View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next College of Desecration (Necromased Bard College, V.2)

2018-11-13, 07:01 PM

The world can be a dark place. For every tale of noble heroes or great triumphs, there is a story of terrifying monsters or gruesome death. While most bards like to focus on tales that uplift and inspire, some bards instead shift their focus to a darker calling. While not a college in the traditional sense, the college of desecration is a term used to describe the varied and disparate group of Bards who focus their art on the raising of undead minions. Unlike bards of the college of dirges who use their performances to mourn the dead, bards of the college of desecration, often just called "desecrators", have little care for the dead as individuals. Instead, they find their muse in both the trappings and aesthetics of death, and the undead themselves. Desecrators are often fascinated by gruesome topics that frighten normal folk, such as murders, hauntings, undead, and the things that go "bump" in the night. This stark difference with the college of dirges has marked them as that college's most hated enemy, as despite the interest in death both colleges share, the college of dirges cares deeply for the dead that the college of desecration so often defiles and enslaves.

Sadly, the foul reputation that the college of desecration has earned is often unfairly applied to bards of the college of dirges, who are mistaken for desecrators by the common folk due to their own interest in death. In fact, the term "college of desecration" is a derogatory name, coined by the bitter college of dirges to disparage desecrator bards as little more than ghouls who root about in graveyards, digging up the dead to become their next minions. While this image of a desecrator is at least partly factual, as a loose assemblage united only by a shared interest in the macabre, bards of the collage of desecration vary greatly in their passions and levels of depravity. While many are evil individuals who delight in gore, death, and defiling the dead, others may instead be amoral enthusiests of horrific tales, or even benign fans of light-hearted stories in which undead are among the princaple characters. Desecrators of the latter ilk often make an effort to combat the stigma undead have by doing things like using their minions as a part of comedic performances, or taking up a publicly romantic partnership with a benign intelligent undead, such as a repentent vampire.

Despite their differences and lack of true organization, some more formal societies of desecrators exist. These groups typically meet in graveyards, or sites where murders, hauntings and other grim events transpired. The most organized of such groups often try and pass themselves off as a legitimate fixture of the community. Most commonly, this is in the form of exclusive clubs of wealthy individuals that share "exotic" interests, though some may go as far as establishing a business in line with their interests, such as a funeral parlor, butcher shop, or sanitarium.

Author of Fear

As a desecratior you are more a writer and collector of macabre tales than you are a traditional musician Bard. If you wish, instead of gaining three instutment proficiencies at 1st level, you can gain proficiency with Caligrapher’s Supplies. If you choose to do this, you can use a humanoid skull as a spellcasting focus for your Bard spells, and may start play with a set of Caligrapher’s tools and a humanoid skull instead of an instrument. However, if you gain proficiency with Caligrapher’s Supplies this way, you must choose the College of Desecration when you select your Bardic College at 3rd level.

Macabre Secrects

Your intrest in the macabre causes you to seek out necromancy spells beyond the scopes of traditional Bardic magic. Starting at 3rd level, when your Spellcasting feature would let you select a Bard cantrip or Bard spell known of 1st level or higher, you can choose that spell from the Bard spell list or all necromancy spells on the Wizard spell list. (They must still be of levels you can cast, as normal.) Spells not on the Bard list become Bard spells for you when you select them.

Additionally, you gain Chill Touch as a bonus cantrip known. For you, Chill Touch is a Bard cantrip, and does not count against your total cantrips known (as-per the Cantrips Known column of the Bard table.)

Dancing Limbs

Also at 3rd level, you learn how use your music or oration to animate the limbs and even organs of fallen creatures as temporary undead minions. As a bonus action you can spend a bardic inspiration die, rolling that die and targeting a body, a body part, or a pile of bones within 30ft. When you do this, a small piece of the corpse is animated (likely a hand) as a temporary undead minion for 1 hour. It rips itself away from its original body, and is treated as a tiny Undead creature that is under your control and uses your initiative.

You can command these undead to move freely, however, to have them take an action of any kind, you must command them to do so with a bonus action, which can be the same bonus action you use to raise one with this feature. When you use a bonus action to command these undead, you can command all other undead you control with the same bonus action (regardless of what spell or feature created them). Undead creatures you animate with this feature use the statistics of a tiny animated object (as-per the Animate Objects spell), except as follows:

Their type is Undead instead of Construct.
They have immunity to exhaustion, poison damage and the poisoned condition.
Their hit points (and hit point maximums) equal the result of your inspiration die roll, instead of their normal amount
They use your Bard Spell Attack Bonus as their own attack bonus (including for the use of combat maneuvers, such as grappling, shoving, tripping etc...).
When they roll damage, they roll your Bardic Inspiration die instead of a d4 when determining how much damage they deal.
Inspired Reanimatior

At 6th level, you learn how to raise and command permanent undead Minions with greater proficiency than other spellcasters. You gain Animate Dead as a bonus spells known. For you, Animate Dead is a Bard spell, and do not count against your total spells known (as-per the spells known column of the Bard table.). When you cast Animate Dead, it can target one additional corpse or bone pile and create one additional skeleton or zombie (as-applicable).

Additionally, you also learn how to use your music or oration to empower the undead. You can spend a use of your Bardic Inspiration as an action to have all undead you control gain an inspiration die (those undead may spend it as-if it was a normal inspiration die.) As long as those undead have an inspiration die granted by this feature, they increase their hit point maximums by your Bard level + your Charisma modifier, and add your proficiency bonus to their weapon damage rolls.

Rule the Still Heart

You learn how to forever bind the unbeating hearts of the dead to your will, transforming them into your eternal slaves. Starting at 14th level, your Bard spells and class features (such as Charm Person or Dominate Person) treat undead that where humanoids in life as humanoids with no immunity to the Charmed condition for their effects. (For example, you could cast Dominate Person or Suggestion on a zombie or wight that was a human in life)

Additionally, if a Bard spell you cast would inflict the Charmed condition on an undead creature(s), those undead remain Charmed indefinitely. This does not extend the duration of any other spell effects beyond granting the Charmed condition. (So an undead indefinitely charmed with a Dominate Person spell you cast this way could not be directly controlled as-per that spells' rules after its duration ends, and would merely have the base effect of the charmed condition (giving you advantage on Charisma checks made with it and having it see you as a friend) extended for an indefinite duration.) If you or one (or more) of your allies attack or otherwise directly harm any undead you have charmed indefinitely through this feature, they immediately lose the Charmed condition and become hostile.


Big thanks to Man_Over_Game for helping create the Macabre Secrets feature. Art courtesy of Alex Noreaga.

2018-11-13, 07:21 PM
Is raising an undead creature Dance of the Dead an Action or a Bonus Action? The text in it conflicts, saying that it takes an Action to use and then letting you give commands to your minions with the same Bonus Action that you use to raise one.

2018-11-13, 07:34 PM
Sorry about that. Yeah, thats a typo. It is a bonus action to raise and command. Thanks for spotting that!

2018-11-13, 07:36 PM
Dance of the Dead is very fiddly. Lots of constantly changing numbers to keep track of. You could make it easier by using stats for an animated object.

2018-11-13, 07:43 PM
That may be a tad too strong, is my only worry. I'm not going to write it off, but if I do that I may have to give them some kind of stat and HP reduction, since animated objects seem way too strong to make with only an inspiration die.

2018-11-13, 07:50 PM
One creature that lives an average of 4-6 rounds and costs you an action to create is not much. Especially when you could roll a 1 and end up blowing your action and an inspiration die just to make a single weak attack.

Mmm, also, "You can control a number of these undead objects equal to your Charisma Modifier" is redundant, since you can never create more of them than your Charisma modifier in the first place.

2018-11-13, 07:57 PM
True, but you didn't say you where using your bardic inspiration die to set its HP; normally a tiny animated object has a 20 HP, +8 to-hit and an AC of 18, which is why I was saying that such a thing was too broken for a single inspiration die. If you use the die roll to determine its HP and HP maximum though it becomes a lot less OP, your right. It might even be underpowered, in that case, to the point I think letting it use your spell attack bonus as its attack bonus (as well as its bonus for grappeling, shoving etc...) and bardic inspiration die as its damage die may be warrented.

2018-11-13, 08:16 PM
Tying its attack bonus to your proficiency bonus and its damage die to your bardic inspiration die sounds good. That will scale them both at a rate that fits right into the power curve of many other class features in several classes.

2018-11-13, 08:18 PM
I edited the OP with the changes. Please let me know if you see anything else wrong with it!