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    DracoDei's Avatar

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    wink (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

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    I've recently started playing a necromantic minion-mancer for the first time, to to test out some homebrew of mine.

    Which lead me to realizing just how broken Command Undead, and Control Undead are, in that they don't allow mindless undead a saving throw. This means that any undead that are encountered can be easily controlled, especially by Dread Necromancers (the class, not the Prc).

    While fixing the spell would be one way of fixing this, some people might not want so direct a nerf. If one was to go the direct route, a simple -4 to -10 to the will saves of mindless undead could be good. Taking it further one could say they use half their usual overall will save bonus.

    This at least gives useful treasure to anyone disadvantaged by the items (if an item is used), and incidentally to everyone else. In any case Dispel Magic (Greater) can render the creature vulnerable, although the very first order would need to be "Take off your headband" in the case of the item. The item would then need to be put back on under controlled conditions.

    To keep the above treasure under control, and since Command Undead remains a 2nd level spell, no matter how high level you get, I have made price very low, both in terms of where it starts out, and that it scales linearly rather than quadratically.

    As is usually the case, I am trying to get this out there before I start fretting too much about details and forget to actually finish it.

    Anyway, here is my solution, in both spell and item form:

    Retain Post-Mortal Servant
    Necromancy
    Level: Clr 2, Sor/Wiz 2, Dread Necromancer 2
    Components: V, S, DF
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) OR Touch
    Target: Up to 4 HD worth of mindless undead or mindless deathless/level OR one mindless undead/mindless deathless of 4 HD/level Touched
    Duration: 2 hours/level
    Saving Throw: Will Negates (Harmless)
    Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)
    This spell causes the targeted undead/deathless to count as intelligent for the purposes of all spells and effects that allow intelligent undead a will save, but do not allow mindless undead a saving throw.

    Against any spell or effect that would control the undead/deathless in question, such as Command Undead or Control Undead this spell is fully effective.

    Against any other spell or effect that fits the general requirements, but does not grant control over the undead, the will save is at half the bonus (after the application of wisdom modifiers, spells, and magic items, but before circumstance modifiers), or a -4 penalty, whichever produces the smaller total modifier after the operation in question (so in the undead's DISfavor). This is equally effective against spells that effect the undead directly, such as Halt Undead and those that do so indirectly, as with Hide from Undead.

    If applied to a single undead/deathless as a Touch spell, then if the undead/deathless in question is currently effected by anything this spell would grant a save against, then it grants a save as if Retain Post-Mortal Servant been in effect when each spell first started to effect the individual target. Note that this NEVER grants more than one save against a given effect, no matter if the target had already gotten one for whatever reason initially, or via multiple castings of Retain Post-Mortal Servant and/or items (such as the below) that provide similar effects. Retain Post-Mortal Servant still continues to provide its normal effects for its normal duration if used in this way.



    Circlet of Mindless Mind
    Price: See below
    Body Slot: Head (or all slots for undead without heads)
    Caster Level: See below
    Aura: Faint to Strong Necromancy (See Below)
    Activation: Continuous
    Weight: 1 lb for a medium wearer
    This iron band is made out of conjoined skulls.

    If worn by a mindless undead or deathless creature, this item grants the effect of a continual Retain Post-Mortal Servant, with the limitation that the bonus on will saves before the subtraction or division that that spell applies in some cases is capped by the strength of the item, as listed on the chart below.

    If worn by a creature with an intelligence score, then the maximum bonus to will saves (minimum 1) instead applies as a penalty to intelligence. This can not reduce a creatures intelligence score below 1. A will save when the circlet is put on against the standard DC (10 + 1/2 caster level + Casting ability score modifier) negates this penalty, and grants immunity against the intelligence reduction from that particular circlet for 24 hours.

    Prerequisites:Craft Wondrous Item, Retain Post-Mortal Servant, (See Below for caster level requirement)
    Maximum Market
    Variable Creation Requirements and Costs
    Necromancy
    Bonus Price(GP)
    Gold
    XP
    Caster Level
    Day's Work
    Aura
    -2
    25
    12 gp 5 sp
    1
    1
    1
    Faint
    -1
    50
    25
    2
    2
    1
    Faint
    0
    75
    37 gp 5 sp
    3
    3
    1
    Faint
    +1
    100
    50
    4
    3
    1
    Faint
    +2
    200
    100
    8
    3
    1
    Faint
    +3
    300
    150
    12
    3
    1
    Faint
    +4
    400
    200
    16
    4
    1
    Faint
    +5
    500
    250
    20
    5
    1
    Faint
    +6
    600
    300
    24
    6
    1
    Moderate
    +7
    700
    350
    28
    7
    1
    Moderate
    +8
    800
    400
    32
    8
    1
    Moderate
    +9
    900
    450
    36
    9
    1
    Moderate
    +10
    1,000
    500
    40
    10
    1
    Moderate
    +11
    1,100
    550
    44
    11
    2
    Moderate
    +12
    1,200
    600
    48
    12
    2
    Strong
    +13
    1,300
    650
    52
    13
    2
    Strong
    +14
    1,400
    700
    56
    14
    2
    Strong
    +15
    1,500
    750
    60
    15
    2
    Strong
    +16
    1,600
    800
    64
    16
    2
    Strong
    +17
    1,700
    850
    68
    17
    2
    Strong
    +18
    1,800
    900
    72
    18
    2
    Strong
    +19
    1,900
    950
    76
    19
    2
    Strong
    +20
    2,000
    1,000
    80
    20
    2
    Strong
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2019-09-03 at 08:49 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    I like the idea of a spell to counter it over simply nerfing it. While those spells would need nerfed for any other school, undead are notoriously weak for CR so I don't think it is as game breaking.

    The never more than one save seems too restricting, though I see where you are coming from with it. But, I think you could just say this spell may not grant more than one save itself and it still wouldn't be out of power for the current level.

    Headband of Mindless Mind seems reasonable as far as will saves, but the intelligence penalty is insane. Does it function as a cursed item then?

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    DracoDei's Avatar

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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    I like the idea of a spell to counter it over simply nerfing it. While those spells would need nerfed for any other school, undead are notoriously weak for CR so I don't think it is as game breaking.
    I was unaware they were considered weak for their CRs. Knew they were such for their HD.

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    The never more than one save seems too restricting, though I see where you are coming from with it. But, I think you could just say this spell may not grant more than one save itself and it still wouldn't be out of power for the current level.
    Maybe, but remember that this spell is the only way I know of for those saves to exist in the first place, so it seems to close potential loopholes to just leave it like it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    Headband of Mindless Mind seems reasonable as far as will saves, but the intelligence penalty is insane. Does it function as a cursed item then?
    Well, yes, with the caveat that removing it is usually easy as long as you don't drop to TOO low an intelligence. You just reach up and take it off. Also technically Remove Curse probably doesn't do anything.

    It was mostly a fluff-producing mechanic, rather than something that was designed to have any big effect on play. You could strap one of them onto a prisoner* to make things easier, but beyond that...

    *Especially an Int-based caster, or maybe someone you don't want remembering what happened while they were kidnapped very well, since Intelligence controls memory.


    I'm going to throw a will save on there just for the sake of argument.

    EDIT: Changed the name of the item to match the fluff better while I was at it.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2013-04-17 at 11:26 PM.
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
    Currently Running: Equestria Begins (A High Tactics campaign)
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    I suppose I should rephrase myself when I say undead are weak for CR. They are weak for CR when controlled by, or played by, players. The system works well for NPCs, but penalizes players horrendously.

    The biggest problem I see with playing a necromancer as a character is the ease other necromancer's have at stealing your undead, because most DMs don't use them as mooks, coupled with how easily most foes can avoid them and their low damage and hit points.

    Undead also have to be created more often than not, usually have expensive components for their creation, and you risk being attacked by them if you can't maintain control. A summoner just snaps his fingers and is awesome.

    edit: And don't forget most animation spells have to be used at a range of touch so you have to manually dig up corpses. It's not until you get create undead you can do so at a range.

    I think part of the problem with undead is negative levels. You have to grant weaker undead because some of them deal negative levels and can create spawn.
    But what I don't think the designers realized was that because they are so much weaker than summons it becomes a moot point anyways. That and they forgot overwhelming hoards are cooler than some anti-climatic drain and then getting creamed, along with your whole army, by a couple of fireball spells.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2013-04-16 at 09:05 PM.

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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    I suppose I should rephrase myself when I say undead are weak for CR. They are weak for CR when controlled by, or played by, players. The system works well for NPCs, but penalizes players horrendously.
    Yeah, D&D is slightly slanted towards Good parties (thus Paladin being a base class in the PHB, but Blackguard being a PrC in the DMG... of course there are no PrCs in the PHB).

    Which I actually consider a "Good Feature, Not a Bug", but that is a completely different matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    The biggest problem I see with playing a necromancer as a character is the ease other necromancer's have at stealing your undead,
    True.
    Sidenote: It is entirely possible when casting this spell to break your own control over a high HD undead you had to use Command Undead on because nothing else could handle the HD.

    Bug, or feature?

    Although theoretically I guess you could order them to fail the save? Interesting timing issue there... I wonder if I should make that explicit in the spell description?
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    because most DMs don't use them as mooks,
    Undead, necromancers, or both?
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    coupled with how easily most foes can avoid them and their low damage and hit points.
    Bit hard to avoid when directed verbally by an on-site master (talking is a free action...), unless you were referring to Hide from Undead?
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    Undead also have to be created more often than not, usually have expensive components for their creation,
    Talking about the 25 or 50 GP per HD, or something beyond that?

    I know that the fat and meat for the Fat Glob and Muscle Mass my play-test character is using didn't turn out to be cheap, but that doesn't count since it is my own homebrew.

    How expensive 25 GP/50 GP per HD is really depends on how often you have to replace them.
    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    and you risk being attacked by them if you can't maintain control. A summoner just snaps his fingers and is awesome.
    Well, a summoner of anything but undead...
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2013-04-16 at 09:26 PM.
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
    Currently Running: Equestria Begins (A High Tactics campaign)
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    Oh I understand D&D being slanted towards good characters, but there are better ways of doing that than ruining any option of doing otherwise. It's like trying to play a sneaky character in the elder scrolls series. If they didn't want you to play a certain way they shouldn't have included it for players.

    Besides I don't understand why necromancer's have to be evil. Dark heroes often have more interesting back stories in my opinion. Apparently being gross and playing with corpses makes you evil.

    Interesting. I actually never thought of commanding undead to fail a save.

    Necromancers in particular aren't mooks very often and undead hoards are often presented in a situation where you are better off sneaking around them than trying to fight them. Especially when level drain punishes you for even trying to play the game.

    I was not only referring to how hide from undead could let others escape notice, but many undead are slower than other monsters and most of their attacks require melee range even though their hit points are crap.

    When everyone can kill several undead in a single stroke it gets pretty expensive.

    Think about the fact that Druids, with near full melee capability, companion and spellcasting, are completely overpowered.
    Meanwhile I, as necromancer, can have 200 undead (I know unlikely, but still), full spellcasting, and even cheese my way into full BaB and still be more incompetent than most gishes. So I have an army, but the druid, or any warrior with great cleave, can flatten it in a couple of rounds?
    Last edited by eftexar; 2013-04-16 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Re: (3.X) (Item) (Spell) For and Against Necromantic Minion-mancers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    Think about the fact that Druids, with near full melee capability, companion and spellcasting, are completely overpowered.
    Meanwhile I, as necromancer, can have 200 undead (I know unlikely, but still), full spellcasting, and even cheese my way into full BaB and still be more incompetent than most gishes. So I have an army, but the druid, or any warrior with great cleave, can flatten it in a couple of rounds?
    Those 200 undead aren't really going to be the higher HD sorts you could pick unless you are abusing the stuffing out of Command Undead.

    Anyway, you are correct that this spell and item help fix that problem, especially for PCs (who are more likely to survive a confrontation than anything they TRY to fight).
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
    Currently Running: Equestria Begins (A High Tactics campaign)
    Extended Signature
    My Homebrew is meant to be used, but, if you do, PLEASE tell me how it goes.

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