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13_CBS
2007-07-16, 11:58 AM
Hmm...I don't fully understand the D&D rules, so I'm wondering; what's the big difference between the Pale master class and the True necromancer class? Is one divine and the other arcane? Is one better than the other? Is on a prestige class and the other a full class?

Koji
2007-07-16, 12:22 PM
They are both in a contest to suck harder than the other.

I'm obviously kidding, but the real difference is that Pale Master is an arcane prestige class, and True Necromancer is a arcane/divine prestige class.

Before I explain further, try to note that generally, arcane necromancers are good at debuffing enemies, while divine necromancers are good at having undead minions.

Pale Master...

Loses one spell level in return for many spell-like abilities which help him deliver touch spells and increase his survivability on the field (extra armor, higher hit die, etc.). The ultimate ability for the Pale Master is the ability to strike a foe with a skeleton or zombie arm (he cuts off his own arm and puts on an undead one) which can paralyze the enemy. If this attack kills them, the character immediately becomes an undead under his control.

Fun builds: Enlightened Fist/Pale Master, Vampire (or vamp. spawn)/Pale Master--punch someone in the face so hard that they die and turn into a zombie without even falling over. Even if they live, they take lots of damage and are paralyzed or energy drained.

The Pale Master adds a little bit of undead control and a LOT of arcane necromancy--that is, debuffing capability.

True Necromancer...

The TN tries to make a character that can debuff his enemies as well as have lots of minions running around, but what you end up with is a plain old crappy character. They're four levels behind on spellcasting, can't control many undead, and are generally better for bad guys (who can just be many levels higher than the party) than they are for good.

Do not forget the Dread Necromancer. They're a class from Heroes of Horror who are good at having one powerful undead minion and being rather fierce in combat themselves. They play a little bit like a druid in that respect.

If you're making a necro character of any kind, get libris mortis. It has a ton of corpsecrafting feats that make necromancy useful instead of boring.

Sundog
2007-07-16, 12:22 PM
Hmm...I don't fully understand the D&D rules, so I'm wondering; what's the big difference between the Pale master class and the True necromancer class? Is one divine and the other arcane? Is one better than the other? Is on a prestige class and the other a full class?

Both are Prestige Classes from the book Libris Mortis. Pale Master is for Arcane Casters who want to have extra power over the Undead, and he gradually gets powers and abilities that give him that, in addition to slowly becoming more or less undead himself. True Necro is a Mystic Theurge variant (thus requiring you to have both Arcane and Divine spellcasting abilities) of 15 levels that grants additional powers over the undead in exchange for a slower progression of spellcasting - but still gives you both Arcane and Divine advancement.

I count each as roughly the same powerwise. The Pale Master is probably the better stand-up combattant, while the True Necromancer is massively flexible. Personally, I'd rather take Master of Shrouds than Pale Master (a similar class that deals primarily with incorporeal undead) but that's just a case of personal preference.

Dausuul
2007-07-16, 01:39 PM
Do not forget the Dread Necromancer. They're a class from Heroes of Horror who are good at having one powerful undead minion and being rather fierce in combat themselves. They play a little bit like a druid in that respect.

Actually, dread necros don't generally have one powerful undead minion--they have a zillion lesser minions. Individual skeletons and zombies are still capped at 2 HD per caster level, but you get a whole heaping pile of them.

But yeah, if you want to be the classic undead-summoning-debuffing-necro-of-doom, you can't do better than a dread necro.

Yechezkiel
2007-07-16, 01:47 PM
Actually, dread necros don't generally have one powerful undead minion--

The Dread Necromancer familiar list is actually pretty strong.

bugsysservant
2007-07-16, 01:53 PM
Actually, dread necros don't generally have one powerful undead minion--they have a zillion lesser minions. Individual skeletons and zombies are still capped at 2 HD per caster level, but you get a whole heaping pile of them.

But yeah, if you want to be the classic undead-summoning-debuffing-necro-of-doom, you can't do better than a dread necro.

You're both wrong. A dread necromancer can control loads of tough undead. At eigth level she gains undead mastery, giving +2 hit points per die, +4 Str. and Dex. to her minions, and she adds her Cha. modifier to the number of HD she can control with animate dead and control dead.

By the way, does anybody know how good a Dread Necromancer is? It looks like a solid class, which requires a lot of tactics for your creations, but I could be wrong.

Tyger
2007-07-16, 01:59 PM
You're both wrong. A dread necromancer can control loads of tough undead. At eigth level she gains undead mastery, giving +2 hit points per die, +4 Str. and Dex. to her minions, and she adds her Cha. modifier to the number of HD she can control with animate dead and control dead.

By the way, does anybody know how good a Dread Necromancer is? It looks like a solid class, which requires a lot of tactics for your creations, but I could be wrong.

Its pretty nice, in the right circumstances, i.e. if you like minions. Lots of minions. Their bonus to undead control makes them literally one man armies. They can take on many roles, and of course, most will end up either being undead themselves, or becoming a Necropolitan. All in all, its an impressive class, that meshes well with a whole heap of PrCs. Anything the DM throws at you, you kill and then raise to fight for you. It gets nasty. And very time consuming. If your group doesn't burn through combat rounds quickly, please don't take this class. Its crazy when the DN player has to move a dozen or more undead around the field, and attack / defend with them all... in addition to their own actions and the actions of their familiar.

Person_Man
2007-07-16, 02:27 PM
They're both very weak PrC.

The Pale Master loses a level of spellcasting in exchange for some mediocre melee abilities. But a squishy arcane caster should generally avoid the front line of combat like the plague.

True Necromancer is the Mystic Theurge's even more retarded stepbrother. The duel divine/arcane entry requirement forever screws your caster progression.

Avoid them both like the plague.

Behold_the_Void
2007-07-16, 02:32 PM
I will say I do love the creepy factor of the black-cloaked and masked wizard picking you up with his skeletal hand and choking you to death while he pumps you full of dark magic. Pale Master's first level is the crux of the problem, being a completely dead level and all.

lukelightning
2007-07-16, 02:46 PM
I will say I do love the creepy factor of the black-cloaked and masked wizard picking you up with his skeletal hand and choking you to death while he pumps you full of dark magic.

You don't need a prestige class for that. All you need is the right tailor.

JellyPooga
2007-07-16, 03:46 PM
I will say I do love the creepy factor of the black-cloaked and masked wizard picking you up with his skeletal hand and choking you to death while he pumps you full of dark magic. Pale Master's first level is the crux of the problem, being a completely dead level and all.

Which is why I fixed it (or at least tried to)...see my sig.

Dausuul
2007-07-16, 05:54 PM
You're both wrong. A dread necromancer can control loads of tough undead. At eigth level she gains undead mastery, giving +2 hit points per die, +4 Str. and Dex. to her minions, and she adds her Cha. modifier to the number of HD she can control with animate dead and control dead.

It's actually (4 + Cha) x level in total HD controlled. However, as I recall, the HD cap on individual undead remains unchanged. The dread necro's undead are certainly tough by skeleton and zombie standards, but individually they're still not equal to a PC of that level, or even a cohort.


By the way, does anybody know how good a Dread Necromancer is? It looks like a solid class, which requires a lot of tactics for your creations, but I could be wrong.

It's a very solid class, combining the undead horde with debuffs of doom... but you're apt to drive your DM and fellow players crazy.

Fighter: "I attack twice with a 5-point Power Attack. One hit, one miss. 23 damage."
Cleric: "I cast Recitation. Everybody's got +2 to attacks and saves."
Rogue: "I move around to flank and sneak attack. Hit for 17 damage."
Dread necromancer: "I cast enervation. Hit on the ranged touch, that's 3 negative levels. Now my three zombie dire wolves attack. Two hits, 15 damage plus two trip attempts. Yup, tripped him on the second roll. Now my skeletal ogre moves up to flank and attacks. One hit, 16 damage. And then I've got this brown bear skeleton, it's going to use Improved Grab to try and start a grapple..."
Rest of the party and the DM: "ENOUGH ALREADY!"

Schylerwalker
2009-10-16, 06:21 AM
If you're actually looking for a necromancer with a single solid minion, you should take a look at the deathmaster class. It's from a Dragon magazine (I forget which), but I discovered it in the amazing Dragon Compendium. They get a solid selection of spells, d8 hit die, and a rather tough undead minion, as well as a few other little abilities. It's a nifty class.

However, which is better, Pale Master of True Necromancer? Eh. In my opinion, Pale Master. Barely. Take Practiced Spellcaster or Arcane Thesis or some other CL pumping feat if you REALLY lament that lost level. Otherwise, suck it up.

Amphetryon
2009-10-16, 06:51 AM
Given the number of lost caster levels that True Necromancer has to suck up over its progression (hint: read the "+1 caster level" chart very closely), the Pale Master comes out well ahead in a head-to-head comparison.

DragoonWraith
2009-10-16, 07:08 AM
[Dread Necromancer]'s a very solid class, combining the undead horde with debuffs of doom... but you're apt to drive your DM and fellow players crazy.
Note that this is much less of a problem if you're talking about PbP - the DN can handle all of that as he's posting, and not make everyone wait (more than they already were). But as DN player, you have to commit to still being able to post regularly even though your posts may take quite a bit longer than others' to write.

deuxhero
2009-10-16, 07:52 AM
By the way, does anybody know how good a Dread Necromancer is? It looks like a solid class, which requires a lot of tactics for your creations, but I could be wrong.

http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4890.0

You can find an explanation of why the Dread Necromancer is tier 3 and why tier 3 is the best power/balance ratio in the link.

GreyMantle
2009-10-16, 11:11 AM
Actually, there's no need to even bring the rather silly tier system into this discussion. Suffice to say, the dread necromancer can generally compete in as effective a way as is needed and is flavorful.

The pale master is not really bad, in the sense that they still get that nifty wizard spellcasting and some special abilities that, while far from being jesus-on-a-stick awesome, may see some use.

As for the true necromancer, I'll just quote Frank Trollman and K (cuz they'll say it better than I ever could)


You are not going to play a True Necromancer!
A lot of people love the True Necromancer, even though itís a completely crippled class. Even a Mystic Theurge is better, and thatís saying quite a bit because that class is a dog with fleas. Youíre 5 real caster levels behind the curve. If you just took Leadership, and then your cohort took Leadership, both of the cohorts would have better casting than you (being 2 levels behind and 4 levels behind respectively). You can provide the party better and more powerful Necromancy as a single classed Fighter that happens to have Leadership than you would if you were a ďTrueĒ Necromancer.

Top Ten Reasons True Necromancers Are Bad

1. At 14th level, you are five caster levels behind in both classes, so if the party Fighter took Leadership, and his cohort got Leadership, heíd actually be bringing more Necromancy to the table than you. As a fighter.
2. You have to take the Death Domain as a Necromancer Cleric, which is a waste of a Domain Slot when you are trying to be good at Necromancy.
3. In the early levels, you postpone your access to Animate Dead by 4 levels.
4. At 8th level a True Necromancer can create, but not control Ghouls. A Cleric at that level can control but not create Ghouls. Guess which is better? At 11th level, the True Necromancer gets the ability to control Ghouls, and the Cleric gets the ability to create them, so thereís no point at which this is advantageous.
5. The only unique ability of the True Necromancer class is unimpressive. Desecrate is a great spell, but itís also a second level spell.
6. True Necromancers eventually get a bonus to Rebuking Ė at 17th level they have a +1 bonus to their Rebuking level. But at 7th level they have a 3 level penalty to their Rebuking level. So at low levels when rebuking is good they canít use it, and at high levels when Rebuking doesnít matter they donít care.
7. True Necromancers are always going to have underwhelming Save DCs. Between MAD and the fact that they are often forced to use spells that are 3 spell levels lower than what the single-classed casters can use, theyíre going to be out enough Save DC that it shows. A lot.
8. As a True Necromancer you have all the disadvantages of both a Cleric (the gods can take away all your spellcasting at any time), and a Wizard (you have Arcane Spell Failure, preventing you from wearing good armor). Also, your BAB and HPs stink when compared to a Cleric.
9. Control pools from Animate Dead actually donít accumulate between your two classes. Ití right in the spell, if you cast the spell it considers all undead you control from all castings of Animate Dead, not just your Arcane or just your Divine castings of the spell. Some people say differently, and some even quote CustServ, but when was the last time you won an argument with your DM using the line "some guy on a board said that CustServ told him....."?
10. There is almost no synergy between Cleric and Wizard Necromancy. Any synergy you desperately want to find could be replicated by just taking the Apprentice feat at first level and having some Use Magic Device. Get yourself a couple of Wizard Scrolls or something. Itís a better buy than setting 5 caster levels on fire. Smart cookies can even get the right spell effects off monsters for free, no less.

Mongoose87
2009-10-16, 11:33 AM
Could some sort of Ur-Priest entry make True Necro work? Is there some sort of feat selection that would balance you your horrible turning ability?

lsfreak
2009-10-16, 11:38 AM
Could some sort of Ur-Priest entry make True Necro work? Is there some sort of feat selection that would balance you your horrible turning ability?

A much better way than True Necro would be Dread Necro9/Ur-Priest2/Mystic Theurge9.

jiriku
2009-10-16, 11:46 AM
Could some sort of Ur-Priest entry make True Necro work? Is there some sort of feat selection that would balance you your horrible turning ability?

I have DM'd a player who took this class. Even though I allowed him an early entry trick to get into the class two levels early, gave him access to powerful low-HD monsters for him to animate, and generally gave him oodles of DM favoritism, his character still sucked. True Necromancer is utterly and completedly worthless for players. He would have done better even with an oddball class like a sorcerer or favored soul.

Having said that, I'll agree that TN is a great villain class. Because it is much less powerful than its level would suggest and many of its best abilities are limited-use, a high-level TN is very durable compared to a low-level party and has colorful abilities, but it's much less deadly than its level would suggest. Thus, it won't easily kill lower-level players. It makes a great boss monster or BBEG.

Myrmex
2009-10-16, 12:30 PM
A Necropolitan Pale Master would make a good gish-type character. Having d12 HD & an effective con score of 22 is almost as good a dwarf barbarian. Use touch attacks & spells that make you beefier, and the poor BAB won't be so bad. And you also come with nearly full casting.

Maerok
2009-10-16, 12:33 PM
A much better way than True Necro would be Dread Necro9/Ur-Priest2/Mystic Theurge9.

Anything /Ur-Priest 2/Mystic Theurge 9 is pretty good.

And somewhere on the Wizards site, they have one of those in-depth articles about the TN. And they distinctly say 'It's a powerful class and people on the forum have figured out a way to break it.' :smallconfused:

As for DN + Pale Master, that is someone whose hand you never want to shake. I'm kind of put off by the Pale Master class as is, but there's absolutely nothing that I don't like about the Dread Necro. My 9th level guy had a Bluff of like +20, Cha-based casting, spontaneous, you don't have you dig through tables of spells (but you get to pick a few of them), neat familiar, strange abilities, becomes a lich, etc.. Pretty much my favorite class.

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-16, 12:36 PM
About Necromancy in general: There's a very useful feat in Complete Mage that allows you to create an undead that under your control for a time, but doesn't count against the HD limit you normally have. Use this feat+Destructive Retribution on a Greater Bloodhulk (upwards of 20HD), then command it to kill itself (its Mindless, and thus has to obey the command) before the duration on the feat expires. You get a gigantic bomb that would normally count against 40HD of controlled undead, but counts as 0 instead.

Maerok
2009-10-16, 12:41 PM
The nice thing about Pale Master is that the zombies you create with that hand do not count toward your limits (inb4 errata).

A DN/Pale Master with that Animate metamagic would be a zombie machine. My DM had a rather informal style and could just guesstimate the stats and abilities for most NPCs which I was fine with. He sort of automated my undead warriors which was cool. I used Disguise Undead one time to hide a zombie as a hooker in an inn. :smallbiggrin: And then we ended up leaving it there.

What's that Animate Warrior spell or whatever from one of those oriental adventure books?

lord_khaine
2009-10-16, 12:45 PM
The big advantage with the Pale master is that he gets Animate dead as a spelllike ability, saving him a lot of gold on expendeble minions.