View Full Version : An undead communer?

2007-10-21, 02:25 AM
Well, I find the concept of raising undead for the cause of good to be pretty interesting, but I'm also saddened by the fact that dealing with the undead is absolutely evil.

So I'm thinking about a character class that communes and persuades the deceased spirits to rise and fight again. I'm well aware of several undead who do this of their own volition (baelnorns ftw!), but I don't know of any spells or class features that ASK the dead to return (temporarily or otherwise) as opposed to, I guess, forcing them to return.

With that said, I'm entertaining thoughts of a base class or PrC that does this. The premise is that the caster must make certain Charisma checks (maybe...10 or 15 + the HD of the created undead?) that creates willing undead, which are stronger, faster, and occasionally have extra special abilities to make up for the Cha checks. Hitpoints will probably be d4, while Skills will probably be something like that of the wizard or sorc. And obviously, the character need not be neutral or evil to be of this class.

Sounds viable? Or do the Cha checks make this too unreliable?

P.S: I decided to post this here first and not the Homebrew boards since I want to know what the optimizers think of this first.

2007-10-21, 02:28 AM
but I don't know of any spells or class features that ASK the dead to return (temporarily or otherwise) as opposed to, I guess, forcing them to return.

Uh. Resurrect, etc.?

2007-10-21, 02:33 AM
But resurrect, raise dead, etc. Tend to cost quite a bit, and AFAIK they're not exactly the best for army building, I think. I'm going for a necromancer-ish class that's 1) good, not neutral or evil, and 2) has a different flavor. The current necromantic classes, mechanical or otherwise (like Dread Necs or clerics/arcane spellcasters using lots of necromantic spells) just don't cut it for me.

2007-10-21, 02:40 AM
There's the create deathless spell series, deathless are like good undead.

They always remind me of heartless.

2007-10-21, 02:06 PM
Create deathless? hmm... what book is it from?

2007-10-21, 02:14 PM
Create deathless? hmm... what book is it from?

The only non setting specific one I know is *shudders* BoED, it's also in Eberron CS.

2007-10-21, 02:22 PM
It's not the right gaming system, but if I remember there's an Earthdawn spell called "Spirit Grip" that calls the dead to take vengeance on someone by choking them for an attack, or at least that was the fluff.

2007-10-21, 02:36 PM
What do you guys think of the mechanical concept behind this class feature, though? Creating stronger, more powerful undead at the cost of making Charisma checks?

2007-10-21, 02:39 PM
From reading the OP, it gave me the image of something like a Binder - you get a patron spirit who you commune with, and through them you can entreat other spirits or other undead goodies to come do stuff, via the handy dandy line of summon spells and the like. The more I think about it, the more it appeals to me....Might be worth getting my drawing board out...

Psionic Dog
2007-10-21, 06:51 PM
If you have a good caster, you can say good-by to negative energy and classic undead. This leaves you with either a variation of Riches Ghost Martyrs, or else the homebrewed funkitude (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55828) that popped up recently.

I like the idea of charisma checks to make slightly faster/smarter undead than necromancy would give, gp for gp. That said, I'd make this process take longer too to account for finding and negotiating with the spirit. Also, since we are talking about willing returnees, the class shouldn't be able to command them.

2007-10-21, 06:59 PM
Hmm...how about one of two things that let you be able to command the communed undead?

1) A feat that lets you command the undead upon creation (fluff justification; as part of the communing, you ask that the dead spirit follow your orders).

2) An inherent part of the communing that lets you command the communed by beating the DC by a certain number (say, if the check is 16 and you roll a 21, you get to command the communed)

Psionic Dog
2007-10-21, 09:06 PM
It's your creation. If you want to command stuff, go ahead. Maybe it's just me, but enslaving and ordering sentient creatures about just feels, yah know, evil. That's mostly why I recommend following the example of Drudic Awakenings, and make the unevil undead start friendly to the caster, but free willed.

Perhaps the caster could instead ask the departed to lend their bodies for the greater good, in which case the undead have animal class intelligence or are just mindless. The caster could then command on a successful check of some sort.

2007-10-21, 09:25 PM
Hmm...maybe we could try both? Two builds for the class, perhaps? One tree gets you more communed that are slightly weaker and are more or less mindless (but are still stronger than normal undead) and commandable, while another tree gets you fewer but even stronger communed that aren't commandable, but as you say, friendly?

I ask this because I'd like the concept to be at least mechanically approved, and since I don't have a whole ton of experience in playing D&D, well...:smallfrown:

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-10-21, 09:28 PM
I second the recommendation for Deathless.

If you don't have any of the books that feature them available, they are a creature type that almost exactly like Undead, except they are powered by positive energy. This means healing spells have a normal effect on them and Good clerics Rebuke them while Evil clerics turn them. The Ghost-Martyr paladins of the Sapphire Guard were Deathless (Redcloak's comment about them being cribbed off another campaign setting was reference to Eberron. Even though they were published in Book of Exalted Deeds first.) They also have the advantage of being able to heal naturally. In just about every other aspect regarding their traits and features, treat them like Undead.

2007-10-21, 09:34 PM
I think the Deathless concept would be more practical, but me being the stubborn person I am, I'm still wondering if the class I propose is mechanically viable.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-10-21, 09:52 PM
Well, to really find out if it's viable, you should really flesh it out more and post it on Homebrew. So far it sounds good.

As Garatolla mentioned, the Charisma check bit is somewhat reminiscent of a Binder. If you're worried about that making it too unreliable, take a page out of the Binder's book. Make the Charisma check not about whether or not the undead/deathless is created at all, but make it an issue of quality. So even on a failed check you create the undead/deathless. But perhaps they are more rebellious and less prone to following the 'Communer's' instructions. Or the undead/deathless simply isn't as strong.

2007-10-21, 10:19 PM
Then I shall do so when I have the time.

Thanks for the advice everyone! Feel free to toss in any more comments, suggestions, rantings, etc.