View Full Version : Necromancer Bard

2010-06-11, 07:08 PM
I'm looking for some feats and perhaps a prestige class for such a character (villain, actually). Listening to Music of the Night (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHAauiJwwmU) was what gave me the idea.

Curious though the idea might be, I'd love to work it out, but bard in general is not such a great class for things like this. Homebrew classes are more than welcome, of course, considering I'm DM. :P

2010-06-11, 07:25 PM
The Dirgesinger from Libris Mortis may be what you are looking for. Combine the class with a bunch of the Fear effects that are available to bards, and maybe the Doomspeak feat from Champions of Ruin - which is awesome and I wish I could fit it onto my bard. :smallcool: Haunting Melody feat from Heroes of Horror helps with the Fear build, and bards get Cause Fear, Scare and Fear all on their spell list.

Combine that with a couple levels of Dread Necromancer (also a CHA based class) and you could be swimming in bolstered undead, all jivving to a necromantic beat.

What sort of level are you looking for?

2010-06-11, 07:44 PM
This thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152344&highlight=necromancer+bard) has quite a few ideas for a necromancer bard. It also has a pretty picture if you need even more inspiration.

2010-06-11, 07:44 PM
Consider Prestige Bard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/prestigiousCharacterClasses.htm#prestigeBard) as your lead-in to Dirge Singer. For example, you could get into Prestige Bard through Duskblade, though the build matures late: Duskblade 13/Prestige Bard 2/Dirgesinger 5.

2010-06-11, 08:10 PM

T.G. Oskar
2010-06-12, 12:28 AM
Consider Prestige Bard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/prestigiousCharacterClasses.htm#prestigeBard) as your lead-in to Dirge Singer. For example, you could get into Prestige Bard through Duskblade, though the build matures late: Duskblade 13/Prestige Bard 2/Dirgesinger 5.

Duskblade isn't a good choice. You'd want Dread Necromancer for that, since they actually get the intended necromancy spells (plus Rebuke Undead, of course). Or Beguiler, which gets to Prestige Bard in record time (since you need to have spells from the Illusion and Enchantment schools).

However, I don't approve of Dirgesinger. You gain some cool and flavorful songs usable with Undead, but the PrC itself is kind of a joke. First, your spell progression becomes non-existent. Second, their ability to reanimate through song is hilariously weak. A Dread Necro/Prestige Bard (not sure about this one, but if you can you're set forever) or Beguiler/Prestige Bard with Requiem (Libris Mortis, allows you to use your Bardic Music with Undead) works almost strictly better in all regards.

The link provided above uses Dirgesinger, but it also provides good clues on how to make a good Necromancer Bard.

2010-06-12, 04:38 AM
The reason I went to Duskblade is spell access. Divination, Enchantment, and Illusion are needed for Prestige Bard, while Dirgesinger calls for Necromancy.

2010-06-12, 04:44 AM
So what's the backstory of the Necromancer Bard? Why did a person who does a job normally considered up-beat and pleasent pick up on such a dark practice?

...oh was I supposed to be helping with the crunch?

2010-06-12, 04:48 AM
So what's the backstory of the Necromancer Bard? Why did a person who does a job normally considered up-beat and pleasent pick up on such a dark practice?

He listened to metal. \m/

2010-06-12, 07:35 AM
I second the notion of prestige bard, however, I don't suggest a Beguiler for a necro build. What you may want to look into is the Death Master. Why? Unlike the Beguiler, the Death Master is a necromancy focused caster. He has some great Necromantic spells at his disposal(Including animate dead as a level 2 spell!) as well as rebuke and a nice undead minion. However, what makes him a bit better then a Dread Necromancer for this build is that unlike the DN, the Death Master gets some 1st level divination and enchantment spells on his list. This makes it somewhat easier for him to qualify for prestige bard then a dread necromancer since he can take the extra spell feat at 3rd level to gain a 1st level illusion spell. A DN would have to take multiple feats to gain entry to prestige bard since it lacks 1st level enchantment and illusion spells.

Unfortunately, a Death Master's casting is based on int and not cha which means you have to deal with a bit of MAD, however, a Beguiler has int based casting as well, so it's not completely horrible I guess. If you really dislike the MAD a DN can be made to work for the build, but your going to have to burn 2 feats at the least(Not counting a feat to gain preform as a class skill), and if you use arcane disciple your going to have to put some points into wisdom which is usually a dumb stat for DNs and Bards.

The Death Master class can be found in the Dragon Compendium, in case you didn't know.

An example build using death master would look something like the following..

If you want 9th level spells, try the following

Death Master 8/Prestige Bard 12
(Note: This build requires you to gain preform as a class skill and gain a level 1 illusion spell, there are feats to do these things.)

If you want to take dirgesinger and don't care about 8th and 9th level spells, try the following...

Death Master 14/Bard 1/Dirgesinger 5
(No feats needed to get preform as a class skill since you can save up skill points and dump them all into preform on your bard dip. You don't get 8th and 9th level death master spells with this build however. Also, practiced spellcaster is a must with this build)

If you hate MAD and don't care about spell levels 7-9...

Dread Necromancer 14/Bard 1/Dirgesinger 5

(This is the closest you can get to a real necromancer themed bard. You get up to 6th level spells DN spells, just like a standard bard gets up to level 6 spellcasting. No need to burn feats as you just save up skill points and dump them into preform on bard dip. Oh, you get undead mastery with this build as well. The best part is this build has no MAD, since DN casts on charisma. So if you want to be more like a true bard and don't want MAD, this is an ok build. Again, practiced spellcaster is a must.)

2010-06-12, 09:26 AM
There's a feat called "Divine Inspiration" [Dragon Magazine 333] which allows stacking Cleric and Bard-levels for Bardic Music. This means you can go Bard 1/Cleric 19 with 1-to-full Rebuking, Cleric Spells and Bardic Music. If you want Dirgesinger, it can be done but it'll cost you 5 levels of Rebuking. The class unfortunately does not advance it.

2010-06-12, 09:41 AM
Yeah, cleric 19/bard 1 using aforementioned feat is most likely the best build optimization wise and necromancer wise since clerics are one of the best necromancer classes in existence. It's still MAD though, since wis is usually a bard dumb stat, but it dose not really matter with this build since your more of a necromancer cleric who uses bard songs to buff your undead rather then a primary bard with some necromantic abilities. The only thing kinda ehh about this build is the image of a heavy armored bard. Bards definitely look better in cloth and light armor then heavy, spiky, black full plate that evil clerics usually have. Though likewise, if you go for a more "heavy metal" theme and convince your DM to allow you to use an electric guitar the spiky full plate becomes all the more awesome fits the heavy metal flavor. But for a sophisticated, violin playing bard like the one pictured the full plate just clashes with the imagery, at least to me.

Also, I found another nice 3rd party necro bard class called the Mourner. It's from Hollowfaust-City of Necromancers and it gets some very interesting songs. The best thing about it though is it advances any arcane class you want it to, not just bard, so thus I came up with these two builds.

For a truely Necromancy focused bard, try this..

Death Master 3/Bard 3/Ultimate Magus 3/Mourner 10/Other Arcane Advancing PrC 1 or another level of Death Master

You get the mourner songs and abilites(which include things like some very nasty songs that replicate necromancy spells and the ability to give a death ward to the party with your songs, among other abilites.) and you also cast as a 17th level Death Master. You have some serious necromantic power due to the 17th level death master casting and you also get some nifty bard songs from mourner plus lots of skills from high int(needed for death master casting) and the oddles of class skills from bard and mourner. If you REALLY want to powergame/optimize however, try the following instead..

Wizard 3/Bard 3/Ultimate Magus 3/Mourner 10/Other Arcane Advancing PrC 1 or another level of Wizard

Your not as necromancy focused as the death master build, but you can theoretically learn all wizard/sorcerer spells in the game and get the full power of the wizard/sorcerer spell list. If you want to be flavorful and a bit disgusting, take mother cyst as a 1st level feat and use the necrotic cyst spells. Of course if you want to be a truly great necromancer bard and not a wizarding bard with a fondness for necromancy, the Death Master build fits the bill better.