On the subject of Necromancy


Homebrew and House Rules


There doesn't seem to be a way to make a classic summoning Necromancer in 2e right now. Some people are really happy about this because they have caused mechanical problems in the past.

I'd like to propose some alternative ways to give necromancers their summoning powers and flavors without causing the mechanical problems that 1e had. There are two big ones which I think would work well together.

A.) A ranger style companion, powerful enough to be in combat and not be a waste.

B.) Summoning style necromancy, you get them for short periods of time so you never have the mechanical problem of having a ton of low level units to control.

So your necromancer has their 'magnum opus' the undead they are patching and working on as their personal projects, and then the ability to temporarily animate bodies for short term minions in combat. With that, you get all the undead necromancer flavor without mechanically being hard for GMs and other players.


Just go on a quest to find the Ritual, then create intelligent undead and make them a minion.


NemoNoName wrote:
Just go on a quest to find the Ritual, then create intelligent undead and make them a minion.

That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.


Donovan Du Bois wrote:
That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.

Well then, I hope you get what you are looking for. I know how it is when your favourite school/playstyle is just not viable.

Maybe with an archetype, school limited class feats, or alterante Focus spells?


NemoNoName wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.

Well then, I hope you get what you are looking for. I know how it is when your favourite school/playstyle is just not viable.

Maybe with an archetype, school limited class feats, or alterante Focus spells?

All of those are excellent ways to get some summoning back. I was mostly discussing ways it could be made better for GMS and other players mechanically.


I'm honestly surprised we got Summon Construct instead of Summon Undead. Neither bestiary list is perfect for a summoner, having many dead levels, but the summon undead seems like it would have much smoother and interesting set of choices than SConstruct, which is both very limited (you summon brooms...then you summon armors...then you try a statue once and don't get why its better than the armor...) and due to all golems being Unique, has no higher level options to summon.

I wouldn't mind it being a Rare spell locked behind a Necromancy School feat or something.


Donovan Du Bois wrote:
NemoNoName wrote:
Just go on a quest to find the Ritual, then create intelligent undead and make them a minion.
That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.

Wouldn't that be a problem on literally any undead based character given that undead and they creation are intrinsically evil on Golarion? Maybe there's some loop whole I'm unaware of in PFS1 that could allow it but I'd expect such things to be cracked down on given the move towards anethema and what you.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
NemoNoName wrote:
Just go on a quest to find the Ritual, then create intelligent undead and make them a minion.
That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.
Wouldn't that be a problem on literally any undead based character given that undead and they creation are intrinsically evil on Golarion? Maybe there's some loop whole I'm unaware of in PFS1 that could allow it but I'd expect such things to be cracked down on given the move towards anethema and what you.

I was going to say this. Summoning undead should never have been possible in PFS as it is an evil act

I guess the loophole is doing it once and there being no way of tracking the evil actions from session to session

I imagine it could appear but I think they wanted the core book to be as PFS compatible as possible


Something for an eventual new Book of the Damned to touch upon, perhaps?


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Donovan Du Bois wrote:
NemoNoName wrote:
Just go on a quest to find the Ritual, then create intelligent undead and make them a minion.
That has a lot of problems, one of which is that it is completely impossible in society play. On top of that, the things you summon will never be worthwhile combatants.

As near as I can tell, none of the things you can summon are "worthwhile combatants" at the level where you can summon them.

Similarly, animal companions have been seriously reduced in power.

Now, surprisingly, the PCs themselves are supposed to be the ones who are "worthwhile combatants".

This, above and beyond the fact that necromancy will never be a viable option in PFS.

Dark Archive

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Raising undead shouldn't have been possible in PFS yeah because its evil action (and because according to undead slayer's handbook, necromance is illegal in most places. Like even in Cheliax you would have to work for thrune or be fined :P). I guess conjuring non evil undead constructs would be okay, but that isn't necromancy in first place


An alternative approach would be to make some area effect spells with undead themes (yeah, I saw a commercial for Zombie Tidal Wave). It seems to me the benefits would be that:

1) you are getting "a lot" of undead but aren't adding to GM headaches by having to keep track of where each of those undead are.

2) since the necromancer isn't micromanaging 30 skeletons, the necromancer's player's turn shouldn't take 45 minutes.

3) an interesting heightening effect could be that the spell leaves behind a zombie/skeleton/whatever appropriate undead when the spell ends.

4) when the party goes to sleep at the end of the day, the necromancer doesn't have to worry about a random group of gnolls or ghouls eating half of his/her zombies (for some reason the "I've got an army of undead" necromancer has never been popular at my table--it is a real mystery).

5) This becomes good precedent for other themed area effect spells (I'm looking at you Impnado or Lantern Archon Thunderstorm).


Side tangent. You can make a totally viable necromancer in PFS1 without ever creating any undead spawn of your own. I've played one up to level 13 now and he's never once created any undead. Taken control of existing undead with spells/class abilities yes, but that was it. He is mostly about understanding the interplay of the forces of life and death and manipulating them. So he's focused on the debuff spells in the necromancy school mostly and has been highly effective. So there are ways to play a necromancer that doesn't hinge on undead.

But in regards to the current topic, an undead minion that functions in a similar vein to the druid's animal companion would be very fun and thematic. I doubt we'd see it as a wizard thing though. I think that sounds more like whatever version of the spiritualist we see in second edition.

Realistically I don't think we'll see a way to play undead controlling specialists as a workable build for PFS2. Might just have to hang on to the concept for an AP/home game that can be more accommodating to such things. But who knows what future books will hold.


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baahk36 wrote:

Side tangent. You can make a totally viable necromancer in PFS1 without ever creating any undead spawn of your own. I've played one up to level 13 now and he's never once created any undead. Taken control of existing undead with spells/class abilities yes, but that was it. He is mostly about understanding the interplay of the forces of life and death and manipulating them. So he's focused on the debuff spells in the necromancy school mostly and has been highly effective. So there are ways to play a necromancer that doesn't hinge on undead.

But in regards to the current topic, an undead minion that functions in a similar vein to the druid's animal companion would be very fun and thematic. I doubt we'd see it as a wizard thing though. I think that sounds more like whatever version of the spiritualist we see in second edition.

Realistically I don't think we'll see a way to play undead controlling specialists as a workable build for PFS2. Might just have to hang on to the concept for an AP/home game that can be more accommodating to such things. But who knows what future books will hold.

Yes, I would argue that while some would of course say that letting any undead continue to live (or unlive) is evil. That statement runs into some very definitive moral grey areas as it might get foisted upon Dhampirs, for instance.

Take for instance, a person that by a curse, there is now an undead following them, and protecting them. Is it Evil to not destroy it (especially if perhaps it just will create a new one)? Does that become even more difficult to argue, if they appear to have significant control over that individual undead's actions, and thus use it to save the lives of the living around them? Is that person evil, by using what would normally be evil, to protect the innocent? (Obviously, perhaps, abhorrent for many, many people, by typical sensibilities, but would that actually make them truly Evil?)

It would seem that Second edition would have room for an undead companion, but it might not look the same in strength and flexibility as back in first edition. But at least one developer seemed to imply that making a necromancer possible is on the table for some future supplements. (sorry, I don't recall exactly who it was)


Really my biggest question is one that hinges on the actual creation of a statline for new, player-made undead. Like, creating an undead from a creature was fairly straightforward in PF1, just apply the required template, but it doesn't look like that same method exists (yet?) in PF2.

If I'm wrong about this feel free to correct me, however.


Sigh wrote:

Really my biggest question is one that hinges on the actual creation of a statline for new, player-made undead. Like, creating an undead from a creature was fairly straightforward in PF1, just apply the required template, but it doesn't look like that same method exists (yet?) in PF2.

If I'm wrong about this feel free to correct me, however.

The guidelines for making a skeleton are dead simple, just use the skeleton stats for the correct size and adjust strikes to match the creature. Same with zombie. So both of them are even easier than a template.

Vampire is applied as a template very much like PF1, which would be the hardest one to figure out what with all its abilities. But you usually can't make vampires anyways, if I remember right? Most of the other undead just have a Stat block, so you would just get that undead creature as-is, rather than using a template (and it was this way in PF1 for some as well).


BellyBeart wrote:
Vampire is applied as a template very much like PF1, which would be the hardest one to figure out what with all its abilities. But you usually can't make vampires anyways, if I remember right? Most of the other undead just have a Stat block, so you would just get that undead creature as-is, rather than using a template (and it was this way in PF1 for some as well).

Right. I don't think any spells in PF1 could allow you to create vampires. Taking Demonic Obedience to Zura can turn you into one, if I recall, but not allow you to create them.

Funnily enough there is nothing in Pathfinder 2E that stops you from doing this, so long as you can find the ritual that creates vampires, since each type of undead needs its own ritual to make. Just make sure to crit succeed or else you're going to have a free-willed vamp on your hands!


Perpdepog wrote:
BellyBeart wrote:
Vampire is applied as a template very much like PF1, which would be the hardest one to figure out what with all its abilities. But you usually can't make vampires anyways, if I remember right? Most of the other undead just have a Stat block, so you would just get that undead creature as-is, rather than using a template (and it was this way in PF1 for some as well).

Right. I don't think any spells in PF1 could allow you to create vampires. Taking Demonic Obedience to Zura can turn you into one, if I recall, but not allow you to create them.

Funnily enough there is nothing in Pathfinder 2E that stops you from doing this, so long as you can find the ritual that creates vampires, since each type of undead needs its own ritual to make. Just make sure to crit succeed or else you're going to have a free-willed vamp on your hands!

Success also makes a minion if they're four levels lower.

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