View Full Version : [4e] New Necromancer Character class, work in progress

2009-03-30, 02:18 AM
Hi all,

I have been slowly working on a Necromancer character class for 4th Edition and would like the opportunity to get some feed back on what I have so far. I have been trying to make the class as balanced as possable while attempting to make it uneique to the other existing classes. While it so far hasn't been an easy task I have gotten some help from a few local gamers but I would like for you to take the time to examine my class and give (hopfully) some constructive feed back as to things that may seem to over powered or under powered and wether or not you like the way the class is set up. This way hopfully I can make it balanced and able to play. I might even submit it to WoTC to see if they like it once I'm done (with a few precautions of course).

Thank You, Lazorus

Here is a link to the site with the MS Word doc. for the class...


2009-03-30, 04:34 AM
I made some changes to the file after my initial post please use the link above to see an updated version of the class.

- Thanx

2009-03-30, 08:54 PM

Well heres an update I've gotten all the way to level 10 and started on level 13 spells. Please post and give me some input.

Heres the updated link...


2009-03-30, 08:55 PM
Care to translate it to something virus-proof and less proprietary, like google docs? :)

2009-03-30, 11:43 PM

I can't get it to translate to Google Docs. You should be able to down load it from Box net.

Heres the link again...


2009-03-31, 02:32 AM
You might want to run it through a sanity checker. It is spelled corpse, not corps.

Although that has me kind of wondering what a corps crafter ability should do...

As others have noted, MS docx format has virus-carrying potential. Before doing something as presentation-quality with artwork and fancy formatting, 'd want to make sure it is spell, grammar, sanity, and rule-balance checked first. That doesn't require anything fancier than notepad and maybe something for tables.

If you absolutely must do something as presentation quality, pdf is the way to go. There are free converters available to allow Word to save as a pdf file.

2009-03-31, 08:09 AM

First, I asked for constructive feed-back about the class and it's design not the spelling. I know there are those people who can't resist picking at little things. Remember I'm no where near done with this document, But thank you anyway.

Second, I have converted the document to PDF form now hope it makes it easier to view. Here is the link...


~ Thanx

2009-03-31, 08:44 AM
Some people aren't just being nit-picky. Grammatical and spelling errors can be hugely distracting when reading.

2009-03-31, 10:06 AM
Some people aren't just being nit-picky. Grammatical and spelling errors can be hugely distracting when reading.

Again, the small error has been fixed. Can we please continue on the main subject of the post?

Thank You

2009-03-31, 02:13 PM
The mistake I highlighted in my earlier post is still there, repeated several times :smalleek:

Power source: I think 4e is planning to make "shadow" a named power source, which more or less encompasses the concept of "necrotic.

Controlling undead: The whole concept of having "pets" goes against one of the primary design features of 4e (at least in PHB1). I'm not sure how well this meshes with later RAW on the topic.

2009-03-31, 03:44 PM
Sorry I missed one (some people just can't let it go).

As far as 4e classes "Not" having pets. The Beast Master Ranger in PHB1 was the 1st class to have pets now followed by the Druid and Shaman from PHB2, so these are where I got my initial idea for the class from. I am attempting to follow the classes that 3.0 and 3.5 brought us that revolved around Necromancers like the True Necromancer (Tome and Blood) Dread Necromancer (Heroes of Horror) and other like them such as The Pale Master, which I planed on being one of the Paragon Paths (still haven't gotten to it yet).

I've been researching these older classes and their spells, and trying to find powers like them or close to them in 4th Ed.

Necrotic is a base power source so far. I believe I have seen another power (in one of the books) in one of the 4th Ed. books (possibly Open Grave) that was Shadow based. Also, in the Monster Manual p.282 there is a Shadow origin, although I'm not sure you can use origins as a power base. I'll have to look it up again.

~ Thanx

Edit: Link changed to hopefully fix the one word out of a thousand that was miss spelled.

2009-03-31, 10:24 PM
First, druids don't get pets anymore. Second, if you want a "necromancer," you'll be better served picking up a copy of Dragon 372 and using the new powers contained therein, at least until the Shadow power source is put out for us.

2009-04-01, 12:21 AM
First, druids don't get pets anymore. Second, if you want a "necromancer," you'll be better served picking up a copy of Dragon 372 and using the new powers contained therein, at least until the Shadow power source is put out for us.

Yes, the Necromancer feel, I guess is the term, in 372 giving us the Hot Topic Kids of DnD(Shadar-Kai) He seems to want to build the Summoner Wizard, with more of a Shadow feel, I can't think of a better term atm. Now while perusing Dragon 372, it may give him a better idea of what he wants to do.

We may not even see the Shadow Power Source till PHB IV, if they stick with the current format of 3 Power sources per book(4/2/2).

2009-04-04, 04:39 AM

OK, I took some advice and retooled the class from the starting point using the ideas from Dragon 372, I even added a few spells from that issue to the class list. I removed the "Shadow" power source and remained mainly necrotic (hence...Necromancer).

Please any input on what I have so far would be appreciated.

Thanx: :smallbiggrin:

Here is the new link for the changes:


2009-04-07, 06:11 AM
1. The Raven Queen is not a suitable deity for a necromancer. "She" and Kelemvor are similar in that they both abhor undeath. Try adding Vecna to the list.

2. Wherever you measure time in rounds, measure it in turns instead. Most status effects are listed as "until the end of your next turn", "during your turn", or "until the end of their turn". Each one is useful for different combat situations.

3. Death Wail: This power isn't named properly, there's no actual wailing. Instead of dazing, make it an encounter and impose a penatly to hit equal to an ability modifier. Or, keep it as a daily and make it save ends instead of a turn based duration.

4. Summon Undead: Recharge on a 7 or 8 on a d8. Make it a weaker skeleton for the first level ability then move up the tree to zombies and bone guardians, wraiths etc.. Add a rechargeable summoning daily spell for each level of dailies for summoner builds. Else you'll get to paragon and have no undead to summon as you replace your old spells. Change encounter summons to dailies, Remove Animate Dead lv3 Class feature, rework and present it as a Class Feature for Corpse Crafting, change to Range 5 single target/corpse. Grant bonuses to direct damage powers for being a soul reaper and bonuses to summoning and buff spells for being a corpse crafter.


Chill of the Grave
You invoke the cold energy of the crypt to engulf your
enemies and surround them with chilling death.
Daily, Necrotic, Cold
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8 + Charisma modifier necrotic damage.
Effect: If the target moves for any reason, it takes
1d8 cold damage (save ends). If the target saves, you
cannot sustain this power.
Soul Reaper:
Sustain Minor: spend a soul point. The target takes 2d8
cold damage, or is immobilised until the end of your next turn.

In this way, you don't just hybridise the Wizard and Warlock, choosing the best powers of both. By making use of the class features, you allow for the player to focus on damage dealing and status effects, or summoning and status effects without removing the utility of the high level daily spells. Also, note how you have Int vs. Ref for the attack type and Cha mod damage. This should be changed so that each power has one major ability score associated with it, with secondary effects related to secondary ability scores.

5. Bone Chill: Just "slow" on miss.

6. Make Doom (lv2 Utility) an attack daily, Target: Creature and adjacent save ends.

7. Change "Soul Harvester" to "Soul Reaper". Flows better. Personal preference though.

8. Spell corpse right (you've gone to all the trouble of proper presentation, you might as well).

9. Add custom feats to allow Corpse Crafters to attack with undead as a minor, remove this from Animate Dead.
Create a feat that gives the option to forgo acquiring a soul point to instantly explode the corpse. (Change explosion radius to burst 1 for 3rd level ability, burst 3 is too much)
Create a feat that allows expenditure of healing surges to gain soul points.
Create a feat that allows use of soul points to turn a sustain minor into a free action.
Change Soul Point damage dice increase to a sneak attack style ability. When using a soul point with an attack, add 1d6. Add feats to increase Soul Point damage dice to d8s.

Restrict some feats to either Corpse Crafter or Soul Reaper.

10. Soul Rend (lv3 Encounter) damage should be expressed as n[W] damage, to show that the damage is being done with the weapon. Also, you've put "Increase Damage to 4d4+Constitution at 21st Level" instead of Charisma, I assume.

11. Change the Glimpse of Terror power to one which reduces just the target's attack rolls (not damage) and allows you to increase your next attack roll by the same amount. Make the flavour text different, and Make Glimpse of Terror a Range 10 Area 1 encounter reducing attack rolls by ability modifier.

12. Change Death Shroud to a feat. Make it's effects the result of gaining or spending a soul point.

13. Make Class Features explicity clear. Do soul points carry over encounters? What does it look like when you have a soul point? Do minions count? Because it's imbalanced if they do, you could kill 9 minions with one shot and improve an encounter power like Soul Rend from 3d4 to 6d10 with 2 points spare. You should make some powers which require soul point expenditure to gain full effect, and make summoning require them. Or, make minions unreapable. Reduce limit from level+mod to primary ability modifier plus talisman enhancement. This means that at level 1, you could save up 4 soul points and expend them on a big attack against a solo, or expend them as you get them, empowering aoe attacks and buffs. Make it so that you have soul points associated with your talisman's enhancement.


You have your first encounter of the day. You have a +2 Mummified Hand Talisman. You start with one soul point as standard, plus the two from your mummified hand. You always spend your standard soul point first, using it to summon a skeleton in the encounter. You spend one more on buffing your skeleton's defences, and another to finish off the boss you're all fighting.

You take a short rest, and regain your one standard soul point. Your mummified hand is depleted until you take an extended rest to recharge it, or kill using the right spells.

In the next encounter, you recognise that you are running low on soul points. You hang back and blast until the enemies grouped up are weakened, and then move in. You use your Level 6 Daily Utility Of Flesh and Bone, wading into the fray with your improved defences, draining souls left and right using Charnel Touch as a minor action. You kill two enemies, one Medium and one Large. You gain one soul point from the medium enemy, which recharges your implement. It now holds one soul point. You impale the large enemy with your armoured fist. You begin the complex work of freeing his soul from the flesh, and in the blink of an eye you acquire one soul point, leaving your implement fully charged. You feel that the creature has more to give in death, and come to the conclusion that its large frame holds more soul energy than a smaller foe would. Instead of gaining more soul points, you decide to crush his spirit, detonating the body from the inside out. 1d8 damage to everything in burst 1.

14. Change necrotic wave, make it Close blast 3 each creature in burst. This will make it useful.

15. Make Bone Armour a paragon path feature, and an innate defence (i.e, you don't put it on, it grows out of you). Create a new implement, such as Talismans (shrunken heads, skulls, monkey paw, etc.). Invent new implement bonus features instead of replicating wizard implement bonuses. Allow use of rods.

16. Corpse Dance (lvl7 Encounter) Should be more powerful. Should also push tertiary ability score squares.

17. Of Flesh and Bone (lv6 Utility), change to a stance, allows you to use Charnel Touch as a minor action melee basic using your primary ability modifier once per turn. change from +2 bonus to Cha mod. Make it a daily, not encounter.

I recommend a bit of an overhaul of the ability scores used in order to be more in keeping with the other classes. Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma for Corpse Crafters and Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma for Soul Reapers. Intelligence implies the knowledge and skill required to work with the body parts involved in corpse craft, and Wisdom implies the experience of the application of entropic forces. Or the other way around, either works. Charisma implies force of will and personality.

When making powers, you have three options: Better for Crafter, Better for Reaper, Balanced.

You then have to get the correct balance between damage and status effects. The more damage, the less status effects you should apply. Consider "Area of Effect" to be a status effect.

Overall, I think your class shows promise. Especially if you better define the different build options available with the abilities you present (such as the one that demolishes and restrains dangerous single targets by using soul point status effects and corpse explosion, the undead summoner spending soul points to summon and dominate the undead, the hybrid who uses a potent combination of undead and aoe buffs/debuffs to bog down his enemies in a swirling sea of necromantic pain). Just make loads of corrections, alterations, balances, and then add a load of path specific feats, and this will be awesome.

Cheers, and sorry not all of that is in order. >_>

2009-04-08, 12:29 AM
WOW, that was allot. Thanx for the over view of the class. I'll take some of it into consideration. It may give me some formatting nightmares, but I'll try and work out some more balance issues and to define the class options more.

As, far as a few things you mentioned, I think making a feat to allow the use of Soul Points to maintain Powers as a free action was a good idea, but the Feat to allow a character to forgo a healing Surge to gain a Soul Point could be VERY over powering when combined with Animate Dead and the other Feat to expend a Soul Token to auto-explode a corpse. Plus, it could wind up killing half your own party...:frown:

I did like the idea of changing the power "Of Flesh and Bone", I'll do that.

I'll also try and predetermine the power stat base to include Wisdom for Soul Reapers and Intelligence for Corps Crafters, to help give the class the right disposition as to which powers would be more suited to either build.

As, for Bone Armor growing from the character, I think it would make it VERY difficult Roll Playing wise for a character to enter cities and NOT be considered a monster if he had a huge mass of bone growing from him/her. Being able to remove th armor also gives the Necromancer the ability to shape his own armor into a needed body if the need arises. With the Necromancers immune to the negative effects of undead grafts I'm sure they will have enough on their plate to try and hide from Clerics of Pelor...:smile: And, as far as adding other types of implements goes, I like the idea but keeping it simple and in check with the other classes seems to be key for 4th Ed. but I guess you could always call your "Shrunken Head" a rod or wand (basically is all semantics).

Changing "Death Shroud" to a reactive power as the result of gaining a soul point sounds like a good change. I'll have to play with it to see how the ability will flow.

As far as gaining Soul Points goes, you are right I should have been more specific in saying that you only get them from Non-Minion living creatures.

I do plan on creating more Feats to allow a few small abilities (hopefully not to over powered) when spending Soul Points for the Soul Reaper and a few to allow the Corpse Crafter to enhance his Undead creations by adding the undead templates from Open Grave, but most likely those will be in the Paragon classes.

BTW, paragons I have come up with are Pale Master for the Corps Crafter, and Vale Walker for the Soul Reaper. I haven't worked out powers past level 13 yet so that I can get the flow of the basic class perfected.

Thank you very much for your input. :biggrin:

2009-04-08, 06:31 AM
The corpse explosion thing works well if you change it so that it isn't burst 3, which is overpowered. This is also in line with the contingency feats you can get for the minotaur's goring charge, and others. Make it a paragon path feature.

The feat to explode a corpse on gaining a soul point would only be for the corpse you would have gained a point from, so I see no problems there, nor any interaction with spending healing surges to gain soul tokens. Also, under my instruction, Animate Dead would be a Corpse Crafter path feature. So, there'd be no interaction between soul points and Animate Dead...


Lazorus, The Soul Reaping Necromancer

Class Path Features - Detect Undead, Soul Reaper

Gains ability to detect undead and use soul points.


Vaxrathmas, The Corpse Crafting Necromancer

Class Path Features - Detect Undead, Animate Dead

Gainst the ability to detect undead, and to animate and control a variety of corpses. Commanding an animated corpse is now a minor action.

As for bone armour, the only difficulty comes if your player decides to have ostentatious spires of bone cascading out of his flesh, instead of the sensible sub-clothing plates of bone that a discerning caster would employ. As I said, make it a paragon path feature. It's a standard thing with Pale Masters, actually, given that they are designed to give casters a bit of melee edge so they can move in with the zombie hordes.

And, as far as adding other types of implements goes, I like the idea but keeping it simple and in check with the other classes seems to be key for 4th Ed. but I guess you could always call your "Shrunken Head" a rod or wand (basically is all semantics).

^ If you want to keep it simple, don't add Bone Armour as a new (unnecessary) item. Add it as a paragon feature.


Pale Master Features
Boneskin (11th Level): You gain a +2 natural bonus to AC

This, when combined with powers which are geared towards a melee capable caster, like Of Flesh and Bone, will provide more than enough AC bonus. A paladin in +3 full plate at lvl11 has an AC of 28. The Pale Masters would have (Taking 24 as "base" Wizard/Cloth Caster AC, with proper Int and Level appropriate +3 Cloth armour) 24+2 (pale master feature)+3 (ChaMod, with Of Flesh and Bone). At 11th level, assuming Pale Master is a Corpse Crafter Paragon path, stats are

Str 9
Con 12
Dex 16
Int 22
Wis 14
Cha 16


Leaving you with AC 2 points lower than a paladin in full plate, until you pop Of Flesh and Bone, at which point your AC becomes 29. This is fine for a caster using Dailies in order to get into melee combat. With Mirror Image, a Wizard can bring his AC up to 30.

This build with "Bone Armor" (Basically Hide Armour but an implement as well (???)) and no paragon path bonuses would have an at rest AC of 27.

Is that balanced? A caster with an AC 27, paladin with AC 28? :P

Having both hands free (Bone Armor is an implement) means that you can also train into using shields, granting another bonus to AC (29). So a caster (21 no armour) with bone armour (+6) trains into using shields(+2) and uses Of Flesh and Bone(+3), granting total AC of 32. Bone Armour grants twice the AC of Cloth, because of the int boost.

The reason Soul Shards/Tokens/Points need to be reasonably powerful is because the Soul Reaper is a glass cannon in comparison. Without a high Int Mod to boost +3 cloth armour, his ac is 21. With Bone Armour, it comes to 24, the standard for Cloth casters. With Of Flesh and Bone, it rises to 27. This is far more balanced; using a Daily power here improves survivability in melee combat but not as much as encasing them in armour.


Get rid of Bone Armour
Change it so that it has the same stats as Cloth
set it between Cloth and leather, +1 basic AC bonus, then +3 enhancement on top of that (+4) is more balanced than +6 to AC.
Change Corpse Crafter primary stat from int to a stat which doesn't affect AC. It would probably be wise to keep the main stat as Wis or Int for both, if you're going to keep bone armour in as a class feature which isn't path specific. That should help to keep AC balanced between both builds.

As for the implements, how about making them undead grafts? Skeletal, Lich, and Mummy hands, etc? Or make that part of one of the Corpse Crafter paragon path features, in the same way the Wizard of the Spiral Tower gains the ability to use longswords as implements.


2009-04-08, 10:39 AM

I have made some major modifacations to the class using some suggested things as well as I think I found all the miss-spellings of "Corpse".

The Soul Harvester class build now uses Wisdom and Charisma as its' main stats. A few powers were overhauled to support this change.

Soul Harvesters can now use Soul Points to sustain a spell as a free action instead of a minor as well as adjust the die values of their powers used.

To, supplement the Corpse Crafter now can keep the undead they summon with the level 1 "Summon Undead" ability the creature is not dismissed when the encounter ends like other summoning spells. As long as it has Hit-Points it can remain under the Corpse Crafter's control.

Bone Armor is no longer an Implement and has had its' AC value lowered to 2 instead of 3. small other changes were made to clear up timing of powers and abilities.

Here is the link to the new changes.

Thanx for the suggestions and hope you enjoy :smile: