with each attack, that would be awesome. Alas, the rules are quite specific - which makes this spell a bit of a waste. But you can stack it with other temp. hp spells to buff yourself before going into your next combat.

(*) Death Knell Aura, Greater (Book of the Damned, Vol. 3, p.38)
Does the same as Death Knell aura, but also causes dying creatures to bleed 1 hp/round. Also incorporeal undead and targets using astral projection or magic jar take 1d8 points of damage.
Verdict: Because of the bad wording I take it that the damage is 1d8 per round. Still, eventhough incorporeal undead are hard to hit there are better effects through which to inflict damage on these types of creatures. Since the effects still don't stack you're basically just being a dick and wasting a spell slot.

(*) Banshee Blast (Advanced Class Guide, p.174) [Necro. (death, fear, mind-affecting, sonic)]
30-foot cone deals 1d4/caster level (max. 15d4) damage (Reflex half). Those who fail the Reflex save must make a Will save or be panicked 1 round/level.
Verdict: It's good enough to relief most humanoid opponents of weaponry while dealing damage and making them run away. Naturally, you want to drive your enemies into a corner so they cower and don't attack. There are several problems, however. 1) Your enemies get two saves, and there's no Shaken condition - unlike with the Fear spell. So you must've debuffed your enemies before using this spell, or be going up against weaker enemies; 2) It deals 32.5 avg. damage with a Reflex save bringing it to 16.25 avg. damage, which is inferior to spells like Fireball; 3) It won't work on Undead (unless you have the Threnodic Spell feat), Constructs (unless you have the Constructed or Impossible bloodline with Eldritch Heritage), Oozes and Vermin (unless you have the Coaxing Spell feat), or Plants (unless you have the Verdant Spell feat); 4) Classes like paladins are also unaffected by panic. On the upside it is sonic-based which means hardly any creatures with that damage resistance.

Level 7:


(***) Waves of Exhaustion (Core, p.368) [Necro.]
60 foot cone-shaped burst causes all living creatures in the spell's area to become exhausted.
Verdict: Waves of negative energy completely cripple both melee and ranged combatants with no saving throw. Unfortunately this spell has no effect on creatures that are already exhausted. Still, it's a good way to debilitate several enemies quickly, fast, and in a hurry. Just like Waves of Fatigue it's a good way to bypass Spell Resistance.

(**) Recorporeal Incarnation (Second Darkness: Endless Night, p.10) [Necro.]
Replaces target's body with a recently deceased corpse (<24 hours or preserved by gentle repose). Target gains appearance, size bonuses/penalties, extraordinary abilities, natural abilities (natural attacks & senses), but not racial abilities or spell-like abilities. Lasts 1 week/CL.
Verdict: A useful way for a necromancer to not have to rely on illusion magic. Still acts as a near-perfect disguise. When targeted by Detect magic the target sheds no magical aura, though the focus item gives off an aura of strong necromantic magic. True seeing does not reveal the target’s true form, since the disguise itself, while magically achieved, is a mundane (but masterful) disguise. The spell Detect undead, however, does note the target as an undead creature with the same number of Hit Dice.

(**) Object Possession, Greater (Occult Adventures, p.179) [Necro.]
Verdict: Can possess an object up to Gargantuan size (5 CP). Can't use any spells or abilities while possessing an object. Can move up to medium range away from your body.
Verdict: Again, it's situational. Not a must-have in your spellbook, but it could potentially be useful.

(**) Finger of Death
Verdict: Save or die - whooops! Not anymore. Now it's save or take damage. You know - kinda like Disintegrate. If you want save or die vs. Fort, go for Flesh to Stone instead.

Level 8:


(*****) Bestow Curse, Greater (Secrets of the Sphinx) [Necro.]
It's very easy to kill enemies when they can't do squat 75% of the time. Now we can give our enemies a -8 penalty to all d20 rolls. The -12 to one ability won't help you (we still have the minimum ability score of 1 problem), but if you're fighting something stronger then consider this the spell as the initiation. Otherwise, hit them with a -6 to Dexterity and Constitution in general, with Wisdom and Intelligence against spellcasters. The curse of unluck is also a nice touch, but it depends on the GM whether he wishes to invoke it. Putting a 1 round staggered effect on the target each time it takes damage can also be a serious hamper. The other effects can be useful against spellcasters and melee or ranged characters but are more situational.
Verdict: A very useful spell, even if it's just against a single creature. It doesn't have to just serve as a de-buff, you know. Spend a little time on the wording and you can turn a Bestow Curse into something as powerful as a Wish spell by afflicting somebody with Lycanthropy or other kinds of templates. That makes this spell, and its lesser cousin, VERY desirable.

(**) Orb of the Void [Necro.]
As a move action, move 1-ft. Diameter sphere up to 30 ft. per round in any direction. Stops when entering a space with a living creature. Creature gains one negative level (Fortitude negates). Creature must make another Fortitude saving throw (same DC) 24 hours later or gain a permanent negative level.
Verdict: Fortitude-based flaming sphere but based on negative energy. Alas, an individual creature can be affected by the orb of the void only once per round, even if the orb moves through its space more than once.

(**) Possession, Greater (Occult Adventures, p. 181) [Necro.]
Verdict: Works the same way as possession, however, your physical body vanishes. Also, you can possess creatures like non-native outsiders and incorporeal undead. Situational, but at least now you've got a remedy against those pesky creatures.

(****) Clone
For 1,000 gp you can have this "get out of death free card" hidden somewhere safe. Note that if you die, you will awaken in the clone, and the poor Cleric trying to resurrect you in combat is going to be very disappointed. However, otherwise, this is a nice death-contingency (just make sure the rest of the party know). Use a teleport to return, reclaim your stuff, and claim the corpses of your allies. You get 2 negative levels when the clone awakens, so get a restoration too. Or - clone the entire party then you have no corpses to claim. TPK's become near impossible. That's good value for the material cost. Hint: Buy some cheap equipment and leave it with your clone...also leave an extra copy of your spellbook. Being prepared is just the right thing to do.

(****) Horrid Wilting [Necro.]
Verdict: Pure blast, but certainly one of the best pure blasts in the game. No energy types here, you just take damage. The range is long, and you target specifically, so your allies are safe. Fort save for 1/2 damage.

(**) Soul Reaver (Mythic Origin, p.15) [Necro. (death)]
Deal 1d6/CL (max. 20d6) to each living creature in a 20-foot radius spread (Fort. Half).
Verdict: Still faces SR, and has a Close range, but still a solid way to deal a decent amount of damage in an area. Unfortunately it does not distinguish between your team mates and enemies without a metamagic feat. Get's more power at Mythic levels, but we're not worried about that.

Level 9:


(****) Parasitic Soul (Book of the Damned, Vol. 3, p.39) [Necro. (death, evil)]
Verdict: There are already so many shenanigans that you can pull with magic jar, and now you're given a permanent means of doing it, too. This is basically your immortality spell by jumping from body to body, which would even allow you to switch races and certain creature types.

(****) Energy Drain [Necro.]
Verdict: A solid debuff. Just as Enervation, this spell stacks with itself. It's somewhat of a waste though to use it on undead. If you can heal through negative energy, there may be some use to it if you really need it.

(**) Wail of the Banshee [Necro. (death, sonic)]
Verdict: Wow, this spell was horribly nerfed! You better have done some serious de-buffing before you even dare to set this one off. Otherwise, if those enemies make their Fort. save you'll look pretty stupid, and probably end up dead soon afterwards. Also remember that this spell does not differentiate between friend and foe, so be careful when you use it.

(**) Scourge of the Horsemen (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, p.39) [Necro. (acid, evil)]
Verdict: A medium range spell that's best used after you've done some serious de-buffing on your enemies in order to deal decent damage. A bit underwhelming though because of the damage cap.

Do you have a particular class preference? The witch get's quite a few necromancy spells (plus patron spells) if you like their theme and mechanics. The Cartomancer witch archetype can use touch spells such as Bestow Curse, Pox Pustules and Harm at range; the Gravewalker can do this too but their patron spells are focused on creating undead. While not necromancy spells (though they should be) Raise Dead and the various Cure spells can fit thematically.

Regarding races someone has already mention the dhampir favoured class bonus should you want to play a wizard. Gnomes can take an alternative racial trait that grants them a +1 bonus to the DC of necromancy spells, additionally the fcb for gnome witches is 1/6 of a new hex per level (so an extra hex every 6 levels) which is nice. Half-orcs can take an alternative race trait that gives them a +1 to the dc of any spell they cast which has the pain or fear descriptor.

Awesome list CloudCobra! I'm playing an EK now with necro focus and this is great!

CloudCobra wrote:
The problem with the Healing Grace power from the Life School is that it only works with spells if they have targets, are area-based, or belong to ranged or melee touch attacks. Your spells are limited, especially in the early levels, which means that you have to choose between healing (probably yourself) or being useful in combat. Also, if you tried to heal your party members using this ability, you more than likely would have to resort to fear-based and mind-affecting Necromancy spells and watch the hilarity ensue as you scare the wits out of them.

Healing Grace works on any spell the Life wizard casts, not just necromantic. So Haste comes with 3 points of healing. Obscuring Mist heals 1 point to allies in it (and 1 point of damage to undead). Resist Energy, communal comes with 3 points of healing. An Area Dispel Magic also heals allies for 3 points. Fireball does an additional 3 points to undead. Its not a large bonus, but it gets applied to anything you do. The more you focus on spells that get cast on your own party, the better it becomes.

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