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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zaydos's Avatar

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    Default Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    SHEPHERD OF DEATH


    "Come my children. Tonight you rise, tomorrow you slay." – Vraskja, self proclaimed Necromancer Prince

    The dead outnumber the living. Wherever you look. Wherever you go. The dead outnumber the living. A Shepherd of Death recognizes this, and calls to them the legions of the dead as their servants. A Shepherd of Death is a necromancer who has turned their eyes to the creation of legions. They do not merely create a skeleton or two to serve as bodyguards. They call the dead to them, creating their flock and they lead it a roving band of the night.

    Becoming a Shepherd of Death

    A Shepherd of Death must delve into the study of the undead, seeking out the knowledge of their creation, the arts to make them. Perfection in design can come later, however, a Shepherd of Death must learn how to create them in quantity. A Shepherd of Death studies this, studies the ways of the grave, the mind of death itself and becomes in tune with it. For some this means looking to Wee Jas, Vecna, and Nerull for guidance, listening the whispers of the gods of death and black sorcery. For others they instead turn purely to their own research, tapping into some of the same rituals that are used to become a lich, altering their own minds to tune into the pulse of death. For all, though, they learn to command the legions of the dead and to make them.

    Prerequisites:
    Alignment: Any Evil.
    Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 10 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks.
    Spells: Able to cast Animate Dead or use it as a spell-like ability or use The Dead Walk invocations.
    Special: Must have made at least 24 undead creatures.

    Class Skills
    The Shepherd of Death's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Knowledge (the Planes) (Int), and Spellcraft (Int).
    Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + int

    HD Type: d4.

    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Spellcasting
    1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Herd of the Dead, Undead Attaché -
    2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Eyes of the Dead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Complex Commands +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Dead Legions +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Scholar of the Undead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Tongue of the Dead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Improved Animate Dead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Countless Hordes of the Dead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Greater Eyes of the Dead +1 level of existing spellcasting class
    10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Dead Conduit, The Dead Outnumber the Living -

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Shepherd of Death gains no new weapon or armor proficiencies. Who needs weapons when you have the dead at your behest?

    Herd of the Dead: By performing an 8 hour ritual a Shepherd of Death can cause mass amounts of undead to rise to their cause. This ritual may only be performed during a night without a moon (either because it's a New Moon, the moon did not rise over the horizon during the period, or there is no moon), a full moon, or a night in which the moon is eclipsed. This ritual causes a number of undead creatures from the surrounding area to join the Shepherd of Death's cause, or animates the dead to fill the numbers. These dead rise and find their way to the Shepherd of Death over the course of the next week. They gain undead in 6 tiers, gaining a number of each tier as shown on the table below. Tier 1 are 1 or less HD skeletons and 2 or less HD zombies; tier 2 are 2-3 HD skeletons, 4 HD zombies, and ghouls; tier 3 are 4-5 HD skeletons, and 6 HD zombies; tier 4 are 6-7 HD skeletons, 8-10 HD zombies, and ghasts; tier 5 are 8-9 HD skeletons, 12-14 HD zombies, vampire spawn, and wights; tier 6 are 10-11 HD skeletons, 16-18 HD zombies, and mummies. While the Shepherd of Death may note a preference for what sort of undead is called but they must either already exist or have suitable corpses in the region (for example 'bipedal skeletons' would simply require dead bipeds, mummies would require desiccated corpses or mummies, ghouls would require dead cannibals, gluttons, or those who died of starvation, etc), and the DM is the final arbiter of what undead arrive. A DM should feel free to allow other forms of undead, generally at Tier = CR + 1, although they are advised to be careful with allowing incorporeal undead and swarms and to add at least 1, perhaps 2 or more, tiers to such creatures (CR + 2, +3, or higher).

    The undead gathered by this ability are based off of the Shepherd of Death's character level plus their Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier (whichever determines the save DCs of their spells, if they have multiple types of spells they select which type of spell and associated ability score) plus special modifiers as follows: +2 if the ritual is performed in a region with a high density of undead (as determined by the DM); +1 if the ritual is performed in a region with Taint; +1 if the ritual is performed in a base of operations of the Shepherd of Death which they have acted out of for at least 3 months; -1 for each time the ritual has been performed by the Shepherd of Death in the last 3 months; and an additional -1 for each time the ritual has been performed by the Shepherd of Death in that site within the last 3 months. You control undead gathered by the ritual as if you had created them with Animate Dead but they do not count against that spell's limits and you cannot choose to release them, although if control is wrested from you they no longer count against the limit. Performing the ritual will never cause you to lose undead even if your score is reduced, it will simply not refill tiers which you are over your current maximum for.

    Total Score Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5 Tier 6
    5 or lower - - - - - -
    6 1 - - - - -
    7 2 - - - - -
    8 3 - - - - -
    9 4 - - - - -
    10 5 - - - - -
    11 6 - - - - -
    12 8 - - - - -
    13 10 1 - - - -
    14 15 1 - - - -
    15 20 2 1 - - -
    16 25 2 1 - - -
    17 30 3 1 - - -
    18 35 3 1 - - -
    19 40 4 2 1 1 -
    20 50 5 3 2 1 -
    21 60 6 3 2 1 1
    22 75 7 4 2 2 1
    23 90 9 5 3 2 1
    24 110 11 6 3 2 1
    25 or higher 135 13 7 4 2 2

    Undead Attaché: A Shepherd of Death’s does not care only for quality. They also gain the ability to create an elite undead servant. Typically this is a skeleton of their species. This undead attache uses the standard stats for such but gains HD equal to the Shepherd of Death’s character level, +1 to Str and Dex per 3 HD, an Intelligence score of 7 + ½ their Shepherd of Death class level, correspondingly feats and 2 + Int skill points per level (Spot and Listen are only class skills), and a +1 increase to natural armor per 4 Hit Dice. Unlike a normal undead the undead attache has BAB equal to +3/4 HD instead of ½. A Shepherd of Death may choose to instead gain a ghoul, zombie, or at DM’s discretion a shadow or wight. If they select a ghoul it has 2 less HD, corresponding loss of Str and Natural Armor bonuses, but uses a ghoul’s base stats instead of a skeleton’s, and uses its normal Intelligence. If they select a shadow it has 5 less hit dice, does not gain natural armor or a bonus to Strength and has a correspondingly reduced bonus to Dex, but uses a shadow’s base stats instead of a skeleton’s. If they select a wight it has 5 less hit dice, has correspondingly reduced bonuses, but uses a wight’s base stats instead of a skeleton’s and wight’s Intelligence. If they select a zombie it uses a zombie’s base stats instead of a skeleton’s, including partial actions only, and has BAB equal to hit dice and an additional +1 to Str, Dex, and Natural Armor.

    If you dismiss your undead attache or it is destroyed you may create a new one by performing a ritual that takes 8 hours a night for each of three consecutive nights of the New Moon or Full Moon.

    Spellcasting: Standard boilerplate, no increase at 1st or 10th level.

    Eyes of the Dead (Su): A Shepherd of the Dead is within constant mental connection with the undead they control. Beginning at 2nd level, as a standard action a Shepherd of the Dead may transfer their senses into the body of an undead they control through Animate Dead, Rebuke Undead, or Herd of the Dead. When they do so, they lose their own senses other than touch for 2 rounds, but can perceive through the chosen undead 1 round. They lose any Ex or Su sensory abilities they possess when doing so, but gain the undead creature’s, however they still use their own Search, Spot, and Listen skill modifiers. A Shepherd of the Dead may only use Eyes of the Dead to view from one undead creature’s perspective at a time.

    Complex Orders: A Shepherd of the Dead is capable of providing a certain guidance to undead they control through their spiritual connection. Beginning at 3rd level a Shepherd of the Dead can give more complex commands to unintelligent and non-sentient undead as if the undead had roughly 5 Int.

    Dead Legions: A Shepherd of the Dead commands legions not mere dozens. Beginning at 4th level the number of undead called by Herd of the Dead increases to twice what is indicated on the table, however it takes 2 weeks for them all to arrive with ~1/2 their max of each tier (rounded up) arriving each week.

    Scholar of the Undead (Ex): A Shepherd of the Dead naturally is a student of the undead, learning the ins and outs of their nature. Beginning at 5th level they gain a +6 bonus to knowledge (religion) checks made to identify undead creatures, or as part of Knowledge Focus when dealing with undead creatures.

    Tongue of the Dead (Su): The dread connection with the dead that a Shepherd of the Dead possesses allows them to speak through their mouths and hear their whispers. At 6th level Add Speak with Dead as a 2nd level spell known and to their spell list(s). If the Shepherd of the Dead chose to advance an invocation using class instead of a true spellcaster on this level they instead gain the ability to use Speak with Dead as an invocation. In addition, they can talk through the mouth of any undead they are seeing through via Eyes of the Dead in their own voice.

    Improved Animate Dead: A Shepherd of the Dead does not rely only on their connection to the force of death to create undead, they still on occasion turn to Animate Dead. When you cast the spell, use it as a spell-like ability, or use the Dead Walk invocation, you can animate twice as many undead with a single casting and control twice as many total undead. In addition the material component cost is halved to 25 GP per 2 HD of undead animated.

    Countless Hordes of the Dead: A Shepherd of the Dead command of the undead continues to grow. Beginning at 8th level the number of undead called by Herd of the Dead increases to ten times what is indicated on the table for tier 1 and 5 times for higher tiers, however it takes one month for them to all arrive (roughly 1/10th every 3 days for tier 1, and 1/5th for higher tiers).

    Greater Eyes of the Dead (Su): A Shepherd of the Dead is skilled at the manipulation of their link with the dead. Beginning at 9th level when using Eyes of the Dead a Shepherd of the Dead retains their own senses and can use it as a swift action, free action if targeting their undead attache. If the Shepherd of the Dead’s senses through an undead creature overlap with theirs they gain a +2 bonus to Search, Spot, and Listen checks, and if the undead can view the Shepherd they are not flanked unless the undead is also flanked.

    Dead Conduit (Su): A Shepherd of the Dead is able to channel more than just senses through the connection with the dead. Beginning at 10th level a Shepherd of the Dead can cast spells of up to 3rd level through an undead creature they are seeing out the eyes of through Eyes of the Dead, or up to 6th level if it is their undead attache. You use them as the point of origin of the spell’s and if it is a touch range spell they may deliver the touch spell for you.

    The Dead Outnumber the Living: A Shepherd of the Dead commands the legions of the long dead, causing them to rise to outnumber the living. Beginning at 10th level the number of undead called by Herd of the Dead increases to one hundred times what is indicated on the table for tier 1 and 10 times for higher tiers, however it takes 100 for all the tier 1 undead to arrive (roughly 1/100th a day for tier 1, and 1/10th every 3 days for higher tiers).
    Last edited by Zaydos; 2016-01-19 at 09:57 PM.
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

    Current Projects:

    Group: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror Part 2

    Personal Silliness: Vote what Soulknife "Fix"/Inspired Class Should I make??? Past Work Expansion Caricatures.

    Old: My homebrew (updated 9/9)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    A technical issue: The Dead Outnumber the Living isn't on the table. Moreover, it lists time to arrival as "100". You may need to specify what measure that's it, though I suspect and would RAI it as days.

    In terms of the class itself: Wow. That's a lot of undead. I don't really have anything else to say about it. It's glorious, because undead armies are glorious, but I'm not sure about balance.

    EDIT: After some theoretical consideration, it's not as unbalanced as it seems. Largely because a party could just Teleport in on the Shepherd and beat them to death, taking away the army's cohesion. Then a Cleric can just turn the lot.
    Last edited by Eno Remnant; 2016-01-19 at 10:26 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    This seems to me like it would be a really good NPC class. Assuming you reach the highest level the table allows, you have: 13,500 pieces of cannon fodder, 200 minor speedbumps, 60 larger speedbumps, and 20 minor threats. This would let you use your other sources of creating/controlling undead to animate larger threats.

    That seems like definitely enough to take over a small country. Also, it forces the PCs to choose: kill lots of cannon fodder in hopes of imposing enough penalties to hurt the BBEG, or go after the BBEG first and clean up the fallout later?

    I would hesitate to use it as a PC class, though. The sheer numbers involved would make bookkeeping even more difficult than a normal character with tons of minions. A kingdom-building type game is the only way I could see it working, where the players are controlling tons of people anyway.

    Just my 2 cp.

    -Sky

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    Thanks for putting this together. I wasn't actually requesting it, but you made a really cool class and I appreciate it!

    It is, I think, more powerful than what I wrote years ago. I agree that it would be hard to play in a "traditional" game; probably the best way to do it would be to either use a small number of minions with one you're "riding" (so you can do the 'stay safe at home while adventuring' thing), or to at least take just a few, and treat the others as reserves to draw upon.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zaydos's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    EDIT: After some theoretical consideration, it's not as unbalanced as it seems. Largely because a party could just Teleport in on the Shepherd and beat them to death, taking away the army's cohesion. Then a Cleric can just turn the lot.
    Bingo

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky View Post
    This seems to me like it would be a really good NPC class. Assuming you reach the highest level the table allows, you have: 13,500 pieces of cannon fodder, 200 minor speedbumps, 60 larger speedbumps, and 20 minor threats. This would let you use your other sources of creating/controlling undead to animate larger threats.

    That seems like definitely enough to take over a small country. Also, it forces the PCs to choose: kill lots of cannon fodder in hopes of imposing enough penalties to hurt the BBEG, or go after the BBEG first and clean up the fallout later?


    I would hesitate to use it as a PC class, though. The sheer numbers involved would make bookkeeping even more difficult than a normal character with tons of minions. A kingdom-building type game is the only way I could see it working, where the players are controlling tons of people anyway.

    Just my 2 cp.

    -Sky
    The main reason to give them so many low level undead is for BBEGs (seriously it requires a lot of hoops to build a BBEG that can have the undead army without handwaving it) and kingdom building, otherwise, note the minimum level you're getting things, by the time it's better than leadership with less versatile and weaker minions (it's based on 3.0 Leadership where it was limited to Commoners, Experts, and Warriors so CR = level - 1 at which point this is better) you're Level 11 and then it's just double numbers and CR 5 undead are useful but relatively minor, it's level 15 where you get really large numbers and at that point 1000 CR 1/3-1/2 undead aren't a threat to any real foe, that 13,000 is coming when you've traded Shapechange and Wail of the Banshee for it. As a PC they start being "I leave the lower level ones behind" and it lets you go "I have reserves" and take along a few porters and maybe the tier 6s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Thanks for putting this together. I wasn't actually requesting it, but you made a really cool class and I appreciate it!

    It is, I think, more powerful than what I wrote years ago. I agree that it would be hard to play in a "traditional" game; probably the best way to do it would be to either use a small number of minions with one you're "riding" (so you can do the 'stay safe at home while adventuring' thing), or to at least take just a few, and treat the others as reserves to draw upon.
    Thanks, and yeah you don't try and bring 13000 skeletons into the dungeon with you. There is no good reason to do that... except maybe... Can I kill the dragon by burying it under the weight of my destroyed minions?
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

    Current Projects:

    Group: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror Part 2

    Personal Silliness: Vote what Soulknife "Fix"/Inspired Class Should I make??? Past Work Expansion Caricatures.

    Old: My homebrew (updated 9/9)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Shepherd of Death (3.5 PrC, necromancer)

    Beautiful class as usual. No matter how hard I try, I can't find any flaw, although you could let your uber undead control parts of the horde.
    Spoiler: Quotes!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    Wouldn't a half-elf/half-orc be a Fork?
    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    And besides, it's a ludicrous way of breaking the game by twisting rules beyond all recognition. Kobolds have to be involved in there somewhere.

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