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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    It's a basic fact; if you're a D&D fan, and you like the magic-user classes, you've almost certainly got at least one favorite School of Magic. For me, well, that School is undoubtedly Necromancy (with Evocation close behind).

    Why? I guess, at heart, it's a combination of n appreciation for darker settings and anti-hero types, and simply the fact that it just feels more "magical" to me. Enchantment and Illusion, I'm just too predisposed to writing off as comparatively mundane trickery by comparison - I guess a result of growing up reading Conan, where it's repeatedly stated that most hypnotic spells work in large part because of cultural indoctrination - whilst Divination has always felt too "NPC-focused" for me as a player.

    But, as much as I like playing a necromancer, I have to confess that D&D's treatment of it has been a bit... hit and miss.

    Whilst there's certainly an abundance of necromancy spells in total, they've tended to be scattered over sourcebooks, and as 5e currently doesn't have a "Complete Book of Necromancers", a "Libris Mortis", or even a "Complete Arcane", well, that leaves 5e Necromancers in particular with a fairly limited spellbook if they want to be thematic.

    I also have some issues with the kinds of spells traditionally lumped under necromancy. Namely, despite the school's association with destruction and death, it tends to be rather lacking in actual "blasty" type spells. Where's the ability to let out soul-withering ghostly screams, to freeze foes with the cold of the deepest grave, to scorch them with hellfire?

    And, of course, the biggest issue; the fact that D&D has had a long tradition of gimping the wizardly necromancer in favor of the clerical one, despite the fact that clerics are supposed to be the class specialized in fighting against the undead, with their mastery left to the fields of "those blasphemous, heathen wizards". This most famously manifested itself in the fact that the Necromancer was long inferior in terms of controlling the undead to an evil Cleric, courtesy of their "Control Undead" class feature, but it also manifesteds in a bias in spell allotment as well - seriously, can you believe that in 3rd edition, Create Undead was a Cleric-exclusive spell?

    I recently came into possession of a copy of Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead. It awakened in me my long-slumbering fondness for necromancers, and since I have some of D&D's big respositories of necromancy spells to hand (Complete Book of Necromancers, Libris Mortis, Player's Option: Heroes of Shadow), I thought I might try and update various spells from them, and perhaps some other "dark mage" flavored spells, such as those from the Book of Vile Darkness (and its Dragon #300 bonus spells) or Pathfinder's Horror Adventures. Maybe even try some completely homebrewed spell ideas that I've had boiling around, inspired by the likes of Warcraft and Sacrifice.

    But, as I read through the Guide to the Walking Dead, I began to wonder. It's a 3e sourcebook, but it's got a lot of interesting ideas. Ways of making undead more unique. The "Bind Undead" feats, which allow you to render undead you create permanently animated and loyal. The "Reign Undead" skill, which was used to teach undead to perform complicated tasks (essentially "Animal Handling for Necromancers").

    Moreover, it reminded me of my favorite kit from AD&D. The Undead Master was awesome, as it was the most "pulpy" Dark Mage wizard kit ever envisoned. For the price of giving up all but the barest minimum combat skill and access to three schools of magic (Alteration, Divination, Illusion), it gave you the usual Necromancer bonuses, let you cast Enchantment spells (ordinarily forbidden to a Necromancer), Control Undead as if you were an Evil Cleric of equivalent level, and Control Outsiders as if they were Undead of equivalent hit dice.

    Now, "I'm A Banana" over on the Enworld 5e Forum was awesome by noting ways you could pull off this kit perfectly legitimately by just using the right blend of spells, backgrounds and feats, plus a homebrew feat for an added bit of "oomph", but still, it made me wonder if 5e doesn't have room for necromantic Prestige Classes, feats, alternate subclasses, skills, etc.

    Beyond that... I realised that for all my enthusiasm to convert spells, I actually am a rookie who could really use the input of others on the occasional bit of brainstorming. For example, I've heard that the Summon Undead spells from the Libris Mortis were held up as pretty awful back in 3.5 - why is that? And how can I fix that? For another, both VRGTWD and Libris Mortis contain a "create 5HD of undead per caster level" 9th level Necromancy spell for creating armies of minions. The Ravenloft version is called Army of Darkness and takes a day to cast, whilst the Libris Mortis one is dubbed Plague of Undeath and only takes an action. How do I choose which one to use? Can I maybe work them both in, just using different effects from casting? Heck, how am I supposed to handle the resultant undead horde - maybe have them create a "Zombie/Skeleton Swarm" instead?

    So, recognizing that I need the assistance and input of others for this little project, I start this topic here. If you're interested in fleshing out the necromancer's arsenal in 5e, please, I'd love to talk shop and swap ideas, see what we can do!
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I see class as a representation of power source: the specific spells of different wizards or the techniques of different fighters might vary, but they belong to the same class because they all draw power from arcane study/martial practice, respectively.

    That in mind, I'm not a fan of subclasses that mix power sources (Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, etc) or half-casters (Paladin, spellcasting Bards). I wouldn't personally care to see necromancer subclasses or prestige classes, or really a necromancer class at all. I'd much rather improved necromancy options for existing casters through new spells, subclasses and feats.

    I'd be down to work towards that as a homebrew project.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    ...That is basically what I was talking about. I'm just not ruling out the possibility of necromancy-themed 1/3rd and 1/2 caster subclasses - Death Slayer as a new Fighter subclass specialized in battling the undead, for example.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    My first few ideas. More will be added as I come up with it. PEACH.
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2017-03-08 at 10:16 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Not sure how balanced these are by any means, but I had/have an Undeath domain for clerics as dirgsinger type bard college. They can be found at the links below (even though they may be too op/need balancing)...

    Undeath Domain

    College of the Macabre

    Likely too broken, but we can work off them, no? Also had a Necro-themed Warlock patron based off serving an Undeath god such as Orcus or Null/Falazure but didn't write that one down yet.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2017-03-09 at 10:44 AM.
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    It looks like this is where we are compiling necromancy homebrew that we have made/ are working on

    I've got some spells, and a full class that I think are getting pretty close in terms of balance

    spells

    Dread Necromancer
    Last edited by Llama513; 2017-03-10 at 12:33 AM.

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    My first few ideas. More will be added as I come up with it. PEACH.
    I really like the ideas that you have thus far, there is only one major issue that I see at the moment, Apnea is way to powerful, if they don't pass their first two saves, they are as good as dead, because at that point they have disadvantage on saving throws, and at their 6th exhaustion level they drop dead, thus with a 1st level spell you can kill anything in 6 rounds, that is way too powerful

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama513 View Post
    I really like the ideas that you have thus far, there is only one major issue that I see at the moment, Apnea is way to powerful, if they don't pass their first two saves, they are as good as dead, because at that point they have disadvantage on saving throws, and at their 6th exhaustion level they drop dead, thus with a 1st level spell you can kill anything in 6 rounds, that is way too powerful
    I actually ran the numbers on that. Assuming a spellcaster with +5 on their spellcasting ability and +6 proficiency bonus (save DC 19), a creature with +0 Con saves would succeed at least one save out of three 27% of the time.

    A creature with +5 (+3 Con and +2 proficiency? +5 Con alone?) would succeed one in three 72% of the time.

    A creature with +11 (+5 Con and +6 proficiency) would succeed one in three 96% of the time.

    That is to say, the strongest spellcaster imaginable could kill a commoner with this spell about 2 thirds of the time, a level 1 Barbarian about 1 third of the time, and a level 20 Barbarian one-in-twenty times.

    It is extremely difficult to fail six consecutive saves, even with a high DC, purely because bad odds with many chances become good odds.

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    I actually ran the numbers on that. Assuming a spellcaster with +5 on their spellcasting ability and +6 proficiency bonus (save DC 19), a creature with +0 Con saves would succeed at least one save out of three 27% of the time.

    A creature with +5 (+3 Con and +2 proficiency? +5 Con alone?) would succeed one in three 72% of the time.

    A creature with +11 (+5 Con and +6 proficiency) would succeed one in three 96% of the time.

    That is to say, the strongest spellcaster imaginable could kill a commoner with this spell about 2 thirds of the time, a level 1 Barbarian about 1 third of the time, and a level 20 Barbarian one-in-twenty times.

    It is extremely difficult to fail six consecutive saves, even with a high DC, purely because bad odds with many chances become good odds.
    I see, it still feels weird to have a first level spell that can kill anything provided that they have bad rolls, but I see what you mean about it being extremely unlikely

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama513 View Post
    I see, it still feels weird to have a first level spell that can kill anything provided that they have bad rolls, but I see what you mean about it being extremely unlikely
    That's fair. And now that I think of it, why have the stacking exhaustion if the higher levels of exhaustion are so unlikely to come up?

    How about the spell flatly increases the target's exhaustion to the 2nd degree (disadvantage on ability checks + halved speed): save ends?

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    Llama513's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    That's fair. And now that I think of it, why have the stacking exhaustion if the higher levels of exhaustion are so unlikely to come up?

    How about the spell flatly increases the target's exhaustion to the 2nd degree (disadvantage on ability checks + halved speed): save ends?
    That works much better

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I collected everything in this thread into one document which I think should be available to edit by following this link:

    Libris Mortis

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Outliar View Post
    I collected everything in this thread into one document which I think should be available to edit by following this link:

    Libris Mortis
    While I get what you are going for by combining them together, I would prefer to keep mine seperate so that I only have to edit my base document, if you wanted to compile links to the homebrewery documents in one document I'd be fine with that, bit otherwise id prefer to kerp my documents where I only have to edit the one

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama513 View Post
    While I get what you are going for by combining them together, I would prefer to keep mine seperate so that I only have to edit my base document, if you wanted to compile links to the homebrewery documents in one document I'd be fine with that, bit otherwise id prefer to kerp my documents where I only have to edit the one
    Fair enough, I will do that, good idea.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Also, the stuff I made is *way* too imbalanced for that doc just yet. I mean, feel free to keep it there, but it needs heavy re-balancing before I can consider it truly "finished." I also am making a Necro warlock archetype and a divine necromancer base class, so I'll be sure to post those here when I finish them. Also, GalacticAxekick, do you mind if I use some of your spells in my homebrew as long as I credit you as their creator in the doc (and link to your doc for the spell's effects)? I am pretty lousy at thinking up spells myself, so I was just wondering, is all.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2017-03-10 at 09:38 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Well... I really don't know what to say here. I'm impressed with your enthusiasm, guys, but what I was kind of expecting is that I'd end up doing the work and getting you folks to weigh in as a think-tank, helping me tweak balance issues and sort out problems where I have the seed of an idea, but no idea how to make it reality - for example, adapting Bone Puppet, Summon Undead and Army of Darkness/Plague of Undeath.

    So... yeah, I'm kind of at a loss here. You guys are doing good work here - even if there are some things I'd disagree on (for example, healing from a cantrip? Per the DMG, that's a no-no) - and I don't really wanna throw you all off.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_in_the_Mist View Post
    Well... I really don't know what to say here. I'm impressed with your enthusiasm, guys, but what I was kind of expecting is that I'd end up doing the work and getting you folks to weigh in as a think-tank, helping me tweak balance issues and sort out problems where I have the seed of an idea, but no idea how to make it reality - for example, adapting Bone Puppet, Summon Undead and Army of Darkness/Plague of Undeath.

    So... yeah, I'm kind of at a loss here. You guys are doing good work here - even if there are some things I'd disagree on (for example, healing from a cantrip? Per the DMG, that's a no-no) - and I don't really wanna throw you all off.
    Well, I will be happy to help you develop ideas, and I think having a place to develop ideas, and have necromancy related material in one place is a good thing, as we know that those that post here are serious about wanting to give necromancy the focus it deserves

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Thank you for the words of reassurance. If I'm still okay here, let's discuss some things that're particularly bothering me.

    First of all, I was thinking about the Undead Master from AD&D. This was a Necromancer-exclusive wizard kit that was really able to challenge the Cleric for its title; not only could it cast Enchantment spells (normally forbidden to necromancers), it had the Control Undead ability as if it were an equivalent level Cleric, and could also control extraplanar beings as if they were undead of equivalent hit dice. Furthermore, in 3rd edition's Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead, a pair of feats called Bind Lesser & Greater Undead allowed a necromancer to permanently enslave undead creatures, removing them from the "you can control X HD" restriction of the time whilst keeping them as loyal minions.

    This morning, I was struck by a pair of feat ideas that I think may actually cover this former material. What do you folks think? Do they work? Can they be balanced out?

    Feat: Bind Undead
    Prerequisite: Must be able to cast the Animate Dead or Command Undead spells, or must have the Control Undead class feature.
    Effect: You are able to establish permanent dominion over undead creatures, enslaving them to your will utterly. As a ritual that takes eight hours, you can designate an undead creature that is under your control as being bound to you. A bound undead obeys your commands until it is destroyed; it no longer requires you to recast Animate Dead or Command Undead, nor does it count as using up your Control Undead feature. You may only have a number of bound undead at one time equal to your Intelligence modifier. Undead creatures created by your bound undead, if applicable, are not loyal to you; their only loyalty is to the undead creature which created them, which means it can turn them against you unless you explicitly prohibit it from doing so.

    Feat: Bind Outsider
    Prerequisite: Must be able to cast the Planar Binding spell.
    Effect: You are able to forge lifelong contracts of servitude with the extraplanar beings that you summon and render docile. When you successfully complete a Planar Binding spell, you may choose to declare that outsider as being your Servitor. These creatures follow all of the normal rules for beings sucessfully bound by Planar Binding, except that the duration is indefinite, causing them to remain compelled to obey you until you release them from service. A Servitor may return to its plane of origin, but you can summon it back to you as a standard action. Although forbidden from attacking you directly, a Servitor is not prohibited from seeking help from others to escape service to you unless you explicitly and directly forbid it. You may only have a number of servitors at one time equal to your Charisma modifier.


    Secondly, there's a couple of spells I really want to talk about how they might work in 5e; Bone Dance, Army of Darkness, and Plague of Undeath.


    Finally, what I want to discuss is how people feel about the idea of there being necromantic attack spells. We had our share of these in past editions; Wail of the Banshee, Horrid Wilting, Ghoul Touch, Lich Touch, Vampiric Touch, Beltyn's Burning Blood (? Might have been Transmutation), Darts of Bone, etc, but I think games like Diablo and Warcraft prove there's also room for more overt offensive magics under the necromancy banner. Doesn't speaking a curse that causes all who hear it to rot away or be eaten from within by ravenous vermin (accelerated Mummy Rot, essentially) sound like a necromantic spell? What about causing a heart attack, or making somebody puke up their own entrails? Freezing people with the cold of the grave, making their flesh rot, summoning rains of pestilence, raising walls of bone or screaming spirits... all of these, to me, fit squarely under the necromancy umbrella.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
    Homebrew Material Index: Misty Shadow's Stupid-Huge Homebrew List

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_in_the_Mist View Post
    Finally, what I want to discuss is how people feel about the idea of there being necromantic attack spells. We had our share of these in past editions; Wail of the Banshee, Horrid Wilting, Ghoul Touch, Lich Touch, Vampiric Touch, Beltyn's Burning Blood (? Might have been Transmutation), Darts of Bone, etc, but I think games like Diablo and Warcraft prove there's also room for more overt offensive magics under the necromancy banner.

    Doesn't speaking a curse that causes all who hear it to rot away or be eaten from within by ravenous vermin (accelerated Mummy Rot, essentially) sound like a necromantic spell?
    The rotting, yes. The vermin, not even a little. Necromancy manipulates life and death directly. Conjuring vermin is conjugation that happens to cause death, no more necromantic than a Fireball.

    What about causing a heart attack, or making somebody puke up their own entrails? Freezing people with the cold of the grave,
    All necromancy! I wrote a heart attack spell myself!

    making their flesh rot, summoning rains of pestilence, raising walls of bone
    back to conjuration.

    or screaming spirits...
    back to necromancy!

    Keep in mind, just causing damage is the least interesting thing a spell can do. There's a place for blasting of course, but many many spells that simply deal damage with different flavour don't add much to the game.
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2017-03-11 at 02:52 PM.

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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I'm not much for undead myself - I spent my middle school years terrified of zombies - but I love the other aspects of death magic. Personally, I'd love to see support for a non-summoner necromancer wherever this goes; controlling corpses is the easiest part of necromancy to break, but there's a lot more to be had in the fleshmines than "oh, now I have a swarm of walking dead things to kill stuff for me".

    About Necromantic Attack Spells - totally, they should exist. Maybe not at evocation-level damage, but definitely with cool riders, save-based effects, and that jazz. Boiling/Burning Blood is more evocation, but cutting someone from the inside with their own blood? I made that guy the protagonist of a novel I started . Bone Darts are iffy, but if their own bones start to crack or break through their skin? Tumors, rotting, heart attacks...keep away from "chill of the grave" and other elemental nonsense and simply use the target's own body (or their friend's) against them. There's plenty in the corporeal side of necromancy without even including soul/ghost stuff or underworld/afterlife tie-ins.

    Maybe I should have made a necromancer character for the campaign we just started >.>. I didn't realize how much I enjoy this kind of thing.


    EDIT: Hey Llama, you've got a formatting issue with your Homebrewery thing. Didn't properly break your page for the second paragraph of Graveyard Fog and your sixth-level spell.
    Last edited by JBPuffin; 2017-03-10 at 11:01 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I made another archetype, this time one for Warlocks that turns them into a viable undead hoard master. No idea if it is balanced but it can be found here:

    Warlock Patron: Undead Lord

    ALSO the undeath domain doc broke for some reason. I made a backup copy, which can be found here:

    Undeath Domain

    Note it's undergone a few changes, which I would appreciate some comments on! (again 0 idea how balanced it is). Thanks again for all the help!
    Last edited by Giegue; 2017-03-11 at 09:15 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Alright, I was kind of hoping for some feedback on those feats first, but I may as well talk about the spells I'm wanting to convert.

    Bone Dance is a 3rd level spell from the AD&D Complete Book of Necromancers splatbook. It essentially was what 5e dubs a Concentration spell, allowing you to animate a single zombie or skeleton at a time by devoting all your actions to it, essentially controlling it instead of your wizard. Now, I have no real idea what the AD&D version of Animate Dead looked like, but I'm pretty sure this was weaker than Animate Dead.

    What I'm thinking of doing is making Bone Dance a Concentration spell that lets you create a singular skeleton/zombie whose actions are taken instead of your own, but who acts as an extrasensory extension - you can see and hear what it's seeing, allowing you to use it as a cheap scout. Maybe also throw in a side-effect of taking damage if the creature is killed.

    Does this make sense to folks?

    If yes, would you agree that it makes sense to knock Bone Dance to a 2nd level or even a 1st level spell, given how much weaker it is than a conventional Animate Dead spell (which creates multiple zombies/skeletons that operate on their own initiative, even when cast at default level)?


    Summon Undead is one of those "theme vs. school" spells - thematically necromantic, in practice associated with another school, much like Beltyn's Burning Blood being Transmutation or Wall of Bones being Conjuration. As its name implies, Summon Undead allows you to summon an undead creature to fight for you. In 3.5, might have had a different appearance elsewhere, it went from levels 1 to 5 and could summon everything from zombies & skeletons (Summon Undead I) to mummies, shadows & vampire spawn (Summon Undead V).

    Now, the "numerical variant" approach to spells is gone in 5e; you just cast a default spell and use higher spell slots to boost it up. So, would Summon Undead still work as a 1st level spell in this case?

    More importantly, if it does make sense to keep it as a level 1 spell by default, what are you supposed to do with it by using a 6th level or higher spell slot? I could really use folks' help figuring out how to convert it.


    Army of Darkness & Plague of Undeath are a perfect example of how tangled 3.5's spell-list could get. Both are 9th level necromancy spells whose effect is to raise 5 HD worth of undead per level of the caster. Aside the name, the difference is Army of Darkness takes 1 day to cast and Plauge of Undeath only takes a standard action.

    Now, I really want to talk about how to make the two differentiate between each other, because I'm sure they can be spun in different ways whilst still fitting the same "summon a huge amount of undead" niche, but there is one thing I'm fairly clear on.

    Summoning lots of independent undead is a good way to destroy the action economy of a game. That's why even a 9th level Animate Dead (makes 13 zombies/skeletons with independent actions) in 5e is something a DM will rightfully call you out over. So, I'm thinking that the spell should summon a Swarm of Zombies, Skeletons, whatever - it still gives you that huge army of the undead feel, but it only takes actions as if it were a singular undead, meaning your necromancer isn't making everybody else wait ages for their turn.

    Does this make sense to you all? If yes, I could really use a hand figuring out how to make such zombie/skeleton swarms in terms of stats; monster building is a new thing for me.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_in_the_Mist View Post
    Bone Dance is a 3rd level spell from the AD&D Complete Book of Necromancers splatbook. It essentially was what 5e dubs a Concentration spell, allowing you to animate a single zombie or skeleton at a time by devoting all your actions to it, essentially controlling it instead of your wizard. Now, I have no real idea what the AD&D version of Animate Dead looked like, but I'm pretty sure this was weaker than Animate Dead.

    What I'm thinking of doing is making Bone Dance a Concentration spell that lets you create a singular skeleton/zombie whose actions are taken instead of your own, but who acts as an extrasensory extension - you can see and hear what it's seeing, allowing you to use it as a cheap scout. Maybe also throw in a side-effect of taking damage if the creature is killed.

    Does this make sense to folks?

    If yes, would you agree that it makes sense to knock Bone Dance to a 2nd level or even a 1st level spell, given how much weaker it is than a conventional Animate Dead spell (which creates multiple zombies/skeletons that operate on their own initiative, even when cast at default level)?
    I already wrote this as Haunt Dead on my Libris Mortis homebrewery page. I made it a 2nd level spell, because unlike Animate Dead, you are completely vulnerable while you control the undead and you cannot haunt more than one corpse at a time.

    Summon Undead is one of those "theme vs. school" spells - thematically necromantic, in practice associated with another school, much like Beltyn's Burning Blood being Transmutation or Wall of Bones being Conjuration. As its name implies, Summon Undead allows you to summon an undead creature to fight for you. In 3.5, might have had a different appearance elsewhere, it went from levels 1 to 5 and could summon everything from zombies & skeletons (Summon Undead I) to mummies, shadows & vampire spawn (Summon Undead V).

    Now, the "numerical variant" approach to spells is gone in 5e; you just cast a default spell and use higher spell slots to boost it up. So, would Summon Undead still work as a 1st level spell in this case?
    This would be a conjuration spell, absolutely, similar to Conjure Animals (3rd level), Minor Elementals (4th), Woodland Beings (4th), Elemental (5th), Fey (6th), and Celestial (7th).

    Just as Minor Elements vs Elemental correspond to different CR elementals, and Woodland Beings vs Fey correspond to different power levels of fey, you might have two such spells for the undead: one as a 3rd level spell at least, and another at a higher level.

    More importantly, if it does make sense to keep it as a level 1 spell by default, what are you supposed to do with it by using a 6th level or higher spell slot? I could really use folks' help figuring out how to convert it.
    Using higher spell slots on Conjure [Creatures, plural] spells gives you more creatures, simply enough. Using high spell slots on Conjure [Creature, singular] gives you a higher CR.

    Army of Darkness & Plague of Undeath are a perfect example of how tangled 3.5's spell-list could get. Both are 9th level necromancy spells whose effect is to raise 5 HD worth of undead per level of the caster. Aside the name, the difference is Army of Darkness takes 1 day to cast and Plauge of Undeath only takes a standard action.

    Now, I really want to talk about how to make the two differentiate between each other, because I'm sure they can be spun in different ways whilst still fitting the same "summon a huge amount of undead" niche, but there is one thing I'm fairly clear on.

    Summoning lots of independent undead is a good way to destroy the action economy of a game. That's why even a 9th level Animate Dead (makes 13 zombies/skeletons with independent actions) in 5e is something a DM will rightfully call you out over. So, I'm thinking that the spell should summon a Swarm of Zombies, Skeletons, whatever - it still gives you that huge army of the undead feel, but it only takes actions as if it were a singular undead, meaning your necromancer isn't making everybody else wait ages for their turn.

    Does this make sense to you all? If yes, I could really use a hand figuring out how to make such zombie/skeleton swarms in terms of stats; monster building is a new thing for me.
    5e has no swarm creatures. There are alternate rules for mass combat instead. Most likely you'll need to work with those or forget the undead army concept.

    If you really want a swarm creature, though, you'll be balancing it from scratch. It will probably count as a Large (or larger) creature with many many hit dice and many, many (weak) attacks/actions, the power to squeeze through uncharacteristically small spaces (the size of one swarm member instead of the size of the whole swarm), and some kind of vulnerability to area effects. Perhaps the power to divide itself.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    5e has no swarm creatures. There are alternate rules for mass combat instead. Most likely you'll need to work with those or forget the undead army concept.

    If you really want a swarm creature, though, you'll be balancing it from scratch. It will probably count as a Large (or larger) creature with many many hit dice and many, many (weak) attacks/actions, the power to squeeze through uncharacteristically small spaces (the size of one swarm member instead of the size of the whole swarm), and some kind of vulnerability to area effects. Perhaps the power to divide itself.
    Um... What? Then what's the deal with the Swarm of Bats, Swarm of Insects, Swarm of Poisonous Snakes, Swarm of Quippers, Swarm of Rats and Swarm of Ravens statblocks on pages 337-339 of the Monster Manual?

    All are treated as a singular statblock with the Swarm trait, which I'll write up below. However, there's no mention of Swarm in the monster traits segment of "Build a Monster" in the DMG, so I have no idea how it affects the building of monsters. Of course, I don't really understand the rules for building monsters period, which is why I was kind of hoping to get advice and suggestions on the matter here.


    Swarm: The swarm can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a base creature. The swarm can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_in_the_Mist View Post
    Um... What? Then what's the deal with the Swarm of Bats, Swarm of Insects, Swarm of Poisonous Snakes, Swarm of Quippers, Swarm of Rats and Swarm of Ravens statblocks on pages 337-339 of the Monster Manual?

    All are treated as a singular statblock with the Swarm trait, which I'll write up below. However, there's no mention of Swarm in the monster traits segment of "Build a Monster" in the DMG, so I have no idea how it affects the building of monsters. Of course, I don't really understand the rules for building monsters period, which is why I was kind of hoping to get advice and suggestions on the matter here.


    Swarm: The swarm can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a base creature. The swarm can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.
    My mistake! Overlooked those monsters, one way or another.

    In which case, I can try to write something up in a bit!

    EDIT: So I've compared snakes/rats/bats/quippers/ravens to swarms of snakes/rats/bats/quippers/ravens and found the following trends:
    • Size two degrees greater
    • Strength score always increases. Average 6 point increase, though flying swarms gain less and quippers gain more.
    • Dexterity score typically stays unchanged.
    • Constitution score typically stays unchanged.
    • Intelligence invariably stays unchanged.
    • Wisdom invariably stays unchanged.
    • Charisma typically stays unchange.
    • Eight-times as many hit dice, typically, and hit dice are two sizes larger (from d4 to d8)
    • Two-times as many damage dice, typically, and damage dice are two sizes larger (from d1 to d6)
    • Unchanged AC, typically
    • Resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage
    • Immunity to the charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained and stunned conditions


    I can't give a standardized increase in CR, firstly because I've never used CR strictly and cannot appreciate it quantitatively, and secondly because I see no clear trend in the CR increases of these swarms.

    Here are some swarms written up using the above observations
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2017-03-11 at 04:52 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Made two necromancy/Undead themed player races at work out of boredom. Since they where made in haste, I have 0 idea how balanced they are...and they have no race fluff. The doc is very bare bones be just pure mechanics as of now, but I have fluff planned for both. They can be found here:

    Libris Morris 5e Races

    Not sure how balanced these are so any/all advice would be appreciated!
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    Sorry to double post, but I'm still interested in this project if the rest of you guys are. If your all still around, I'd like to continue work if possible. I've got a Warlock archetype which can be found at the link below that I'd appreciate some balance help with. Also, if we get enough content thats balanced and workable, do you think that we should start working towards getting a nice-looking pdf of everything we made for the DM's guild? I also have a few more spells I may throw into the mix eventually, once I get to writing them down. Anyway, here is the warlock patron:

    Warlock Patron: The Undead Lord
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    So, some basic things needed for Necromancers to get off the ground:

    1. They need to be able to keep Undead relevant. So we need a way to buff up Undead or make more powerful Undead. The "make more powerful Undead" works best as an Undead creation spell that takes an existing creature and alters its statline in a fixed way. Basically kludging templates into 5e.

    2. They need to be able to keep their Undead with relatively little investment. Something like Control Undead as a separate spell with a casting time not practical in combat, but allowing you to keep control of fairly large groups of Undead and being able to control powerful Undead, using the hit-dice based limit of 3.5 D&D.

    3. They need to be able to keep up with the rest of the party. Having core, needed spells stay relevant through upcasting reduces the strain of writing up the needed spells, and leaves room for less directly thematic tricks. Minionmancy gets crazy quickly, so relying on either briefly-present summons or small numbers of large summons(or Swarms) keeps them manageable.

    These are the things we need to focus on to make Necromancy relevant. The biggest trouble is keeping the Undead selection from breaking the game by overloading the DPR with large numbers of minions.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I'm on mobile now but I can work on some stuff when I get homr. I have ideas for some spells, but I feel making them wizard exclusive is not the right way to go. Also, while not totally snout necromancy, I feel this I made is relevant for possible inclusion/at least to build off if as it has s necromancer Path:

    Priest Donnain for clerics

    With proper refluffimg it could easily be a "Deathspeaker" or "Spiritualist" domain that draws divine magic from petitioning /bargaining with the dead or some other power (instead of through a connection to a deity), with the "holy" Path being white necromancy and the "unholy" path being black necromancy. Some mechanical changes would be needed, but it could be a good basis for such a cleric archetype.

    I have ideas for mechanical changes to make it more fluff fitting already.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2017-04-13 at 07:39 PM.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Libris Mortis, 5th Edition

    I apologize for the double post, but I have a few spell ideas to run by you all to meet what Morphic Tide was saying. The grammar is rough, BTW, this was just me getting out some ideas and under intense time constraints...so yeah. No idea how balanced these are, but they could at least be used as a basis to work off of.

    Animate Corpse
    2nd-level Necromancy (Ritual)
    Casting Time: 1 Action
    Components: V, S, M (a corpse or bone pile to be animated.)
    Range Touch
    Duration: Instantaneous

    You touch a single medium humanoid corpse or bone pile and give it a full semblance of life. That corpse or bone pile is animated as a zombie or skeleton, respectively (Use the Skeleton or Zombie statistics form the Monster Manuel for this creature.), for 24 hours or until you take a long rest. (Whichever happens first.) The creature acts on its own initiative, but cannot move or take an action unless you command it to do so during your turn. You can command the creature to move or take an action with a bonus action or action, but cannot use the same action or bonus action to command it to do both. (So, if you wanted the creature to move and attack in the same turn you would have to command it to move with a bonus action and then use your action to command it to attack, or vice-versa.) Regardless of how many times you cast this spell, you can only have 1 undead creature animated with this spell under your control at any given time.

    Command Undead
    2nd-level Necromancy
    Casting Time: 1 Action
    Components: V, S
    Range 30ft
    Duration: 24 hours

    You target 1 undead creature within range with a CR no higher than your level -1; that creature must make a Charisma saving throw. On a successful save this spell has no effect on that creature. On a failed save it is under your control for 24 hours or until you use this spell again. While it is under your control, you may command it as if it was a skeleton or zombie you created with the Animate Dead spell that was under your control. Regardless of how many times you cast this spell, you can control a maximum number of undead who's total combined hit dice equal twice your level with this spell. Any undead above this limit that you control with this spell are released from your control and, at your DM's discretion, may be hostile towards you. (So if you cast this spell twice at level 1, if the second casting would cause you to control more than 2 hit dice worth of undead, you would lose control of all of undead controlled with this spell past that limit.)

    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell in a 3rd level or higher slot, it can target 1 additional undead creature for each level above 2nd.

    Desecrate
    2nd-level Evocation (Ritual)
    Casting Time: 1 Minute
    Components: V, S, M (a vile of unholy water and 25gp worth of powdered silver to be sprinkled around the area to be desecrated.)
    Range: 25ft
    Area: 30ft radius spread
    Duration: 4 hours

    You channel unholy energies to taint a 30ft radius spread within range, strengthening undead creation spells cast there for this spell's duration. When you cast a spell that creates undead (such as Animate Dead or Create Undead) in this area during the duration of this spell, the undead that spell creates add your proficiency bonus to their weapon damage rolls and increase their hit point maximums by an amount equal to your level in the class that gave you access to this spell.(These bonuses last indefinitely, not just for this spell's duration.) Additionally, if the spell you cast was Animate Dead that spell can target 1 additional corpse or bone pile and create 1 additional skeleton or zombie (as applicable.)

    [NOTE: This spell should not be added to the Wizard list and was made to make clerics and potentially other homebrew classes/archetypes competitive with wizards in terms of undead buffs and therefore allow classes other than wizard play with undead minions in a meaningful way.]

    Bind Undead
    3rd-level Necromancy (Ritual)
    Casting Time: 1 minute
    Components: V, S, M (25gp worth of black onyx per-HD of undead to be bound.)
    Range: 30ft
    Duration: Instantaneous

    You perform a vile ritual to permanently bind undead you control to your service. When you do this, choose a number of undead under your control within range that you can see whoes total combined hit dice do not exceed 2 x your level; those undead fall permanently under your control. You can cast this spell multiple times, but no mater how many times you cast it you can only bind an amount of undead who's total combined hit dice equal 4 x your level. Undead you bind with this spell do not need to have the spell that created them re-cast each day for you to retain control of them, and do not count against the control limits of the spell(s) that created them (Such as the max of 1 controlled limit of Animate Corpse.)

    Undead you bind with this spell are fanatically loyal to you and, at your DM's discretion, you can command them to perform tasks outside of combat that do not require joining you on your adventures. The amount of time it takes to command them is set by your DM based on the task you have given them. You may also use these undead in mass combat scenarios, if your DM allows you to do so. However, you cannot have undead bound to your service join you on adventures unless you take direct control of them through other means (Such as the Command Undead spell or the Control Undead feature of the School of Necromancy Arcane Tradition.). Undead bound to you automatic fail all saving throws made to resist spells and features you use to bring them under your controland you have advantage on all Charisma checks made when dealing with your bound undead.

    Greater Animate Dead
    4th-level Necromancy
    Casting Time: 1 Minute
    Components: V, S, M (A drop of blood, a piece of flesh, and a pinch of bone dust)
    Range: 10ft
    Duration: Instantaneous


    Choose a pile of bones or a corpse of a Medium or Small creature within range. With dark magics you imbue the target with a foul mimicry of life, raising it as an undead creature. The target becomes a Skeleton if you chose bones or a Zombie if you chose a corpse. The creature uses the statistics and abilities it had in life, but altered by the Skeleton or Zombie NPC traits. (DMG. pg. 282)

    On each of your turns, you can use a Bonus Action to mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 60 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can Command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same Command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

    The creature is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stops obeying any command you've given it. To maintain the control of the creature for another 24 hours, you must cast this spell on the creature again before the current 24-hour period ends. This use of the spell reasserts your control over up to four creatures you have animated with this spell, rather than animating a new one.

    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you can animate or reassert control over two additional medium or small undead creatures or one large undead creature for each slot above 4th. Each of the creatures must come from a different corpse or pile of bones.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2017-04-18 at 10:07 PM.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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