View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Divine Domain: Deathlord

2017-02-08, 10:05 AM
Despite the Death Domain existing, it actually has very little to do with the undead. Other that getting Animate Dead as a domain spell, the domain has virtually nothing to do with undead or undeath. Instead, it's all about being a master of negative energies. Thus, while wizards created the "repose domain" to be the "good-aligned" version of the death domain, I for a while had been toying with taking the opposite approach. The Death domain actually works very well for non-evil death deities if you replace Animate Dead with, say, revivify, as it's features actually lend themselves to fighting undead..allowing you to use necrotic energies against them. Thus, I've created this rough domain for more undeath/undead-focused clerics for my own settings in which the deith of death is non-evil/hates undead. (and houserule the death domain to have Revivify in place of Animate Dead as a domain spell). However, it is extremely early on in it's conception, and since I am VERY bad at 5e balance, likely way too broken. Thus, if anybody has any ideas on how to bring it more in-line with other 5e options, I'd be grateful!

So, without further hesitation, the Undeath Domain...

EDIT: Fluff has been changed significantly to go with a trio of domains I'm making. New fluff will be incoming when I get time.

Deathlord Domain


Domain Spells

1st: Corpse Visage*, Undead Servant*
2nd: Animate Skeleton or Zombie*, Death Armor*
3rd: Animate Dead, Putrefaction*
4th: Blight, Beltyn's Burning Blood*
5th: Contagion, Undead Spell Focus*

(Spells marked with a * are from Thomas Schlüter's Necromancy After the Time of Troubles. (http://www.dmsguild.com/product/179971/Necromancy-After-the-Time-of-Troubles))

Alternate PHB only Domain Spell List:

1st: False Life, Ray of Sickness
2nd: Blindness/Deafness, Ray of Enfeeblement
3rd: Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch
4th: Blight, Evard's Black Tentacles
5th: Contagion, Insect Plague

Bonus Cantrip

When you select this Domain at 1st level you gain Chill Touch as a bonus cantrip. For you, this counts as a Cleric cantrip.

Mantle of the Deathlord

As a cleric out solely for power, you swear fealty to none but yourself. Instead of drawing your magic from a deity, you access divine magic through your passionate worship of self. As a result your force of personality, not your ability to perceive a god's signs, empower your spellcasting. Starting at 1st level, you replace all instances of "Wisdom" with "Charisma" in your Spellcasting and Channel Divinity class features.

Your powerful presence also lets you better command others, granting you proficiency with Intimidation at 1st level. Due to the corrupt way you access divine magic, your curative spells are also twisted. All spells you cast that heal hit point damage treat undead as living creatures for their effects. (So, for example, you could use the spell Cure Wounds to heal damage a Zombie has taken.)

Channel Divinity: Control Undead

At 2nd level, you gain the following Channel Divinity option:

Control Undead. As an action, you brandish your holy symbol and force your will upon the undead in your presence. One undead creature within 30ft of you that can hear your voice must make a Wisdom saving throw. If it fails its saving throw, it is charmed by you for 1 minute. As long as it remains charmed, you can command it, as if it was an undead under your control that you created with an Animate Dead spell.

You can have this Channel Divinity target one additional undead creature for every point of Charisma modifier you have. (commands you give apply to all undead you have controlled with this Channel Divinity.) You can control no more than your cleric level worth of Hit Dice of undead with this Channel Divinity, and this limit applies universally, not just per-use of this Channel Divnity. (So if you used this Channel Divinity twice, if you already where in control of undead from your first use any undead you charmed with your second use would count towards this limit.)

Unstable Animation

At 6th level you learn how to quickly animate the undead, creating minons who's animating energies are unstable and volitle. You can cast necromancy spells that create undead with a casting time longer than 1 action (Such as Animate Dead and Create Undead) with an action. When you do this, the undead that spell creates gain the following benefits and drawbacks:

They last for 1 minute instead of remaining animated indefinitely.

They add your Charisma modifier to their weapon damage rolls.

When they drop to 0 HP, they explode in a blast of necrotic energy and innards, dealing 1d4 necrotic damage and 1d4 poison damage to every creature in a 10ft radius around them. For every 2 hit dice they possess, they deal an additional 1d4 poison and 1d4 necrotic damage. (For example an undead with 3 HD would deal 2d4 poison damage and 2d4 necrotic damage to everything within 10ft of it upon it's death.)
Necrotic Strike

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your undead minion's weapon strikes with necrotic energy. Once per-round, when an undead under your control hits a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

General of Undeath

Starting at 17th level, you gain absolute control over those undead you command. When you charm undead creatures with your Control Undead Channel Divinity, they remain charmed indefinitely instead of for 1 minute. (and they can be commanded normally as-per your Control Undead Channel Divinity.) Each day, they may repeat their Wisdom save (against the DC of your Control Undead channel divinity) and if they succeed, they break free from your control. Intelligent undead are harder to control this way: undead with 8 or more Intelligence have advantage on this saving throw.

Additionaly, you can now control more undead: the HD limit of your Control Undead Channel Divinity increases to 2x your Cleric Level.

2017-02-08, 01:10 PM
The level 17 ability immediately strike me as a problem. You can effectively have an undead army of unlimited size. That is an issue. Instead of having a save each day, I would follow animate undead and give the control ability a 24hr duration and if you dont reassert control using channel divinity before then then they are automatically freed from your control.

2017-02-08, 01:31 PM
Thanks for the suggestion. I edited the OP with your advice. With that change, does it look ok?

2017-02-08, 01:43 PM
I would include alternate bonus spells from the phb in case someone sees this and whats to playetest it.

The abilities seem mostly fine but I would be wary of replacing con with cha at level 1. This opens up a lot of abuse for the copious amounts of charisma classes that would now love a one level dip in cleric. Simply dump con and have at least 13 in wis and you can have a 20 in your casting stat and your hp/concentration stat at the same time. See what I mean.

Other wise it seems pretty good. I was considering doing something similiar to this so I may steal some ideas if you don't mind.

2017-02-08, 01:48 PM
Yeah, I never considered multiclassing when I made this. The idea was mostly based on fluff baggage form 3.5e and the need to not suffer for investing in cha for control undead (since thats a very potent ability to have as a channel divinity, hence why it is cha-dependent and not wis-dependent like the rest of the domain.)

Maybe instead have tomb-tainted soul only let you use Cha-to-HP on cleric levels, and get rid of the con save part iof the deal? Also, good call on the alternate domain spell list. Originally I had the domain spells being all from the PHB, but these spells just fit the theme so much more. I'll add the old domain spells back as an alternate option, though.

EDIT: Edited the OP, so I'm wondering how it looks, now?

2017-02-08, 02:11 PM
I think that will work good. That way it scales with class level not character level. To have consistent wording with phb I might use "whenever you gain a level in this class."(taken from dragon sorcerer) rather than "each cleric level afterwards"

2017-02-08, 02:18 PM
Sorry if this kind of seems like a pile on, but that would still open up multi-classing issues and characters just taking the class to let their charisma mods do AC work. I think the Charisma bonus to hp is just fine and works well thematically, but I'd limit it by levels in the class.

For example, for every Hit Die you have in this class you may add your Charisma modifier to your Hit Points in place of Constitution. At 4th level (just a random number) any time you would need to make a Constitution save you may make a Charisma save instead. The wording needs cleaned up, but that's the gist of my two cents.

Actually, not really. As a DM I can still see serious issues with General of Undeath. While it may be balanced mechanically, it raises some serious issues to someone controlling the game. At lower levels it's fine. Enemy necromancers or vampire lords losing some of their minions could have a potential upset, but one that the DM can build encounters with that in mind. Now if they send out a powerful undead they must build encounters on the chance you're able to dominate it and most aren't known for their high Wisdom scores in the first place. It's just a very large variable that could send things spiraling out of control.

Instead I would suggest either a full undead transformation, such as into a lich or vampire, or the inherent loyalty of a powerful undead, a Kas to your Vecna.

2017-02-08, 02:28 PM
Yeah, I realized the AC bonus would not work and went back to Cha-to-HP, but based on cleric level instead of level peirod (check the OP for details. Also, as for the capstone, those are both good ideas, and I already had mechanics for a lich transfomation feature I was going to add anyway, so I'll throw them up and see if they work out any better than General of Undeath.

I edited the OP accordingly with the changes, so please, let me know if they are ok?