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J que um grande numero de viles acaba indo por esse caminho e muitas vezes voc tem aquele PC necromancer

eu achei q isso pode ajudar muita gente

Vamos a Necromancia 101:

Vou aqui discutir como ser um necromancer, no vou dar uma build de 20 lvls que faz algo fofinho ou combado. Mas vou explicar passo a passo como jogar bem com um necromancer. Existem muitas maneiras de construir um necromancer decente, mas infelizmente muitas mais maneiras de construir um necromancer trgicamente incapaz de contribuir para sua party. Vamos esperar que esse guia vai ajudar a evitar essas armadilhas e ajuda-lo a usar os poderes negros para o bem, o seu bem.

Eu estou ciente de que as regras escritas para necromancia so muitas vezes pouco claras, inadequadas, ou simplesmente insatisfatrias. Isso est fora da escopa desse guia. Reclame com a wizards ou se divirta no tpico das trapalhadas quando eu postar sobre isso la.

Classes Necromnticas:

Existem 3 base classes necromnticas: Mago, Clrigo ou o Dread Necromancer. Claro que exitem outras classes capazes de usar necromancia (feiticeiros por exemplo) mas elas raramente fazem isso bem e costumam falhar de maneiras surpreendente. Muitas das spells assinaturas de necromancia so usadas raramente (Create Undead no uma spell que voc vai usar todo dia ou mesmo durante todas as aventuras, ela mais uma spell de downtime) logo a vasta maioridade de personagens com spells know acabam se mostrando insatisfatrios no uso tradicional de necromancia. Preparar spells e definitivamente o caminho com a excesso do Dread Necromancer que tem uma lista bem grande para castar espontaneamente. Existem sim spells muito boas nominalmente pertencentes a escola de necromancia na lista de Druida e Wu Jen mas como essas spells no so tematicamente o que costumamos associar a necromancia essas classes vo ser tratadas em outro lugar.

Se tornar um necromancer tarde na sua vida, como por exemplo entrando numa prestige class, nominalmente uma opo tambm. Infelizmente as classes com conceitos mais interessantes em relao a necromancia e morte so universalmente terrveis enquanto as as classes verdadeiramente efetivas so completamente rouubadas (Ur-Priest), confusas (Chameleon), ou ambas (Beholder Mage) que normalmente seu DM no vai deixar voc jogar com ela. No conheo nenhuma build jogvel que involva essas classes. Entre a dor de ter que dar "catch up" se arrastando com spellcasting de low level enquanto enfrenta monstros de CR medio e a Inercia de DMs em relao a serem forados a aprender as regras inteiras de um novo sistema de cast esses caminhos costumam no ser para iniciantes.

O Mago Necromancer

Necromancia como mago um caminho surpreendentemente difcil. A primeira coisa que voc tem que aceitar que voc NO vai ter um exercito de mortos, se era o que voc queria voc deveria ter sido um clrigo ou dread. Magos tem uma necromancia esmagadoramente poderosa sua disposio, mas que no tem nada a ver com um exrcito animado atrs de voc. Necromancia do ponto de vista do mago centrada em energia negativa para drenos, fear, possession e mais recentemente cold.

Nota:

Todas as variaes de wizard especialista em necromancia so terrveis MENOS a Enhanced Undead que d um bonus sem nome de mais dois pvs por hd para todos os undeads que voc fizer. Voc pode ganhar esse beneficio mesmo com apenas 1 lvl de mago ( RECOMENDADO, STACK COM CORPSE CRAFTER)

Clrigos so melhores que Magos. No seu ncleo clrigo uma classe melhor que mago. Armadura e armas melhores, saves melhores, mais spells, mais pvs, melhor base de ataque.

ENTENDA que eu no quis dizer que um dado mago especfico mais fraco que um clrigo especfico. Existem spells poderosas na lista do mago que no esto na do clrigo. Mas se o mago se pegar castando muitas spells que tambm esto na lista de clrigo ele est sendo um looser. Se no for para aproveitar as coisas que o mago tem e o clrigo no, seja um clrigo.

O Clrigo Necromancer

Essa a classe default para ter seu exrcito de undeads. Mas isso tem um preo, voc normalmente tem que abrir mo da sua capacidade de curar sua party.

Por que um mago lida pior com mortos vivos que um clrigo? Enquanto command undead (spell exclusiva de mago) muito boa e ambos ganham animate dead, o clrigo ganha animate dead antes, e eles ganham acesso a spells como desecrate que aumentam sua capacidade de levantar undeads ( lembre-se de construir altares para seu deus antes de animar os mortos, eles dobram o bonus de desecrate e no custam nada). Finalmente existem domnios que do bonus reais para esse aspecto da necromancia, s voc no estar obrigado a pegar o intil Death Domain porque voc esta tentando pegar a prestige classe True Necromancer (booooo, fuja dela como da peste!).

O grande domnio para clrigos animarem undead o Deathbound domain.

O Dread Necromancer

O Dread Necromancer uma classe que cedo na sua vida tem que se contentar em ser um guerreiro de melee ou ranged com alguns truques. Mais tarde ele se torna um lider de undeads bem competente. Voc pode castar

qualquer spell na sua lista de forma espontnea o que uma forma quase nica de fazer as coisas, e claro a mecnica mais favorvel de cast j feita. Adicionar spells na sua lista simples e divertido. O mtodo default Arcane Disciple que adiciona 9 spells na sua lista, mais mtodos mais elaborados e obscuros tambm existem ( como o Ring of Theurgy). TODOS os dreads necromancers costumam ter a feat Tomb Tainted Soul ou virar um undead cedo na sua vida, isso no uma recomendao isso um FATO. A capacidade de se curar infinitamente com seu toque nem Mastercard compra, e a longo prazo sua habilidade de causar um spray de energia negativa na rea inclui voc. Se voc no tiver a feat esse ataque vira uma bomba suicida, se voce tiver vira um ataque que ainda te cura.

Necromancers de outras classes

No seja um arquivista para ser um necromancer. Mesmo que a classe arquivista seja realmente bolada com potencial pra top 1 ou 3 do jogo eles no do bons necromantes. Voc no vai ter domnios ou rebuke e no vai conhecer automaticamente todas as spells de clrigo. Ento a no ser que algo estranho acontea voc vai acabar pior que o clrigo. Essa coisa estranha que como um arquivista voc tem a habilidade de seu DM deixar voc achar scrolls de magias raras e bizarras ou unicas e voc poder aprend-las. Mas essas magias no esto no seu controle, elas caem no seu colo porque seu DM quis que elas caissem no seu colo.

No seja um Warlock Por mais que ele seja um mago negro ele possui poucos efeitos necromnticos para ser um necromancer efetivo.

Voc no vai jogar de True Necromancer!! (essa eu falo por experincia prpria, e olha que o DM ainda foi bonzinho)

Muitas pessoas amam o true necromancer (eu sou uma delas) mesmo que ela seja uma classe completamente aleijada. um Mystic Theurge melhor.

Vamos aos motivos.

1- No final da classe voc esta CINCO caster lvls atrasado em AMBAS as classes. Logo se o fighter da party pega-se leadership e um cohort e o cohort dele pega-se leadership tambm ( isso permitido pelas regras mas claro est sujeito a ser vetado pelo DM) o cohort do cohort tem mais nivel necromantico que voc. O outro personagem da party est trazendo necromancia mais poderosa que voc, E SENDO UM FIGHTER, mesmo voc sendo um "True" Necromancer.

2- Voc tem que pegar o Death Domain, o que um tiro no p. O domnio um lixo, e pega-lo um grande desperdcio se voc est tentando sem bom em necromancia.

3- Nos lvls mais baixos voc atrasa sua capacidade de castar animate dead em 4 lvls inteiros...

4- A classe NO tem NENHUM especial nico ou sequer til.

5- Voc estupra sua progresso de rebuke justamente nos lvls que ele til (low lvl) e so vai ganhar bonus em rebuke la quando ele no presta nem pra limpar o cho

6- DCs das spells rdiculo j que voc sofre de dependencia de multiplos atributos e ainda usa spells de as vezes 3 circulos de atraso.

Rebuke

Essa habilidade ao mesmo tempo maravilhosamente til e terrivelmente

intil. Ela extremamente dependente do seu lvl.

Mas vou por aqui itens que ajudam todo necromancer a rebukar.

Amulet of Turning +4 lvls de rebuker Scepter of the Netherworld +3 lvls de rebuker Sacred Shield +2 lvls de rebuker

todos esses itens do bonus sem nome para seu lvl de rebuker, ento eles stackam (em teoria eles stackam at com copias deles mesmos, mas provvel que DM nenhum deixe)

Um pc de lvl 1 com os 3 da fascinate em undeads de lvl 10 e controla undeads de lvl 5

Segue uma pequena lista dos undeads e o seus hds para voc poder ver o que voc consegue rebukar

2 Human Skeleton (MM), Ghostly Visage (FF) 4 Wolf Skeleton (MM), Kobold Zombie (MM) 6 Shadow (MM), Murk (LM), Raiment (LM), Tomb Mote (LM) 8 Ghoul (MM), Wight (MM), Troglodyte Zombie (MM), Slay Mate! (LM), Bone Rat Swarm (LM), Desiccator (LM), Skin Kite (LM), Vasuthant (MM3) 10 Deathlock (LM) 12 Allip (MM), Ghast (MM), Vampire Spawn(MM), Skulking Cyst (LM), Spectral Lyrist (LM), Voidwraith (LM), Spawn of Kyuss (MM2) 14 Wraith (MM), Brain in a Jar (LM) 16 Mummy (MM), Corpse Rat Swarm (LM), Entomber (LM), Plagueblight (LM), Bhut (FF)

18 Bodak (MM), Spectre (MM), Atropal Scion (LM), Crypt Chanter (LM), Quell (LM), Skirr (LM) 20 Bleakborn (LM), Blood Amniote (LM), Bloodmote Cloud (LM), Cinderspawn (LM), Crypt Thing (FF) 22 Bonedrinker (MM3) 24 Devourer (MM), Boneclaw (MM3), Ephemeral Swarm (MM3), Grimweird (MM3), Salt Mummy (MM3), Quth-Maren (FF) 26 Wheep (LM), Crimson Death (MM2) 28 Mohrg (MM), Forsaken Shell (LM) 30 Bone Naga (MM2) 32 Dread Wraith (MM), Visage (LM), Dust Wight (MM3), Plague Spewer (MM3), Abyssal Ghoul (FF), Hullathoin (FF) 34 Nightwing (MM), Boneyard (LM), Dream Vestige (LM), Ulgurstasta (FF) 36 Blaspheme (LM), Slaughterwight (LM), Blood Fiend (FF) 38 Entropic Reaper (LM) 40 Hulking Corpse (LM), Drowned (MM3) 42 Nightwalker (MM), Charnel Hound (MM3) 44 Deathshrieker (MM3) 50 Nightcrawler (MM), Jahi (MM2) 52 Angel of Decay (LM), Banshee (MM2) 54 Effigy (MM2), Horrific Vasuthant (MM3) 56 Crawling Head (FF) 60 Corpse Gatherer (MM2), Deathbringer (MM2) 62 Grave Crawler (MM2), Ragewind (MM2) 64 Famine Spirit (MM2), Necronaut (MM3)

Undeads com Template como o Ghost ou Vampiro no esto listados porque no existe um numeros de HDs padro.

Necromancia e Oramento

A regra normalmente quer que voc gaste 25 POs por hd do seu undead e isso muito ruim para voc. Quando voc gasta 50 POs para um zumbi humano comum voc tem alguem pior que um especialista lvl 1 (que so custa 1 Pea de prata)

Uma coisa engraada que voc no deveria nem saber quantos POs gastar em onix. HDs so uma abstrao que o seu personagem supostamente no deveria conhecer. A spell Trap the Soul diz que possivel pesquisar quantos HDs alguem tem, ento interprete isso como quiser porque ela no explica como fazer para pesquisar os HDs de Bob O Gigante do Poo de Fogo.

A parte realmente engraada que como voc pode por essas onix no olho de um corpo? Chega uma hora que pelo ouro que voc esta pagando a onix maior que a cabea de um ser humano.

Como fazer undeads sem falir?

Seja um Pale Master- Essa classe sofre um pouco, eles perdem caster lvl e ganham as habilidades levemente atrasadas. Mas eles rapidamente ganham animate dead de graa sem material, e eventualmente transformam pessoas em undeads que no contam para o limite que voc pode controlar. Com paciencia voc pode ter um exrcito de undeads de tamanho ilimitado sem pagar nada.

D Unholy Arrows para as pessoas- Unholy Arrows so baratas, 361 POs por uma, qualquer personagem good que segurar uma em suas mos perde 1 lvl temporrio. Voc pode ter na sua aljava muitas dessas flechas ento quando voc d a aljava para alguem good ele ganha muuuitos lvls negativos. Se chegar a 0 ele morre e vira um wight que voc pode facilmente controlar com magias ou rebuke. E melhor de tudo as flechas no so nem consumidas

no processo. (adoro milagres economicos) Voc pode repetir com flechas Holy, Lawful ou Chaotic, todas funcionam igual mas para as tendncias adequadas.

Fell Animate- Esse feat muito bom. Ao invs de prepar-lo nas suas magias poderosas ponha elas em ray of frosts ou acid splashes, e depois da luta v at os inimigos entre 0 e -10 ou desmaiados ou presos e etc e de um Coup de Grace com essas magias de circulo baixo alteradas por fell animate, voc pode fazer mortos vivos com spells que acabem ocupando circulos menores que as magias de fazer morto vivo e sem gastar nada.

Tenha como Spell-like Ability- Se voc puder animar os mortos como spelllike voc no precisa pagar componentes pela regra de spell-like. (Menos o "True" Necromancer que apesar de ter como spell-like fala que ele tem que pagar...) Existem muitas formas de ganhar isso como spell-like ability por habilidades de classe ou feats, mas a forma mais tradicional Planar Binding para chamar um extra-planar que tenha j como spell-like.

Cuidado e Alimentao Adequados Para os Seus Esqueletos

OLHE os stats de todos os monstros que voc matar. Olhe os seus hds primeiro e compare sua Fora, Destreza , Ataques e AC para o seu HD para determinar se ele um esqueleto bom ou ruim. Zumbis normalmente so um lixo j que eles s podem ter uma standard ou move action. Mas zumbis podem voar enquanto esqueletos no. Note que nossos amigos esqueletos e zumbis mantm seu subtipo. Logo voc pode fazer esqueletos de gigantes de fogo e eles vo ser fire subtipe e imune a fogo (e tambm a cold como todos os esqueletos).

Eventualmente voc vai por suas mos em Awaken Undead (e ai a brincadeira comea de verdade), logo voc vai poder comear a considerar as habilidades dos corpos mortos. Eles ganham tudo de volta, at os feats e skills.

Coincidentemente Magos ganham Animate Dead junto com Lesser Planar Binding, logo voc pode preparar uma sala cheia de coisas pra convocar um

extraplanar ou elemental e mata-los automaticamente ganhando acesso a corpos poderosos.

A forma ideal de lutar usando esqueletos manter um pequeno grupo de elite de esqueletos. Buffe eles com spells, equipe eles com itens mgicos e cure-os entre as lutas. Algumas pessoas gostam de exrcitos realmente massivos, mas isso normalmente irrita o DM e os outros jogadores (e deixa o jogo leeeeerdo) e tambm no tem um bom custo-efetivo num mundo de magias de area. O DM vai acabar destruindo em grande quantidade seus undeads que vo ser fracos mas numerosos e seu bolso vai sofrer. Fora a dificuldade de transportar tanto morto vivo principalmente se o grupo precisar de fly ou teleporte. Voc vai se dar melhor com poucos e poderosos undeads que voc pode trazer de volta com Revive Undead e melhora-los com a template Spellstiched. Com a build do Lord of Uttercold voc pode ficar certo de que raramente vai perder undeads, no mximo pra magias de save.

Nota sobre o poder dos undeads e seu numero de HDs:

Estranhamente NO h relao entre o numero de HDs de um Undead e seu verdadeiro nivel de ameaa. A maior parte dos mortos vivos no esto adequados nos seus respectivos niveis de desafio. Posso dizer que acredito que a Wizards usou um jogo de dardos pra decidir os hds e challenge rates de muitos deles.

Voce Quer o Melhor que Pode Ter

TEORICAMENTE um clrigo ou dread necromancer de lvl 2 poderia usar rebuke pra controlar um ghostly visage paragon. Esse monstro tem um ataque de paralisia com DC 39 e com ele seu necromancer ia destruir tudo por muitos lvls. Mas isso assume claro que voc ira esbarrar com um. Isso basicamente como o Pun-Pun. Se o DM decidir arbitrariamente dar a voc poder completamente fora de escala para o seu lvl, voc vai ter poder completamente fora de escala para o seu lvl. Enquanto sim possvel que voc controle coisas extremamente bizarras o fato que dificilmente algo assim vai acontecer em jogo. O DM poderia deixar voc achar A Espada de

Kas (uma espada divina) como o DM pode deixar voc achar o corpo de um Pseudonatural Great Wyrm Silver Dragon, mas o provvel que isso no acontea.

Logo voc pode ver que ser um Necromancer se por a disposio da misericrdia do DM j que no existe uma tabela ou progresso de corpos por lvl que um pc deveria ter.

Mas ainda assim aqui est uma lista que voc deve usar como guia do que tentar alcanar:

REBUKING

Level 2: Se voc tiver Rebuke, como j falei o ideal seria o Ghostly Visage mas voc pode se virar com esqueletos humanos, eles so arqueiros efetivos e voc no tem como repo-los logo deixos atrs.

Level 4: Undeads de lvl 2 j no so muito impressionantes. Nesse lvl zumbis so apenas modestamente irritantes e qualquer um que voc controle com rebuke melhor usado sendo mandado na frente para ativar as traps.

Level 6: Sombras s tem 3 HDs. O grande pulo do gato que enquanto pcs provavelment j vo ter acesso a armas mgicas (tornando-os capazes de cortar a sombra como manteiga) os monstros desse lvl NO tem. Contra muuuuitos monstros uma unica shadow uma vitria automtica.

Level 8: 2 monstros so muito comuns nesse lvl. o Wight e o Ghoul, se voc puder escolher use o Wight. Eles so melhores em todos os cenrios e so at bem hardcores, fora o fato de terem controle sobre seus spawns. Se voc fizer tudo certinho voc pode ter um pequeno exrcito de Wights atravs de delegao de autoridade. Wights SO MUITO COMUNS e podem ser criados matando qualquer coisa usando lvls negativos.

Level 10: Teoricamente nesse lvl voc poderia ter um Deathlock como seu pokemon, mas o provvel e que seu DM nunca nem tenha ouvido falar de um Deathlock ento no espere encontra-los. O Deathlock tem detect magic at will, logo um monstro muito utilitrio. Mas seu Cr 3, portanto voc no vai usa-lo para combate.

Level >10: Rebuke no acompanha os CRs dos monstros que voc vai enfrentar. Ento vai acabar sendo muito fraco daqui adiante mas at d pra tentar focar nessa habilidade e deixar ela so meio fraca.

COMMAND UNDEAD

Essa spell um pouco estranha. Ela no da saving throw quando usada em undeads no inteligentes e dura por dias. Voc pode controlar mortos vivos muuuito poderosos, existem undeads picos que no so inteligentes. Mas normalmente voc no vai encontra-los muito cedo. Ainda assim essa spell auto win contra undeads no inteligentes.

CRIANDO MORTOS VIVOS

Aqui a spell de Ouro Animate Dead. Existem spells alternativas para fazer undeads como Ghoul Gauntlel (LIXO! Fuja dela como da Praga) e Creat Undead (s passa a prestar quando voc tem caster lvl alto).

Level 5: Assumindo que voc tem o Deathbound Domain seu clrigo pode fazer 30 HDs de undead. Voc poderia animar os esqueletos de 2 Fire Giants , se voc equipalos com Greatswords e etc eles vo dar danos muuito grandes para esse lvl, provavelmente os maiores da party. Fora que se voc tiver Corpse Crafter eles vo ter 157 PVs, o que nesse lvl VAI ser o maior total de PVs da party.

Mas onde achar os corpos dos gigantes de gelo? Certamente no de derrotalos em combate (eles tem CR 10). Tentar convencer o DM a deixar voc ir saquear os tumulos da cidade dos gigantes ou algo assim dificilmente vai funcionar. Mas essa exatamente sua vida daqui em diante com animate dead, tentar saquear corpos poderosos. Mesmo nos lvls mais baixos voc pode criar undeads que facilmente do overshadow nos barbarias e fighters do grupo em combate, mas provvel que o acesso a corpos seja fortemente controlado.

Level 11: Parabns voc tem Creat Undead. Mas ele no serve para nada muito bom agora ...

Level 15: Voc pode fazer mumias com create undead . Isso importante, mumias so bem hardcore. As regras para Mummy Lords so muuito vagas. Voc tambem agora pode fazer Shadows com Create Greater Undead (j falei que elas humilham muuuitos monstros)

Level 18: Voc pode agora fazer Undeads incorporeos mais evoluidos. O que realmente no ajuda muito, enquanto ser incorpreo uma vitria automtica contra algo que no possa acerta-lo mesmo o Espectro no aguenta sobreviver num cenrio de CR 18. Voc tambm acabou de ganhar acesso ao Morgh. Eles so loosers patticos to fracos que pessoas do seu lvl nem ganham xp de mata-los. PORM qualquer coisa que eles matem vira um zumbi sobre controle dele SEM LIMITE DE CONTROLE DE HD. Isso significa que com pacincia voc pode usar um Morgh em casa, como um complexo mecanismo de Coup de Grace que faz zumbis para voc.

A Importancia de Desecrate

Desecrate efeito de importncia sumria. Todos os Undeads criados dentro deste efeito ganham um bonus sem nome para todos os seus HDs. Vamos ser sincero fazer desecrate um custo mnimo, logo deixar de fazer um erro sem desculpa. Magos que no tem desecrate podem replicar esse efeito com Lesser Planar Binding (Como sempre extraplanares vindo ao socorro dos

magos , dessa vez dos necromancers)

Spawns

Isso muito importante por isso vou entrar nesse assunto aqui. Spawns no servem so para fazer seus undeads com capacidade de cria-los poderem controlar exercitos sem tamanho mximo. VOC pode se transformar em um Undead high level que tenha esse poder e sair por ai fazendo spawns que vo te obedecer mesmo que voc volte a ser um halfling em trajes de banho.

Alguns Undeads Surpreendentemente Bons

Nem todos os Undeads acabam sendo iguais em efetividade, quando voc aplica essa template criaturas vo ganhar e perder todos os tipos de habilidades. Por exemplo um Remorhaz praticamente um deus para seu HD. No esquea que qualquer monstro que tenha pounce muito poderoso graas a robao que pounce em D&D.

Aqui vo algumas dicas para se ter em mente muitas delas eu estudei quanto tava jogando com o Lian:

Hydras do timos zumbis. zumbis perdem a habilidade de fazer full attacks porque s podem tomar aes parciais. Isso otimo para a hidra, porque ela tem a habilidade de bater com cada cabea como standard action. E se voc dar awaken elas ainda ganham de volta fast healing.

Outsiders do timos zumbis zumbis ganham mais armadura natural adicional a que tinham vivos. Muitos

deles vo de criaturas chatas de acertar para praticamente impossvel. Planetrios por exemplo s tem 14 hds... (voc j deve ver onde isso vai dar). Esse fato pe os zumbis como undeads teis para serem esponjas de dano e tankarem muito bem.

Se voc vai dar Awaken em Algo Comece com O Hellwasp Swarm Skeleton

Por mais bizarro que seja voc no D&D pode fazer swarm virar esqueleto. Quando voc fizer Awaken Undead der para ele as habilidades de volta ele pode passar a criar zumbis de HDs doentes que ainda no contam para voc e eles ainda castam dominate monster.

Note que voc vai querer ficar matando e usando revive undead no seu swarm para que ele perca HDs podem assim abrir espao para voc controlar mais desses swarms.

Esqueleto mantem alguma das formas de movimento. Zumbis mantem todas

Isso significa que um Bulette ainda pode cavar e um Scrag ainda pode nadar. Com isso voc pode criar cavadores de tuneis, montarias at mesmo aladas e lidar muito bem com a questo mobilidade.

Ajuda com Builds

Basic Necromancer (cleric)

Se voc for pelo menos Neutro voc ganha acesso a grandes capacidades de necromancia nessa classe. Recomendo comprar os itenzinhos de rebuke (so todos bem underpriced). Claro lembre-se que como clrigo voc conhece todas as spells do seu circulo. Spells como General of Undeath e Undead Liutenant. Mesmo que voc queira ser melee no se preocupe com sua base,

voc pode ter base de ataque igual a de um fighter do seu lvl (Thanks Divine Power).

Basic Necromancer (wizard)

Estranhamente muito da necromancia do mago vem da escola de conjurao. Major Creation, Lesser Planar Binding e Gate. Todas so spells muito importantes para seu necromancer. Os primeiros lvls como necromancer vo ser meio porcarias principalmente se voc for especializado nessa escola. Voc so ganha animate dead no 4 circulo (o que no importa porque se voc fosse por esse caminho seria clrigo ou dread). A primeira spell boa de necromancia Fear, que praticamente um cone de save or die sem limite de HD. No quinto circulo vem a POESIA da necromancia do mago (Vou adorar essa spell com a Pandora). Magic Jar, a partir daqui voc no precisa mais se preocupar basta voc pegar seus inimigos e usar as habilidades deles daqui em diante.

A chave aqui que voc um mestre dos Saves or Die. Quem falhar nos seus saves vai ter uma gama de efeitos desagradaveis e normalmente similares a K.O. . Logo busque maximizar suas DCs. Lembre de pegar uma prestige class logo, mas para ser sincero as prestige classes de necromancia para mago so meio toscas, pegue qualquer classe de prestigio que voc goste contanto que ela no quebre seu cast mais que 1 vez.

The Leader (Dread Necromancer)

Essa classe s consegue dar raise nos seus undeads a partir do lvl 8 mas com o bonus de carisma e jogando mais PV por HDs seus undeads vo ser monstros com mais Pvs e HDs do que seria confortvel para qualquer inimigo seu. A partir do level 8 eles so A maneira de fazer hordas de esqueletos. Os primeiros lvls vo ser meio duros mas mesmo assim eu recomendo ir pras feats de corpse crafter.

Master of Shrouds (Cleric)

O que supostamente deve ser feito para acessar essa classe de prestgio pegar 6 lvls de clrigo. NO FAA ISSO. Como o pr requisito de que voc tenha um save de will de + 5 voc pode ter isso no lvl 3 se voc fizer multiclass. Voc pode ser um Master of Shrouds no lvl 4, enquanto isso no parece muito impressionante, o fato de que voc esta ganhando acesso a esses monstros incorpreos 3 lvls antes at um bom negcio. Tudo que a classe d e feito para ser levemente underpower no lvl que voc ganha mas 3 lvls antes at so fortes.

Nos seus primeiros 2 lvls voc ser um clrigo. Voc vai ter que pegar spell focus conjuration e augmented summoning para entrar na classe. (o que queimar duas feats) Depois no lvl 3 pegue alguma classe que de 2 de will. Eu no vou insult-lo fingindo que essa uma BOA build de necromancer mas vamos ve-la com calma. No seu lvl 4 voc esta bem mal porque ainda tem s circulo 1. No lvl 5 porm voc ja comea a produzir shadows em grandes quantidades como standard action. A progresso muito boa ate o lvl 13 quando voc est fazendo Dread Wraiths e castando 5 circulo. Mas a partir dai que fica um lixo. A classe acaba e seus especiais de convocar undead param de escalar e voc esta atrasado em circulos agora por um benefcio marginalmente bom. MAS existem muitos jogos que vo da faixa de lvl 5 a 13 e no passam desse lvl. Nesses jogos esse personagem MUITO poderoso.

O Tank (Dread Necromancer)

O dread pode virar um front line tanker facilmente, combinando cura infinita, acesso fcil a PVs temporrios, damage reduction boa e undeads focados em ao invs de combater o inimigo causar dano de energia negativa no prprio dread curando ele (LEMBREM DO TOMB TAINTED SOUL OU VIRAR UNDEAD). Com isso tudo o Dread vira um dos melhores se no O MELHOR tank do D&D.

Lord of Uttercold (Mago)

O Objetivo dessa build castar spells de gelo dando metado de dano como energia negativa. Assim voc e seus undeads ficam imunes a cold e se curam

com a parte do dano de energia negativa. Isso feito com Energy Substitution (cold) que at pr requisito mesmo pra Lord of the Uttercold e a feat Lord of the Uttercold. Depois disso voc poe Fire walls de cold com metade do dano de energia negativa e faz seus undeads danarem por ela para ficarem full de PV. Ou mesmo comee a dar blasts no campo de batalha com rod metamgicos ou sudden metamagic para alem de causar dano nos inimigos curar a vida dos seus undeads, voc dificilmente perder um morto vivo com essa build. Mas se quiser aproveitar a brincadeira para voc mesmo, voc vai ter que ser undead ou ter tomb tainted soul.

Progresso lvl a lvl As abstraes de jogar com um necromancer so muito bonitas mas aqui vou dar um pouco mais de uma viso prtica.

Cleric

Level 1: Aqui voc precisa tomar decises importantes. Selecione seu deus. Escolha seus dominios, existem muitos que so armadilhas (lembre-se de se manter longe do Death Domain), mas existem alguns bons. Evil Domain adiciona ao seu caster lvl (adoro isso), e o Deathbound Domain aumenta o tamanho do seu exrcito. Selecione suas feats iniciais, raa e skills. Escolha tendo em mente os pr requisitos da prestige class que voc quer pegar. Talvez at mesmo gaste uns ranks em cross class em ride para virar um Bone Knight. Voc pode comear a gastar suas feats em corpsecrafting mesmo que no faa undeads ainda. Infelizmente no lvl 1 voc no tem como ter uma boa armadura.

Level 2: No existem muitas escolhas nesse lvl. Voc j tem como ter uma armadura decente e ja tem 1 de base, voc praticamente um fighter ou um tank. Puro e simples , voc bate nas coisas que voc no gosta e se quiser curar decora umas spells de cura.

Level 3: Escolha uma feat, provavelmente mais feats para melhorar seus undeads. Voc agora tem acesso a Hold Person que uma spell meia boca pra ajudar na luta.

Level 4: Voc tem uma base de ataque boa, armadura etc. Voc at um bom personagem de melee e ainda tem magias de save, voc bom em praticamente tudo por nenhuma razo aparente.

Level 5: Voc agora tem Animate Dead. Suas feats para seus undeads de repente se pagam e voc j pode fazer undeads em areas desecrated com grandes bonus para tudo.

Level 6: Mais uma feat, provavelmente de novo para sua necromancia.

Level 7: De repente voc pode dar outfight em qualquer fighter graas a divine power, isso uma constante daqui em diante... Voc j deve nessa altura estar na sua classe de prestigio.

Dread Necromancer

Level 1: Aqui voc faz as grandes decises em prioridades da sua build. Voc tem que escolher suas skills (uma delas vai ser intimidade, mais desse tpico depois) e se voc for querer uma classe de prestgio comece a atender os requisitos logo. Fora isso voc est bem livre para escolher o que preferir. Se voc for humano sua feat extra provavelmente vai ser TOMB TAINTED SOUL a no ser que voc tenha planos de virar um undead logo. No ter essas condies praticamente inaceitvel se voc planeja jogar bem com seu necromancer. Finalmente voc tem que escolher uma arma marcial, e apesar da fotinho da necromancer da classe usar machado a melhor arma apesar de a longo prazo no fazer diferena o composite longbow.

Combates no lvl 1 pro Dread so perigosos e brutais como para um rogue. Tente manter as coisas o mais longe possvel, pois voc bem fragil. Quando escalar para melee voc at tem como dar um bom dano. Seu Charnel Touch um touch attack, logo ele tem mais chance de acertar do que uma espadada de um ranger, fighter ou barbarian, e dependendo da leitura do

seu DM da habilidade pode dar mais dano tambm. A chave se Charnel Touch uma standard action ou attack action, o texto implica em ser uma attack action mas est pouco claro. Se for attack action voc pode combinar Charnel Touch com a spell Chill Touch (O que faz voc causar tanto dano em melee como um rogue dando skeak attack). Mas o seu DM pode falar que Charnel Touch consome a standard action, pergunte ao seu DM.

Voc est com uma armadura lixo e 6+ CON de PVs ento mesmo seu dano alto no te carregam por muitas lutas. Claro que qualquer combate que voc sobreviva voc pode estar full logo usando seu Charnel Touch em si mesmo.

Level 2: lvl sem muitas escolhas , avance suas skills. Mas o combate um mundo inteiramente novo para voc. Agora voc tem DR 2/ bludgeoning E magic. Compre uma armadurinha melhor, e voc conseguir se passar por um melee muito bom. Seu rebuke j pega nuns undeads ento voc j pode ir pra linha de frente.

Level 3: uma escolha importante, seu feat. Uma escolha bvia arcane disciple at que os domnios estratgicos do seu deus predileto estejam todos na sua lista. Se no atenda requisitos da prestige que escolheu ou foque em feats pros seus undeads. O combate bem parecido com o lvl 2 mas mais difcil j que os monstros ficaram fortes e voc no evoluiu suas capacidades de combate. Mas agora voc tem um grande shenanigam do seu lado. Voc pode fazer um Burst de energia negativa em volta de voc (que tambm te pega, ou seja se no pegou tomb tainted soul at aqui ou no um undead ainda vai comear a sofrer aqui) que vai machucar seus inimigos e curar voc, timo mulligan.

Level 4: nesse lvl voc comea a ser um caster meio decente. E voc tem uma escolha pela frente, voc pode abrir o grande arsenal de feitios de necromancia de D&D para adicionar 1 a sua lista. Eu gosto do spell compendium como um bom lugar para escolher essa spell , mas isso uma escolha pessoal. No vamos fingir que seus especiais de classe desse lvl servem pra algo. O seu poder de combate aumentou pela base de ataque e pelos spells de segundo circulo. False Life uma spell chave e com ela voc o Tank da party.

Level 5: sem escolhas para esse lvl. Mas aqui que seu intimidate vai lhe dar frutos. Se voc estiver com ele maximizado voc normalmente vai ter sucesso em intimidar as coisas do seu lvl. Com seu especial de classes coisas em melee com voc tem que fazer will ou ficar shaken (Da forma que est escrito voc poderia ficar ativando sua aura de novo e de novo at escalar o medo do oponente pra panicked ou ele passar na will, mas vamos supor que o DM vai limitar voc a um BOOGA-BOOGA por round). Se a aura funcionar voc gasta sua ao pra dar shaken no oponente intimidando ele, como ele j vai estar afetado pelo medo ele vai recuar e voc ainda pode dar um pescotapa nele com charnel touch enquanto ele recua na nuca dele.

Level 6: nesse lvl voc ganha uma feat e com ela escolhas. Pegue algo para sua prestige ou ento algo para o que voc quer que seu personagem saiba fazer. O combate no muda muito para voc, Scabrous Touch um lixo. Voc no pode usa-lo para gerar as doenas realmente boas a no ser que seu DM seja muito generoso. Uma vez mais sua vida gira em torno das suas spells. Com Vampiric Touch e death ward sua capacidade de tank acabou de subir. Nota: voc ja pode castar spells usando uma Breastplate de Mithril ento compre uma.

Level 7: voc tem uma escolha para esse lvl. Seu familiar, as duas escolhas boas so o Quasit e a Ghostly Visage. A Ghostly Visage a escolha para o combate porque ela te torna imune a mind affecting e tem um ataque de paralisia. O Quasit te d comune, detect magic at will, ele d dano de destreza descentemente, e o ataque de fear dele de 1 vez por dia stacka com seu fear.

Level 8: mais uma vez escolhas. Uma nova spell para ir com suas brilhantes e novas spells de 4 circulo. Eu gosto de Shivering Touch a spell matadora de drages. Mas como provvel que voc queria dimuir a enfase no seu melee agora voc pode escolher outra spell. Voc ganha O especial de classe de Dread nesse lvl para controlar quantidades obscenas de undead.

Level 9: se voc for para uma classe de prestigio esse o lvl de saida.

Mago

Level 1: aproveite sua grande flexibilidade para ocupar papel de canho na parte no inicio e aproveite o fato de ter duzias de prestige classes.

Level 2: Nada muda muito para voc nesse lvl.

Level 3: Agora com auxilio de spells de circulo 2 voc ja vai comear a usar conjurao para afetar o campo de batalha. Voc provavelmente vai fazer isso o resto da vida alem da sua necromancia. Pegue Grease, seus undeads vo adorar.

Level 4: Pouca mudana se mantenha na artilharia.

Level 5: Voc tem spells de 3 circulo (O que significa que voc j pode matar drages com a dragonslayer Shivering Touch). Use tambm vampiric touch.

Level 6: uma feat que provavelmente vai ser gasta pra sua prestige. Qualquer classe serve mas eu gosto de Initiate of The Sevenfold Veil

Level 7: a classe mago no da nada nesse lvl. no da base, saves, especial. NADA. Voc j devia estar numa prestige.

Feats para os Necromancers Aqui esto umas feats boas para necromancers.

Corpsecrafter- Feat muito boa para quem quer dar raise em undeads dando mais hp pra eles e ainda sendo pr requisito para outras feats.

Nimble Bones- legal, d mais 10 feet de deslocamento e um bonus de iniciativa para seus undeads. A idia deles comearem a agir antes dos inimigos muito boa.

Destructive Retribution- Essa uma das grandes feats necromnticas. Ela faz seus undeads explodirem em energia negativa quando morrem, transformando eles em homens bomba para danificar os inimigos e ainda curar os outros. LEMBRE-SE de ter um meio de fazer undeads sem gastar POs para poder fazer undeads bombas at dizer chega. Se voc for um undead ou tiver tomb tainted soul eles curam at voc

Fell Animate- Ok alguns idiotas acham que voc pega esses +3 spell leves e aplica na sua firebal e sai por ai dando raise atrves do blast normal. ISSO BURRO. Essa feat uma das maneiras de pular o custo em onix para seus undeads e ainda ganha-los antes. Use-a em alguma cantrip e d coup de grace com ela. Se voc for um clrigo pode ate usar divine metamagic.

Lichloved- Apesar das conotaes estranhas dessa feat ela til. Undeads no inteligentes ignoram voc. Pense comigo essa habilidade fraca se voc usar para ser ignorado durante as lutas, porque supostamente voc deveria estar controlando eles no se escondendo. Mas com ela voc pode entupir sua casa com esses mortos vivos para os mais diversos fins, at mesmo mortos vivos que no esto sobre seu controle e eles no vo criar problemas.

Tomb Tainted Soul- NO VOU NEM ME DAR AO TRABALHO DE FALAR DE NOVO

Lord of The Uttercold- Olhar na parte da build.

Arcane Disciple- til para jogar spells chaves e importantes de clerigo como desecrate na sua lista de mago ou novas spells pro deu Dread.

Fortaleza Undead

Ok ento voc decidiu construir sua prpria fortaleza necromntica para servir como base de operaes. Em primeiro lugar voc no deve ter paredes feita de ossos e salas permanentemente desecrated ou piscinas de sangue ou qualquer uma dessas coisas dramticas e caras que parecem saidas de um The Sims Necromantic Style. Vamos ser prticos.

Tenha duzias de "salas dos mortos". Salas recheadas com massas de undeads fora do seu controle. E use uma spell ou lich loved para no ser incomodado pelos undeads. Quando os bonzinhos vierem atrapalhar sua festa do ch solte sua hive de undeads em cima deles. Pode ser divertido ver o clrigo da party em vo tentando turnear ou o mago controlar a quantidade obscena de undeads que voc vai soltar. Tenha Undeads incorpreos e faa as salas da sua fortaleza cheias de pilastras e pedras para que eles possam se mover para dentro tanto pra fugir quanto esconder. Voc pode tambm fazer a spell que impede turn na fortaleza mas isso pode atrapalhar voc tambm. Adicione umas salas de summon para convocar extraplanares e mata-los e uma rea mdica para inflict e cura pros seus undeads e voc est pronto. Voc praticamente a Martha Stewart do mundo necromntico.

Criando Corpos

Usando a magia polymorph any object voc pode criar o corpo que quiser, basta transformar o corpo de uma vtima no corpo do monstro que voc est precisando.

Lembro de novo do Planar Binding com uma pores de armadilhas e spells preparadas pra matar o pobre extraplanar. Bruce Ashford

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein "No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time . . . renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption."

This page should be the top page of a fairly comprehensive guide to building Dread Necromancers for 3.5 Edition D&D. The Dread Necromancer is a 20 level base class Published in the book Heroes of Horror. This guide first appeared as "The New Dread Necromancer Handbook" in the forums. It will eventually cover all aspects of making and playing a Dread Necromancer, from selecting skills and feats to shopping for quality equipment and useful corpses to animate.

Credits: jameswilliamogle: Original typing and many updates K: the Original and Revised Necromancy Handbooks, which served as the inspiration and direct source of much of the advice within this guide Surreal and Tweedledope: formatting ideas (so its their fault too, lol!) Big Bear: pointed out the custserve lich ruling

Paulung: observations regarding the Corpsecrafter feat Bonsai, Proto, Ivy: observations on individual spells Caelic: idea for getting rebuking and turning paolung: pointed out Fiend Blooded as a potential PrC Echo: Pointed out the Rod of the Dead JaronK: Pointed out Rod of Defiance cyberpunks, Echo_That_Pains: help with item by level list Bill Bisco, AprenticeWizard, Roshomon, Prototype00: specific builds Malisteen: initial work transcribing the handbook from the forum to the wiki, with much of the formatting stolen from the Avenger's Handbook. Some small edits here and there. Lots of help from a ton of folks in the community, in formatting, ideas, and everything. I've tried to put credit where credit is due, next to the individual contributions, but feel free to post if I've missed something.

Anyone who contributes to this guide, or who contributed to the original thread, please leave your name so we can thank you!

Dread Necromancer Links Revised Dread Necromancer's Handbook: the original thread from which this guide was taken. K's Revised Necromancer Handbook: a detailed and extensive guide to necromancy in 3.5e, and the original source for much of the advice given in the Handbook thread. K's Handbook on Brilliant Gameologists: After the Wizards Forum changeover a lot of the formatting in K's guide was messed up. Dark_Samuari on the BG forum went through the effort of reformatting K's Guide over there. It's easier to read, there's some different discussion following it. Character Class: Dread Necromancer: Skip Williams's Character Class article on Dread Necromancers for the Wizard's website. It's a nice, if somewhat brief, introduction to the class.

Playtest Dread Necromancer: ThePlaneswalker's homebrew 4e conversion, complete with PDFs in the style of an online Dragon article. More links to follow as I find old threads.

Sections: Overview Class Features Attributes Races Skills Feats Spells Prestige Classes Equipment Builds Notes

General Info

Pros Spontaneous casting similiar to Warmage or Beguiler means TONS of spells per day. Cha synergy between casting, class abilities, and Rebuke Undead: its essentially a one-stat class. Touch spells make lowerered BAB not as big of an issue. Self healing is very feasible w/ minimum investments. Awesome undead creation abilities.

Light armor and a single martial weapon proficiency. TONS of flavor. Cons Worst BAB available. Extremely focused spell list: very few generally useful utility spells. Only one good save, and normally in a dump stat for the class. Low skill points per level, and Int is an otherwise unimportant stat. Only d6 HP / level makes them relatively fragile. Your spell list makes party and NPCs extremely suspicious of your abilities: guard your secret well unless the majority are evil.

Party Roles Inspired in large part by Ks handbook.

Lower levels: great second-tier melee characters, using touch spells while wearing light armor and getting DR with self-healing. Although melee is an odd path for a spontaneous arcane caster, the Dread Necro does it quite well for the earliest levels. Afterwards, you should start thinking about enhancing your spellcasting, and boosting your undead. The feat section has some advice about this, as does the builds section.

Mid levels: starts to get some ok crowd control spells, and summons start becoming more viable. Woe to any DM that pits a bunch of mindless undead against you.

Upper levels: Straight up lethal spells combined with an army of undead usually ends encounters really quickly and efficiently. You might be able to solo a bit at the upper end, though I wouldnt recommend it (mainly b/c its not fun).

Only play a Dread Necromancer when: Your melee basis for the party is covered. A DN can make a decent second tier warrior, but low BAB and low HP make it a generally poor choice. If you are starting at at least 4th (2nd/3rd with NaeHoon Illumian), and in a primarily evil party, you might be able to fill this role if you simply gain control of suitably meaty undead. Talk to your DM about evil clerics, and paying them to animate a creature that you can subsequently command or rebuke. Ogre Zombies are a great low-level option (via Command Undead). Remember to equip them to the best of your ability.

Your healing basis for the party is covered. Barring House rules to the contrary, or lack of access to Libris Mortis, Dread Necromancers can typically supply his own healing between fights via Charnel Touch, and emergency inbattle healing via Negative Energy Burst and the Inflict Wounds series of spells. However, you won't be able to supply healing for anyone else. Unless you can talk the rest of your party into taking Tomb-tainted Soul, that is. Even then, you won't be removing ability damage, or disease, or energy drain from anybody, so yeah.

Your trapfinding basis for the party is covered. You could theoretically get past traps by summoning creatures / animating bodies to run in front of you, and having detect magic and dispel magic for many traps, but you'll still have to deal with resetting mechanical traps, so it's generally a good idea to have a dedicated trap-fixer in the group.

There's another dedicated arcanist in the party. You don't have the utility nor ability to cover all the important spellcasting aspects. Out of the box, you don't Scry, or fly, or teleport, or Plane Shift, or do any of those other highlevel, plot-enabling spells that the party arcanist is typically expected to handle . You have aggressively few skill points, so you don't particularly want to burn them on Decipher Script, or Knowledge skills, or Spellcraft, either. Any other arcane class, like Beguiler or Warmage, is usually enough to cover all the basics. A Beguiler can also serve as the party's trap-fixer, making them especially useful allies for Dread Necromancers. If you had significantly high Int, you could get over this problem (you need Spellcraft, Kn:Arcana to be maxed, and cross-classing UMD will help you cover for some of those missing utility spells, provided your DM is sufficiently generous).

Level by Level Breakdown by K First Level:This is where you have to make the big decisions in build priorities. You have to choose your skills. One of these skills is going to be Intimidate (more on that later), and if you ever want a prestige class you'll have to start working on it now (You could do worse than working towards Divine Oracle by taking Knowledge: Religion, Wild Mage by taking Spellcraft, or Mind Bender by taking social skills). Otherwise you can get pretty much anything you want. Unless you're human or a human with glowing blue eyes, you're only going to have one feat. That feat is going to be Tomb Tainted Soul, because not having that feat is unacceptable. Finally, you get to choose a martial weapon - and in all deference to the really hot Asian necromancer picture, that weapon is under no circumstances going to be an axe. You are going to have proficiency with the composite longbow.

Combat at first level for a Dread Necromancer is nasty and brutish, much like it is for a Rogue. You'll try to keep things at range as much as possible because you're soft and squishy. When it does come to melee, you're going to dish out big damage. Your Charnel Touch is a touch attack, so it is substantially more likely to land than a sword attack from a ranger of your level (they have +1 BAB on you, but how many creatures have less than a point of armor and natural armor?), and depending on your DM's reading of the ability - may do more damage. The key is whether Charnel Touch is an attack action or a standard action, it is heavily implied to be an attack action but this is unclear in the text. You can combine a Charnel Touch with a touch spell such as Chill Touch (making you do as much damage in melee as a Rogue's Sneak Attack with a longsword), but your DM may rule that you have to spend a round "powering up," so ask before you get into combat.

You're still running in there with the crappy light armor you can afford (studded leather), and 6 + Con HP, so even your high damage output shouldn't trick you into getting into melee much. Of course, any combat you survive causes you no damage, as you'll just Charnel Touch yourself back to full life during even a minute of down time. Touching yourself is a standard action, after all.

Level 2:There are no choices to make at all once you hit level 2. All of your skills advance, and you don't have any feats or proficiencies to select.

But combat is a whole new world for you, as you now have DR 2/ Bludgeoning and Magic. By this point you've probably gotten your hands on a masterwork chain shirt, and you're what passes for a decently resilient melee combatant. Your rebuking is now powerful enough to command basic skeletons, and your BAB is still only a point behind the fighters. So you still dish out the pain like a Rogue, but now you're survivable - so run in there and start slapping people.

Level 3:There is a very large choice at this level: your new feat. The obvious choice is to just take Arcane Disciple every feat from now until you've exhausted all the domains of your favorite god. I won't fault you for doing that, but you can also get some good effect out of Weapon Finesse (as it modifies touch attacks), and if you're thinking long term you might want to go for Mounted Combat as you will eventually be able to pull some tricks with undead warbeasts that are alarming.

Combat is pretty similar at 3rd level to 2nd, but the monsters are tougher. You won't have gotten noticeably better at melee (unless you took Weapon Finesse), but you now have the ability to pull a combat muligan - you are within 5 feet of yourself by definition, so if melee is turning against you a burst of negative energy will heal you and hurt them - that's all good.

Level 4:Level 4 is where you start being a halfway decent caster, and your big character choice reflects that. You can dumpster dive throughout the whole of D&D and find any Necromancy spell off the Cleric or Wizard list from any book. Good choices include Lesser Shivering Touch (which can again be combined with Charnel Touch) from Frost Burn, and Faerun has a number of nice offerings such as Stone Bones, Spirit Worm, Death Armor, and Shroud of Undeath can all be pretty useful. The Spell Compendium is a good place to go shopping, but this is a very personal choice.

We're not even going to pretend that your "Mental Bastion" makes a difference, so combat is going to be livened up by your increased BAB and your second level spells. False Life is key, remember that your DR is applied before you lose temporary hit points, so you're pretty much the tank at this point.

Special Note: Once you attain 4th level, you will continue to accrue new spells known every 4 levels even if you take a +1 caster level PrC. Gaining new levels for the purpose of learning new spells is awesome for a Dread Necromancer.

Level 5:There are no choices at 5th level, but this is where your intimidate finally pays off. A character with max ranks of Intimidate usually succeeds at intimidating things, and anything that gets into melee with you has to make a Will save or become Shaken (as written, you can jolly well just use the fear aura again and again, stacking up fear effects until your opponent becomes panicked or makes a Will Save, but we'll assume for the moment that your DM will limit you to one booga-booga a round), and if it works you can spend your action intimidating them, which stacks their Fear up to Frightened, so they lose their action running out of melee while you slap them in the back of the head. It's quite an effective "juggle" to use fighting game lingo.

Level 6:This is a level where you get a feat, and that means that you have a lot of choices again. You could get Leadership, or Skill Focus: Knowledge Religion, or Death Blow (see below), or anything else you need to get into a PrC at level 9.

Combat doesn't change for you much from your new "ability". Scabrous Touch is pretty much crap, so it's not important that you have it (though you can combine it with your basic attack so it doesn't cost you anything). You can't use it to generate any of the good diseases like Ghoul Fever or Festering Hate unless you have a very generous DM. You're gonna throw in Blinding Sickness unless you want to try to kill an animal with Mindfire, but don't get your hopes up. Once again, your life revolves around the spells you just got. With Vampiric Touch and Death Ward, your tanking expertise is way up there.

Special Note: You can cast spells while using a Mithril Breastplate, so by now you should own one and wear it all the time.

Level 7:You have only one choice at this level: your familiar. There are two good choices: Quasit and Ghostly Visage. The Ghostly Visage is the combat choice, because it makes you immune to mind affecting effects and uses your

level as its Hit Dice to generate a save DC for a gaze attack that paralyzes your enemies. Quasit is the less-combat choice because it gives you Commune, unlimited Detect Magic, and can still hand out quite sizeable amounts of Dex damage and its 1/day fear stacks with your fear aura.

Combat has changed for you utterly. Your DR has become bigger and you have a familiar that accentuates your combat strategy greatly (either making enemies helpless as the Ghostly Visage is wont to do, or by adding Dex damage to the pile as the Quasit can).

Level 8:Once again, you are stuck with choices. You select a new spell to go with your shiny 4th level spells. Shivering Touch is a dragon killer - 3d6 Dex damage will drop many enemies. But you're also going to probably want to de-emphasize your melee role now that you can make high quality flying mounts. Undead Mastery is high quality, because it makes your Control Undead ginormous. You also get a second Negative Energy Burst each day, but this is more for emergency healing than it is for harming enemies.

Level 9:You now prestige class out, because there are no more good Dread Necromancer abilities for a long time. Although the need to PrC out at ninth has been debated (more on that in the PrC section), its all great advice.

Alignment

Dread Necromancers cannot be good, but there doesn't appear to be any consequence if you are good. Thus, a DN might be able to turn good after character creation. Playing a good DN would severely hamstring the class: you could still cast |Death| spells, but you can pretty much forget any |Evil| spells, such as Animate Dead and Create Undead. These are staple abilities of the class, and you don't want to lose them.

Dread Necromancers work best in an evil party, where they themselves can

be evil, and can make the fullest and most flagrant use of their spells and class features.

Most Dread Necromancers will end up being neutral characters in a goodleaning party. This can be awkward, to say the least. Good heroes are going to take an especially dim view of you casting |Evil| spells, and while you might be able to dupe them some of the time, they're going to recognize Animate Dead when they see it. In such a party, you're probably going to want to hide your nature from them for as long as possible, using bluff (and disguise, if you're undead) to pass yourself off as something else - a battle sorcerer or something of the like. Work on them slowly, over time, first getting them to accept fear spells and negative energy attacks, then summoning undead or controlling undead, and only later on animating only a very few mindless ones.

Paladins in the Party

Party Paladin's deserve a special note. If one of your fellow players wants to play a Aaladin, see if you can point them towards a Crusader, or a meleefocused Cleric, or even a Soulborn from Magic of Incarnum. Really anything that has that holy warrior fluff without the specific code of conduct which punishes them for letting you do your thing. If they insist on having a Paladin in the party, you may just want to consider playing another Class.

You see, regular good characters can eventually learn to accept a neutral ally who commits Evil acts in the furtherance of a Good cause. But Paladins cannot. They are specifically prevented from associating with those who knowingly commit Evil deeds. A forgiving DM can help you avoid this problem by loosening the Paladin's code regarding their allies, but a by-the-book DM is going to end up punishing your friend for your actions, and that's just not cool.

You can say it's their fault for playing the Paladin. After all, the Dread Necromancer doesn't have any restrictions on what other party members can do, and the Paladin is a notoriously weak class anyway. But the fact remains that Paladins are core, and Dread Necromancers are not, and your friend had every right to expect to be able to roll up a Paladin and play some D&D. Try

to find a compromise with your fellow player and your DM, but if one can't be reached, you should be ready to look at other class options. Dread Necromancer Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You get light armor w/ no ASF, meaning you'll want mithril breastplate ASAP, w/o costing you too much. You get all simple weapons, and a single martial proficiency. The most common choice is the Longbow, but any reach weapon can be great too. Lance works for mounted builds, and is great w/o any investment into the mounted feats, and the Guisarm can make trip attacks, too, and being reach you don't have to worry about being tripped back, just about being disarmed. Don't pick the mighty 2H Sword: you shouldn't rely on your weapons as the way to do damage, but rather your spells and class abilities to disable opponents (the lance is an exception to that, being capable of really getting a lot of multipliers on a charge really easily).

I also like the Throwing Axe: you threaten, you have ranged options, and its finessable. One of the last weapons I used was a +1 Spellstoring Throwing Axe (which generally was under a Brilliant Energy Aura from a Wizard), and I must say it was pretty awesome: Spellstoring only cares about the spell level, not the spell slot, so you can put in funky metamagic combinations. I don't know if its RAW, but a Chained Ray of Exhaustion fits in just as well as a spell that takes a 3rd level slot, and I believe will hit every one as a normal Chained spell (Spellstoring doesn't change its range, nor does "Chain" change it away from a "targeted spell", after all).

Charnel Touch: Useful at the lowest levels for damage, but will be used for healing yourself and your undead between battles after that.

Rebuke Undead: Turning isn't that bad of a strategy at low levels, but starts to suck exponentially with level. K's handbook has the best advice on it. It's really stupid, but you just gain Rebuke Undead "as a Cleric, see p 33 of PHB", which

in turn refers to p 159 of the PHB. Its all worded to work off your Cleric level, of which you have none. RAW, a Dread Necro has no ability to Rebuke anything. Had they just said "as a cleric of their class level", it would work. No sane DM would play it that way, but at this point the hope for errata is long past, so you have to appeal to some common sense.

Lich Body: the best thing a Melee DN has going for it. DR 2 at 2nd is pretty awesome, but as usual, the DR doesn't scale well.

Negative Energy Burst: As mentioned by K in his handbook, its primarily a quick heal ability. If you aren't undead or tomb tainted (possibly as a result of DM nerfage), this ability becomes basically worthless, as you would be hurting yourself to use it.

Fear Aura: This ability is soooo freaking good. You'll have a ton of fear effects that leave them shaken, that combined w/ this you can frighten everyone. Combine this w/ Intimidate's demoralize opponent and you become a one person per round frighten machine. Stack it with the 'Never Surrounded' skill trick from complete adventurer and you can frighten every enemy adjacent to you.

Advanced Learning: Its good, but can be hard to find a lot of spells that aren't essentially duplicates of what your spell list already provides. Recommendations for individual spells can be found in the Spells section of this guide.

Mental Bastion: You'll either become a Necropolitan early on or a Lich much later, but the bonus on saves is good until then.

Scaberous Touch:

By the time you get this, you don't want to be using it, unless you still are focusing on Charnel Touch, which is losing power by this point. As such, this is more for flavor. You could buff w/ Spectral Hand, activate this ability, cast a touch spell, and deliver a Charnel Touch all w/ one attack, but that's a lot of effort for what you get.

Undead Mastery: This ability is AWESOME! Hordes and Hordes of skeletons on your side. Unfortunately, its keyed off your class level, so if you PrC out after 8th, you'll not get full benefit out of it, but it probably is worth it (even having 4 times your HD in undead is usually more than enough as a PC): You'll have (8 X Cha) + (4 X HD), which should be enough. Of course, even the normal undead HD limit from Animate Dead is enough to strain most campaigns to the breaking point, so the primary benefit will likely be the enhanced stats and HP on your undead. Note that only the HP bonus will stack with the 'Corpsecrafter' feat, however.

Light Fortification: See Mental Bastion above. If a rogue actually had Grave Strike, and you were a Necro, this would still apply RAW. That's a highly situational benefit, though.

Evervating Touch: This is a powerful ability, particularly when combined with a wicked touch spell (like Harm, for example). This is one of the few real benefits of leveling past 8 as a Dread Necromancer.

Craft Wonderous Item: Considering your limited spell list, you probably don't want to take a lot of item creation feats. Getting one for free isn't bad, although it comes pretty late in the game.

Lich Transformation: According to Wizards Custserv (Incident: 070501-000021), you do not gain

the Lich template with this ability. You do gain the undead template and have lich-like class abilities. Clarification is needed concerning the phylactery. RAW gives a useless phylactery but the class description implies that you would gain the phylactery ability. If you are already undead, there may be no reason to take this level as you only are gaining the 9th level spell and the ability to make a useless wonderous item for free. If you're DM rules that the phylactery is functional, then an undead Dread Necromancer will have to pay for a True Resurrection before taking this level.

Familiar

Familiar choice is really important, as they're much more powerful than your standard choices

At 7th, the DN gets the equivalent of Improved Familiar for free, but RAW it doesnt have to match your alignment at all. You may want to wait a few levels to get the Stiched-flesh Familiar feat (see feat section). Theres 2 choices which really stand out: Quasit and Ghostly Visage. Realize that since these are familiars, there special ability saves will increase at 10+1/2 your level + stat, which is slow, but just a little less rapidly than your spells and class abilities, generally. (Note: the Monster Manual listing for Imp and Quasit has been errata'd from the SRD version; the MM versions allow up to any two polymorph forms, and is very, very powerful: if your game uses only the books, then I suggest you take one of these two familiars.)

Ghostly Visage: (K pointed out this one): Gives some great immunities, if you havent gone Necro yet, and if you want to melee it has some nice uses. Paralyzing gaze affects everyone w/in 30' every round, which is awesome. Quasit: These guys have detect magic at will, invisibility, and can polymorph into a Wolf, improving both your sneakiness and your stealth. A great way to really confuse your allies is to max out Disguise and have your familiar always in Wolf form. Theyll never figure out what youre playing! They should ALWAYS have Detect Magic and Invisibility up and running. Between you having Detect Undead up when its appropriate and the familiar doing its thing, you should have a pretty good thing going. The poison DC scales somewhat, but is a weak effect. Imp: A close second, IMO, to the Quasit. They have a Boar form instead of a

Wolf. Although it has a better Con, it lacks the movement, and RAW, you wont get any extra HP from the higher Con. They get both poison and Suggestion that scales ok: this might make it better than the Quasit if you plan on doing a lot of subterfuge. Vargouille: The Paralyzing Kiss can be used to take out a massive population pretty quickly, but you wont be getting control over them. The fact that your familiar cant even talk to them really prevents anything useful happening from it. The Shriek effect is of too low of a DC to be really useful, and doesn't scale well (having Con based abilities and undead really sucks).

Deliver Touch spells: The most useful ability for this class. If you pick a Quasit whos in Wolf form, you can send him to target creatures 40 away. Dont forget they have 3 HD, which allows you to pick 2 feats for them (I went w/ Light Armor Proficiency, and put Mithril Breastplate Barding on mine as soon as I could afford it hes always a wolf).

Share Spells: You dont have many buffs, so you probably wont be using this too much. You might be able to pick up some interesting effects if you are a Necro, though: For example, Vile Death can add the Fiendish template to yourself, so share with your familiar and you have a fiendish Quasit, then dismiss the spell on yourself so you dont have to deal w/ LA issues. Dread Necromancer Attributes

Charisma Cha is the most important stat you have. All your class abilities, including spellcasting, are set off of it. Keep this as high as possible: a 16 is the lowest I'd go, and then only if you are playing in a 28 or less point buy.

Dexterity

Dex is important, too: you have light armor, but many of your spells are touch spells, putting you dangerously close to the action, so don't ignore this. You also have a number of good ray spells, which will need at least a decent dex to hit. A 14 is ok, a 16 is better; you might consider Weapon Finesse for your touch spells if this is high enough, and if your DM allows retraining so you can switch it for something else at higher levels when your touch attacks become overshadowed by your other spells.

Constitution Con is kind of debatable, imo. if you can start out as a Necropolitan, ignore it, but otherwise put the minimum you need to get by until you can become a necropolitan. Unless you want to melee early on, in which case a 12 or 14 might be needed to survive. You'll also want to consider a higher con if your DM won't allow you to become a Necropolitan at all.

Strength Str shouldn't be lower than 10, simply so you can land your touch spells in the early career, and wear light armor w/o problems. Even as a melee DN, you still can get a lot of utility out of a low strength while focusing on touch spells like Chill Touch and Ghoul Touch. Specific gish builds, such as an undead-riding lancer, may need a higher Str to land attacks with spell-storing weapons.

Intelligence Int is dependent on how many skills you want to take. You won't really need more than 3 or 4 points per level, so a 12-14 (lower with human) should be ok. You only have Decipher Script and some Knowledge skills for Int: Decipher Script isn't critical for your class (unless you pick up Corrupt Arcana), and Knowledge is better handled by a Wizard. That said, some PrC options are more skill intensive, and you have a lot of potentially useful class skills to choose from (and that's without even considering cross class skills like UMD), so you won't regret having a higher Int then strictly necessary, so long as you're not sacrificing Cha to get it.

Wisdom Wis may be a dump stat. You don't have any wisdom-based skills or abilities

and you have a good will save that only gets better with level and templates, or becomes unnecessary altogether. However, if you want to take the Arcane Disciple feat you will want at least a 13 in it, so that with a +6 item you can cast all of the domain spells (see Feats below). Races for Dread Necromancers

Races with Bonus Feats: Strongheart Halflings are great, even for a melee Dread Necromancer. Strongheart Halflings are a forgotten realms specific sub-race of halflings found in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. With Strongheart Halflings, you get +1 AC, +1 to hit, nice stealth bonuses, but most importantly, you get an extra feat.

Humans are nice, too, particularly if you need more skills per level b/c you don't have another arcanist in the party. The feat rocks.

Races with a Bonus to Charisma: Spellscales are pretty good choices, too. They are not a campaign specific race, and can be found in Races of the Dragon. The have +2 Cha, which is great, and -2 Con, which makes them a good candidate for Necropolitan (see below). The free metamagics are nice, too, although I think they should scale a little better with HD. You also qualify for Dragon Feats (see below), some of which are kind of nice. Spellscales' penalty to con also makes them a debatably a good candidate to become a dragonborn of bahamut.

Star Elves are pretty good choices, as well. They are a forgotten realms specific sub-race of elves found in the book, Unapproachable East. They have +2 Cha, which is great, and -2 Con, which makes them a good candidate for Necropolitan (see below). Star elves also have elven bonuses to spot, listen, and search, as well as the ability to detect secret doors. The power to make weapons ghost-touch as a special ability doesn't hurt either. Star Elves' penalty to con also makes them a debatedly good candidate to become a dragonborn of bahamut.

"Lesser" Aasimar are pretty sick dread necromancers. The "lesser" aasimar variant can be found in Races of Faerun, but can easily be ported to a nonfaerun campaign setting because aasimars are found in the monster manual and are therefore not campaign specific. A "lesser" aasimar are the same as regular aasimar, except they are Humanoid (planetouched), instead of Outsider (good), and their LA +0. This leaves their ability score adjustments at a whopping +2 Cha +2 Wis. To put it gently, "lesser" aasimar are definitely on the high end in terms of power for LA +0 creatures. Since Dread Necromancer are required to be non-good, this also creates a cool back story for how your "lesser" aasimar wandered from the path of good.

Kobolds are useful for Dragonwrought (see the feat section) and for some claw attacks at low level (see the RoDragon Web Enhancement). You get +2 AC, and +1 to hit, which helps. With Slight Build, you might be able to hollow out a large zombies chest cavity and put a little seat in there, driving it around. Its also lots of fun. A dragonwrought kobold gains bonuses for aging, but not penalties. So a venerable dragonwrought kobold would have the following stats: -4 str +2 dex -2 con +3 int +3 wis +3 con. Good luck convincing your dm to allow you to play that . The downside is that since you are now a Dragon, you no longer can become a Necropolitan.

Hellbred from the Fiendish Codex II gives you the option to focus on either body or spirit when you create your character; focusing on spirit gives you +2 Cha and -2 Con, and also gives you darkvision that scales as you level. You also gain the ability to see in darkness, including deeper darkness and telepathy out to 100 feet at higher levels. Other minor bonuses of note include a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks, and Devil's Favor as a bonus feat, giving you a +2 bonus to a single attack, save or check roll once per day per devil-touched feat you have. But on the downside, if you're killed before you can transform yourself into an undead form, you can't be brought back to life unless it's by anything less than resurrection or stronger.

Other: Illumians, from Races of Destiny, make surprisingly decent Dread Necromancers because they can get an ability similar to Divine Metamagic that's usable 2/day. It uses one less turn attempt than Divine Metamagic and

can be used with arcane spells (Which Divine Metamagic no longer allows due to its errata).

Bhuka, from Sandstorm, are for a specialized DN build: you are going for the Walker in the Waste PrC if you are using this race. They're small, and have the extra +2 Dex and and +1 to hit due to this. They're also more interesting than the typical Strongheart Halfling.

Races by Source Player's Handbook Races: Halflings, Half-Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Half-Elves aren't really the best choices for a Dread Necromancer. You don't want any Cha penalty, you already get a martial weapon, you don't need / want diplomacy, can't really search to find traps, and you have only Phantasmal Killer as an illusion spell. If you have to play one of these, Star Elf for bonus to Charisma (Unapproachable East - see above), or Strongheart Halflings for their bonus feat (Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting - see above), or Desert Half-orc or dwarf (UA), or Forest Gnome (MM) for extra stealth. As mentioned earlier, humans are still great choice for dread necromancers; the others make good undead to awaken, as they'll get all their racial abilities (searching, for example w/ dwarves while underground).

Eberron Campaign Setting Races: Changelings, Kalashtar, Shifters, Warforged don't make the best Dread Necromancers from a power gaming stand-point. According to a recent Ask Wizards, Warforged are able to become undead. The downside to playing a Dread Necromancer Warforged is you have to deal w/ a Cha penalty, and if you become undead your Con bonus won't matter at all. On the upside, this could be a really fun RP choice ("What does life mean, anyway? That skeleton over there has been traveling with me for weeks, and he's a good companion!"). A shifter could make for an interesting gish, but they unfortunately have a penalty to Charisma. Kalshstar are more aimed toward psionic classes and don't synergize well with Dread Necromancer. A changeling is probably the best choice overall from the four eberron races. A changeling's deceptive nature and bonuses to social skills could be useful for a Dread Necromancer because they synergize with the dread necromancer's high charisma. Unfortunately there are many races out there that are over-all better choices than changelings (see above).

Templates and Add-ons

The best templates turn you into an undead early on w/ little costs. You run the risk of your DM hating you when you do this though, as power creep is definitely a problem. You'll know when an either a Cleric of Pelor with maxed out Kn:Religion and Skill Focus: Kn: Religion recognizes you, and destroys you w/ a greater turning, or when you start encountering Evil Clerics that are just slightly higher than double your level.

Necropolitan, from Libris Mortis, is the acquired template of choice for most Dread Necromancers. It is an add-on template that turns you undead, gives turn resistance, makes you re roll all you HD as d12's. It costs 3000 gp and a single level's worth of XP. The earliest you could do it (due to XP) is 3rd. I recommend taking out a loan, at as high as 30% interest if you have to, just to do it at 3rd. If you start higher than 3rd level, do this before creation. If you start at 1st level, then take Tomb-tainted Soul, but for your sake I hope the DM using retraining so you can turn that into something useful after switching to Necropolitan. Its much better than TTSoul, as you get undead immunities as well, instead of just being healed by negative energy. At 19th level, you need to pay for a True Resurrection before leveling to 20th to get advantage out of Lich Transformation, although this is only worth it if your DM rules that the phylactery provided is functional (see the Class Features page).

Lich (MM) According to custserv (Incident: 070501-000021, Big Bear), you do NOT become a Lich at 20th level. Going after the template the normal way, with it's heavy adjustment and odd overlap with your class features, won't really work well in most games. If you're DM lets you get all the benefit up front, effectively gaining four levels all at once without gaining any experience, then it can be worth it, so long as you keep in mind that you'll likely never level up again. If, on the other hand, your DM makes you pay the four levels up front, either by losing levels when you acquire the template or by making you burn four levels before applying the benefits, then stay away.

Dragonborn of Bahamut from Races of the Dragon make arguably good dread

necromancers because they often act to balance out many of the races natural frailness. Dragonborn of Bahamut is more of a template than an actual race. If a creature chooses to become a Dragonborn of Bahamut, it does not gain any level adjustment, instead they lose all abilities associated with their old race including bonus feats; they keep ability modifiers as well as some other abilities. In return they get some abilities (like flight, dark/lowlight vision and blindsense, or a breath weapon), including +2 Constitution -2 Dexterity ability modifier. These ability modifiers stack with the old ability modifiers. Dragonborns are better for those who don't plan on seeing 20th level of Dread Necromancer because by then con won't matter anymore. You also qualify for Dragon Feats (see below), some of which are kind of nice. (note: see sidebar on p. 15: you'd be sacrificing a lot of abilities to play this race w/o losing the abilities. In short: you have to RP your DN as good.)

Draconic (RoDr): Only if LA Buy-off rules are used (see the SRD or UA). +2 Cha, Str, Con, 2 claw attacks (usable as secondary attacks), stackable +1 natural armor, Intimidate bonus, Low-light and darkvision, and Dragonblood Subtype. Its a great template to add on, and for +1 LA its a steal, but only if you'll be able to reduce that later (a fine strategy, I found, was to wait until you have enough XP at 2nd level to both buy off the level before hitting 3rd and paying the Necropolitan costs; this will keep your and your allies XP up before you level, and minimizes the immediate costs).

Spellstiched (CArc): Its an expensive template add-on to undead (1000 gp, and usually 9500 xp), but its a great way to gain a lot of spell-like abilities for things that you'd normally not have access too, and avoid material components (including XP costs). Its so expensive, in fact, that I'd bet money that the designers intended it to cost 500 xp per Wis bonus, or Wis over 10 (talk to your DM). The creator needs to have Craft Wondrous Items, which means that at lower level you are better off hiring someone to do this to you (a standard cost of 5 gp / xp would price it at 48500, but look here). According to the RAW, there's no LA, just +1 CR... but expect at least a +1 LA to be applied by your DM. There's some suggestions about good spells to apply in the Spells section below. Also, according to RAW it's possibly that only a Wizard or Sorcerer could apply the affects of this template, and not just any arcane caster. Check with your DM.

Phrenic (XPH): The Psi-like abilities granted by this template really help a few of the shortcomings of the DN. You'll get Teleport, Dominate Person, Power Resistance (which = SR in most games), and a bunch of offensive and

defensive abilities, and +4 Cha, among other stat bonuses, all for +2 LA. Awesome template in a LA buy off game.

Curst (MC: Monsters of Faerun, PGtF Web): This is a tough template to justify. +3 LA, and you only get undead abilities, +3 Natural Armor, SR, Turn/Rebuke immunity, and cold/fire immunity. You also become almost impossible to kill, even when taken to 0 HP. Also, you lose any previous spellcasting you had, meaning you better start as a Curst. If you are going for a +3 LA character already, you might as well start out as a Lich.

Other Races and Templates:

There are many other races to choose from. As a general rule of thumb, ones with LA 0 are best (note: LA buy off makes LA +1 to +2 races very viable; see UA for rules on LA Buy off: La +1 catches up to the parties level between 3rd and 4th, a +2 catches up to the party's ECL between 12th and 13th.) Dread Necromancer Skills

As a Dread Necromancer, you have a number good skills to choose from, both class and cross-class. Concentration and Intimidate have direct combat applications. Bluff and Disguise help you interact with npcs and other party members without raising suspicions. Know: Religion expands your knowledge of the undead. A high Cha can make a number of cross class skills tempting, including Use Magic Device and Diplomacy. The ability to make quality undead mounts makes ride worth considering, as well.

Unfortunately, you have very few skill points to work with - only two per level base (x4 at first level). On top of that, int is generally a dump stat for you, as you have no class features, and very few useful skills, that key off of it. As such, while there are many skills that could be useful for you, you'll probably only be able to take advantage of a few of them. Many Dread Necromancers will be proficient only with Concentration and Intimidate. However, for the Dread Necromancer who does invest in a higher intelligence, or those who

come from human stock, a number of options are available.

Class Skills Concentrate: You need to max this out for defensive casting. Cha synergy if you're undead.

Intimidate: You can get a lot of utility out of a maxed out Intimidate score. This lets you simply get w/in 5' of someone w/ your Fear Aura and demoralize them to make them frightened. Cha synergy.

Knowledge (Religion): 5 ranks gives a nice synergy bonus to turning. Otherwise it's a fluff skill. Remember that it covers knowledge of undead creatures, so if you want to burn skill points on any lore at all, it's probably this one.

Knowlege (Arcana): This is usually better left for someone else. Consider it only if nobody else in your party has it, and only if your DM likes to make lore checks important in game.

Spellcraft: If you have another arcanist in the party, try to convince them to take care of the spellcraft checks, but otherwise this is the best next skill to put ranks in. If you take the Corrupt Arcana feat, you need to hit a DC 24 by the time you get 9th level spells to prepare all the spells possible: you can take 10 on it, and aid another works on it, too. You also need to get a spellbook w/ the spells, and hit a DC 29 to initially decipher it (also can take 10 and aid another on it - hire some spellcasters to aid on the cheap). You'd have to hit a DC 20 and 25, respectively, if you took Arcane Disciple: Spell Domain and planned on using/abusing Anyspell (not RAW legal using the most recent printing). If you plan on making much use of metamagic, and don't qualify for dragonblooded feats, then 12 ranks of spellcraft will qualify you for the feat Rapid Metamagic from Complete Mage

Disguise: This is good to max out if you went Necropolitan, and for when / if

you become a lich, and can be used to disguise your huge undead. Add for flavor. Cha synergy.

Bluff: lets you get away with animating undead in town. Helps you hide your nature from more squeamish members of your party. Add for flavor. Cha synergy. Note that there are a few decent skill tricks that are keyed off of this skill (see 'Skill Tricks' below). I'd put the minimum ranks in to get these, if you are so inclined.

Decipher Script: You can ignore. Even under the best situations, its up to your DM how important the skill is. (I had thought this was how one deciphered others magical writings, but after looking into it I was mistaken.)

Craft: This is a fluff skill, and you don't have skill points to spare.

Profession: This is fluff skill, and you don't have skill points to spare.

Hide: You should have an ok dex, but not great. Without 'Move Silently', it's hard to get much use out of this. If you want to be sneaky, I'd recommend Bluff and Disguise instead.

Cross-class Skills Use Magic Device: just wesome on a Cha based caster. You have a limited spell list, and this greatly diversifies you. You could easily have around a +20 skill check, around 15th, with only a couple of ranks, +Cha items, and +Cha check items (Circlet of Persuasion, for example), or a custom +UMD item. Its even that much better if you plan on going into a Rogue/Caster PrC like Arcane Trickster, Daggerspell Mage, or Unseen Seer (see the Prestige Class section below).

Ride: this is one of those skills that you may want to invest a minimum in to hit certain DC's. You'll never have to beat a DC >29 (wearing normal

Breastplate w/ Battlecaster, riding a bipedal creature), but realistically the toughest DC you'll need to hit is a 16 (mithril Breastplate, undead creature good for riding, only needing to get cover). You should have a decent base Ride check w/ only a few ranks invested. An entire build could be made focusing on just riding undead creatures, which could be very interesting if you pick up the Lance as your Martial Weapon Proficiency.

Diplomacy and Gather Information: Both are better served by dedicated skill monkeys. You could, with the right undead, make an entire spy network. There's a few suggestions in the Notes section. Basically, you Awaken Rogueish undead, and use a combination of Magic Jar, a Hat of Disguise, a Disguise Kit, and your (maxed) Disguise skill while taking 10 to give the undead a base of 30+ Disguise, as another race. It works best if you can use Create Undead to make some Ghasts or Ghouls, or create undead spawn through your Summon Undead spells (followed by rebuking to control), as they all have moderately good Cha, Int, and Wis scores (and Mummys can be argued to keep class levels, as well, see the Notes page). Its tricky, and generally a high level option, but its better to rely on this than invest a lot of skill points in these, imo.

Skill Tricks

Complete Scoundrel introduced a lot of neat options w/ skills, but only a handful will really help you out. You can get a single Trick for 1000 gp via the Trickery Trinket, which takes no slots, but you can only benefit from one at a time (also CS). Never Outnumbered is particularly useful, as you could effect all the creatures that made their save against the Fear spell and/or aura pretty easily. It would be my first choice for tricks.

Second Impression can help a blown disguise. Great low-level, but you won't be using it at high level against anyone other than other PCs if you kept Disguise maxed.

Assume Quirk isn't that useful, imo: you generally are just trying to appear as

a "generic" creature, not a specific one; obviously its useful if thats not true and you are making a spying DN of some sort. I'd probably take this third, but its kind of campaign / ability specific.

False Theurgy is awesome (most NPCs don't care for Necromancy). It would be second choice for tricks.

Collector of Stories is decent; its better on Wizards, but most of the time gives a flat +5 to all your knowledge checks for a 2 skill investment. It would probably be tied for my third choice for tricks.

Swift Concentration seems great, right? Except that you only have Summon Swarm as a duration concentration spell, and you can't get this trick until 9th level, when you won't be using it. Maybe useful if you use UMD wands of Illusion, but it isn't that useful to everyone. I don't think its worth it.

Maneuver tricks are all great for Gish-types, but you won't get enough ranks to invest in these in most builds. Gish's will want the Nimble Charge trick, in particular. Dread Necromancer Feats

Your main abilities are making undead and using negative energy spells, and your feat choices should reflect this. Libris Mortis is a VERY important source book for you, and you should definitely have access to it if you want to make an effective Dread Necromancer. If your DM is using the taint system, tou have the ability to get bonus feats just for being undead (see the Notes page for more on taint)

Source Book Key: PHB: Player's Handbook PHB2: Players Handbook 2

LM: Libris Mortis Drac: Draconomicon RotD: Races of the Dragon CArc: Complete Arcane Cadv: Complete Adventurer CDiv: Complete Divine CWar: Complete Warrior CM: Complete Mage PGtF: Players' Guide to Faerun PBtEb: Player's Guide to Eberron

General Feats

Tomb-tainted Soul (LM): This is the standard 1st level DN choice, and for good reason: healing oneself for free with Charnel touch will be invaluable throughout your career (and Harm later is wicked good). However, if you are starting at or above 3rd level, spend the 3k gp and XP to become a Necropolitan instead. Even if you start with the feat, you may want to become a Necropolitan anyways, simply to get immunity to some of the fear effects (I hope your DM allows retraining or psychic reformation). *****+ if alive; completely redundant if you're undead.

Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration (PHB): You'll start wanting these starting around 9th level or so. You don't have access to Assay Resistance or anything like that, so the feats are the next best thing. By the time you'll take these, you'll have access to Black Tentacles and Insect Plague, which could render foes fairly immobile while the meaties hit it. If you invest in UMD, and get some +Cha items (Cloak of Charisma, Circlet of Persuasion), then you might be able to get around it w/ an Assay Resistance wand. If you have several items that increase caster level you might be able to avoid these, but all of your targeted spells allow Spell resistance. More important than spell focus at higher levels. ****

Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy (PHB): Great feat, affecting the majority of your spells. You may want it eventually, but it isn't critical to get early on. If you focus more on rays and spells without saves you can use your few feats elsewhere (enervate, black tentacles, etc). ****

Leadership and/or Undead Leadership (DMG/LM): Potentially the most broken feats in the game. Many DMs don't allow them at all, and many players avoid this simply due to the extra bookkeeping you have to do in order to have an extra character. If you are playing a DN, you already are dealing w/ a lot of extra minions, so it isn't quite as bad a choice from that aspect. Excellent for Evil Masterminds, and you can take both feats! Regular leadership works better as an initial feat if youre planning on getting both. Get a Crusader or Warblade with charging stances/maneuvers as a cohort if youre planning on having melee minions traveling with you at all times. Get an Artificer cohort if you just want someone to make items for you. Get a Cleric or Dread Necromancer Cohort, and Wizards, Sorcerers, and Dread Necromancers as followers (all with access to the spell Command Undead, if you just want to have the most absurdly huge undead army, ever. Note that a spellcasting Cohort with access to Magic Circle, and Dimensional Anchor will make it much easier to to use your Planar Binding spells. ****

Daunting Presence (LM): Great feat for those who like stacking fear effects. Long duration. Make sure you do this before they encounter your aura, because the feat wont escalate past shaken. No HD limit unlike Frightful Presence. ***

Frightful Presence (Drac) (not 'Awaken Frightful Presence'): A 30' fear aura that only affects enemies when you charge or attack, and its as powerful as your special abilities' DC's. Only affects enemies w/ equal or less HD, but its very good, particularly at the lowest levels when your melee abilities aren't too far behind the warrior's. (Iry brought this to my attention) ***

Shadow Magic (PGtF): Great spell for an easy +1 to most of your spells' DC's (only 2 transmutations on your spell list), and qualifies you for Shadow Adept. Not worth it, otherwise. ***

Extraordinary Spell Aim (CAdv): Pretty useful to keep your party from being affected by your own spells. I liked taking it a lot, but it isn't a critical feat. If you are playing as an undead creature and your allies have tomb-tainted soul you may not need to worry about being hit by your own spells. ***

Lifebond (LM): Pick your familiar, and you'll have +2 to all your saves and +4 turn resistance (you have to be undead and your familiar cannot be). You can also change the bond if the first creature dies. Considering your weak saves its not a bad option at all but I think its more of a filler feat than anything else, unless your DM uses enemy clerics against you. ***

Mastery of Day and Night (PGtEb p125): Allows you to maximize your inflict spells for free. This is a good low-level option for healing undead and/or yourself. It requires Maximize spell, which isn't a great feat at low level (and at higher level, you have harm). ***

Versatile Spellcaster (RotD): Turn your low level spell slots into higher level spells. Good for any spontaneous caster. ***

Necromantic Presence (LM): Good if you encounter a lot of enemy clerics with turning/rebuking. Despite what K's Necromancer Guide says, the benefit of this feat does negatively not affect HD control limits for rebuking as the benefit is granted after the turn attempt and turn resistance only applies during the attempt, not after. ***

Necromantic Might (LM): Decent feat if youve already got Necromantic presence. Good for army controllers, not as good as Corpsecrafter, but affects undead you control with rebuke or command undead. **

Improved Turn Resistance (LM): This isnt a bad feat for the Necropolitans if the DM is throwing a bunch of Clerics against you. Its kind of hard to fit in, though, and it isnt likely you will ever be controlled (unless your DM hates you). Take Lifebond instead (or both if your DM truly despises you, but you may want to find a new group at that point). **

Battlecaster (CArc): Good feat for melee builds. At the most it is a +3 armor bonus to AC (Mithril Full-plate is +8, Mithril Breastplate is +5). **

Mounted Combat, Ride-By-Attack, Spirited Charge (PHB): You don't have Ride on your class skill list, but still, you should have decent Dex, and riding undead is one of the easiest ways to get around the lack of transportation spells on your spell list. Make sure you can get the minimum Ride modifier so that you can use your mount as cover as a free action whenever you can (get a custom item if your DM allows it). Good for very specific builds. **

Master of Undeath (CM): DN's get more HD of controlled undead than anyone else. You don't need this feat in the long-run. However, if you combine this w/ Illumian Naenhoon and Fell Animate, you can get more undead earlier than any other character. * normally, **** in specific builds for low-level campaigns.

Master of Necromacy (PGtEb): When you kill something w/ a |death| spell, it rises as a ghost your next turn for CL rounds under your control. It only has in-class skill prereqs and makes a decent filler feat. You can take it as early as 9th, but your first offensive |death| spell, Death Knell, isn't usually very effective at working well. Slay Living at 5th is better at doing it (the best targets are Cha based casters). As far as I know, this is the only way to get a ghost besides rebuking w/ this class (ghosts are very useful). You can only have 1 at a time and it doesn't gain the bonuses from Undead Mastery et al. Mileage may vary with certain builds/concepts. **

Weapon Finesse (PHB): This is a nice alternative for delivering touch spells and the Charnel Touch abilities rather than always having Spectral Hand up, but its ultimately a wasted feat in later levels. I took it w/ one of my DN's, and retrained it as soon as I was able. *

Dragon Feats

You have to be Dragonblooded or a Dragon to take these. They are not very useful, but Dragonwrought, while cheesy, can grant you several benefits.

Practical Metamagic (RotD): Great effect for some seriously metamagic dependent DNs. Reducing Empower to a 1 level adjustment is pretty good for spells like enervate, but there arent many direct damage spells on your spell list. Fell Frighten may make it worthwhile. Great with Chain Spell. ***

Dragonwrought (RotD): If you must play a Kobold, this feat, as has been pointed out in a lot of threads, is awesome for casters. You play a Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold and get +3 to all your mental stats. Considering how important save DCs are for the DN, this may make it worthwhile just to play a Kobold (and its funny: you could play Master Blaster and ride around on your undead ogres starting at very low level). You can't become a Necropolitan or a Lich if you take this feat. Make sure your DM allows PCs to be "older than dirt" for their race. ***

Accelerate Metamagic (RotD): Almost exactly like Rapid Metamagic (below). ***

Dragon Wings (RotD): A great feat for gliding and jumping, and an opening feat for gaining flight without spells. Unfortunately, you don't need to be jumping most of the time and there's little point to gliding (get a zombie with wings). Basis for true flight combined with the next feat. *

Improved Dragon Wings (RotD): You can fly decently, but not as good as wings of flying. If you're somehow undead and can retain your dragonblood subtype you can ignore the fatigue drawback (which is only a problem before 12th level). If you've come this far with the draconic aspect, you may as well get the flight, but again a flying zombie or flying skeleton (eg: nightmare) is typically as good or better. **

Reserve Feats

I couldn't find too many good Reserve Feats that would help out a DN too

much, which is a pity. Here's some that looked sort of interesting to me:

Sickening Grasp (CM): Again, stacking multiple touch spells with negative effects is really cool. By 6th level, you probably should be focusing on nonmelee options, though. **

Acidic Splatter (CM): You have acid fog, and not too many direct damage effects. The fact that this allows you to have a default attack with no save may make it ok. I was almost tempted to try it out. *

Summon Elemental (CM): It won't improve much, but a small elemental is kind of neat. You'll have plenty of pets, already, though. Probably not worth a feat slot. *

Corpsecrafting

Creating undead is a major function of the class. You need to decide if you'll be an overt necromancer during character creation, but if you are, then the Corpsecrafter feats from Libris Mortis can make your undead creatures considerably more effective.

Corpsecrafter (LM): This will not stack with Undead Mastery, except for the 2 HP/HD, for 4 extra HP/HD total (effectively +8 Con). The other Corpsecrafting feats are nice, but you have to get this feat first. A generous DM might allow Undead Mastery to count as the prereq for these, and this feat isn't horrible if you know the campaign will end before getting full use of Undead Mastery. (this was changed after paulung pointed this out) ***

Destruction Retribution (LM): If you want to melee, this feat is fun. If not, well, you aren't going to be next to the undead when they pop so much, and you could always animate hordes of suicide bomber kobold/cat skeletons that your blasting buddy sends fireballs into. Early on with early fell animate tricks you can get zombie cat bombs pretty easily. This can be problematic if you

have living melee allies***

Nimble Bones (LM): This is a nice effect to stack w/ Undead Mastery, for +6 to Initiative, but make sure to give standing orders to your mindless undead to attack ahead of time, or all that bonus may not mean squat. Bonus speed is always good, especially if you're using them as mounts. **

Deadly Chill (LM): More damage from undead is great, but generally not worth 2 feats, plus, as K pointed out, cold energy resistance 5 ruins it. Obviously this is beneficial on creatures with many attacks, such as zombie hydras. Not usually worth a feat slot. **

Bolster Resistance (LM): This feat grants the same benefit as Necromantic Presence (above), but only to created undead and it doesnt have a range on it. Id only take it if you were planning on getting all of the corpsecrafter feats for flavor purposes and I would still recommend Necromantic Presence first. *

Hardened Flesh (LM): Gives your undead some natural armor. As good as giving them all leather armor, but stacks with armor. Considering the cheapness of armor vs the cost of a feat, this is a truly poor choice except for flavor reasons, especially since, depending on how your DM reads it, it may not stack with the natural armor that most of your undead will already have. * Conclusions: Corpsecrafter is worth taking, and probably Destructive Retribution and (maybe) Nimble Bones, but you better be focused on animation if you do this. Hardened Flesh (+2 Natural Armor) is sub-optimal and youd be better taking Necromantic Presence over Bolster Resistance.

Feats for additional spells known

A major flaw with the DN is its extremely limited spell list. These all help with that but make sure you read every spell that is added before blindly taking these feats: you may not be getting that much out of it. Of these three,

Corrupt Arcana is definitely the most powerful, provided you have access to the Book fo Vile Darkness, but none of these are really essential to making a great DN.

Arcane Disciple (CDiv): Nine more spells added to your spell list, but you need to have a decent Wis to be able to use them all or have a decent save. Suggested Domains: Competition (buffs galore), Craft (Wall of Stone, forcecage), Envy (Wish), Evil (Descrate, Magic circle), Luck (Miracle), Mysticism (buffs, better than Competition mostly), Portal (Teleport, Dimensional Anchor, Gate, Etherealness) , Spell ( Disjunction, Limited Wish, Antimagic Field, Anyspell, you dont have domain slots for Anyspell so ask your DM before taking it), Time (Haste, Freedom of Movement, Contingency, Time Stop and Foresight as an 8th level spell), Travel (Fly, Teleport, Greater Teleport, Astral Projection, Portal domain may be better), Trickery (Polymorph Object, Timestop). Other domains may be better for certain concepts, but remember to try pick domains with little/no spells with saves, so that you can avoid multi-attribute dependency. Also remember that your alignment needs to match that of your deity, and that a deity with the domain you want needs to actually exist in your campaign. No Arcane Disciples of an ideal. You need your wisdom to be 19 to get full benefit of this feat, so an initial wisdom of 13 with a +6 item will cover you if you arent concerned with the saves. ****

Corrupt Arcana (HoH, but need BoVD): It seems this feat was intended to allow the BoVD corrupt spells, some of which are really, really powerful (Evil Weather, for example). This feat is great to use if you are a Necropolitan (undead are immune to ability damage and drain). You could do it as a nonundead with Tomb-tainted Soul if you had Harm available, just harm yourself after the duration has expired. This adds up to 23 spells that you prepare ahead of time, some of which add a good amount of versatility. You need to pay a Wizard to write a spellbook of them, and then you cast read magic on them, then you need a decent Spellcraft check to prepare the spells. ** if living to **** if undead. Note that some DMs may rule the ability damage or drain to be a cost rather then a byproduct of casting the spells, and thus not allow undead casters to use them. Check in advance.

Mother Cyst (LM): Nine spells added to your spell list, that all need a touch attack and a 2nd level spell to even start. Meh. The effects aren't great. If you are that desperate for more spells per level, then you probably should be playing another class. Some people like this one, though, very flavorful. Can be useful for a Dread Necromancer running an undead spy ring. ***

Divine Feats

Turning itself becomes tougher to do as you increase in level, simply due to the stupid "you don't know what CR means" problem that Polymorph and Wildshape also suffer from. These feats give you something else to do with those turning attempts, but I don't think they're particularly great. DNs that want to focus on melee beyond 3rd level should take a serious look into these.

Profane Lifeleech (LM): Another great low-level feat, but weaker past 4th or so. ***

Quicken Turning (CDiv): A decent feat if you find yourself encountering a lot of undead. You turn first, then command / control those that are left. ***

Divine Vigor (CWar): A better general feat, but you'll be able to heal through your spells so not worth it. Stacks with itself for cumulative bonus to speed and hit points. Speed bonus stacks with enhancement items. It would be better to take arcane disciple (Competition/Mysticism) to get buffed up, but this is a use for unneeded turn attempts. **

Divine Might (CWar): A melee DN could get some utility out of this. I don't like the idea, though. *

Divine Metamagic (CDiv): Pre-errata, this feat would be really useful. Posterrata, this feat no longer works on Arcane spells (no official stars vs *** nonofficial on a metamagic build)

Metamagic Feats

I love Metamagic on all my casters. I've also played DN's w/ many of the ones below that I've ranked. Its whats worked for me; your experience may vary. There's a lot of threads dedicated to metamagics, but these are a few choices that I looked into (and took).

Maximize Spell (PHB): Maximized Enervations and Shivering Touches are awesome^2. Thats all there is too it. The problem here is that you don't have a ton of variable-effect spells. About as useful as Chain Spell, overall. ****

Chain Spell (CArc): Its expensive, but there's little more satisfying then nailing a bunch of weak fort save monsters with chained Ray of Enfeeblements. I love it, but its not considered a very efficient feat; still, the number of no-save spells on the list make it more attractive. edit: There's some debate about whether or not 'Reach Spell' makes it able to be used on your touch spells w/ Chain spell. I call shenanigens on the debate, personally: if its ranged and has a single target, then it should be chainable. ****

Empower Spell (PHB): Empower is almost always better than maximize on inflict spells. ****

Practical Metamagic (RotD): An excellent feat for maximize, empower, and chain, decent on a few others. ***

Fell Animate (LM): Good feat to pick to get around the pesky Animate Dead spell. The best use is to use it with Chill Touch: then you go around poking creatures that are down until they rise from the grave. Still, I don't think its as significant as when other casters use it. If your DM allows Divine Metamagic on arcane spells, or if you are an Illumian, you can use this for zombies at low levels.). ***

Fell Frighten (LM): This spell is an exception to the other Fell spells. If you use it in conjunction with your fear aura, you can usually get your enemies to the frightened state automatically with low-level spells. If you can take a beating (as in, you're a Necropolitan), then cast it on Chill Touch and run around

haphazardly getting w/in 5' of enemies for a few rounds in a row and watch them run away. ***

Heighten Spell (PHB): I love this spell on spontaneous casters, just to boost DCs. It isnt overly good, though. ***

Metamagic Spell Trigger (CM): Useful to just about any caster. Lets you compensate for your very limited spell list. Patience will net you the same effect this feat gives. ***

Rapid Metamagic: (CM) I love metamagic feats, so I naturally think this is great. You need 2 metamagics to make it worthwhile, I think. ***

Residual Magic: (CM) This is a great feat. Take it on all spontaneous casters, I say (among others). I think you need 2 metamagics to make it worthwhile. ***

Smiting Spell (PHB2): Apply a touch spell to a weapon, then attack w/ that weapon w/in 1 minute. The effect of the spell is applied to the target. Slay Living, Ghoul Touch, Harm, etc. Use w/ alchemical weapons if you don't go for a full-ranged attack build. Also only a +1 level adjustment. *** (its about as good as reach spell, I think)

Reach Spell (CDiv): You have Spectral Hand on your spell list. Only useful to turn a touch spell into a viable chain spell candidate (or, in an emergency, to slap out a touch spell when you don't have time to cast spectral hand). I took it, but you probably shouldn't. **

Fell Drain, Fell Weaken (LM): Its a lot of duplicated effects to your spell list, and you actually need to damage the creature for it to work. Not really that necessary for a DN. **

Monstrous feats

If youre playing as an undead creature you open up a few feats to which a living dread necromancer with tomb-tainted soul does not have access. Some of these are good.

Death Master (LM): Score a crit and scare your foe. Good on melee builds that have high-crit weapons. If theyre in your aura and already shaken when you score a crit theyre automatically frightened. No HD limit! No save! ***

Eviscerator (LM): For the truly fear-inspiring melee Dread Necro, this is better than death master and still has no save. Feat intensive, but better results than Frightful Presence. Also if you have multiple attacks and crit on all of them in one round everyone in 30' is very scared of you with no save. No HD limit! No save! **

Lifesense (LM): Free daylight from living creatures and nothing alive can hide from you! You know when invisible living creatures are around because they light up the area, you can see light shining from behind that wall because there is a living creature there. **

Item Creation feats

You have a limited spell list, so crafting probably wont be very useful to you. You get Craft Wonderous Item at 19th, which is nice, and you probably wouldnt have taken it otherwise (simply due to your limited list). Spell trigger items feel better than the others (Craft Wand, Staff, Scribe Scroll), but I have yet to take any of these. You could just have the feat and get another caster to produce the spell, but its party specific, and most players like to be more self-sufficient anyways, and if you were going to use this strategy then generic wizard crafting advice applies. There is one noteworthy exception, though.

Craft Contingent Spell (CAr): This feat is great since you don't have Contingent Spell. I like putting in Mind Jar for when I get reduced to less than 1/4th my HP, but Harm works, too, and a contingent command undead anytime you encounter another undead is neat, as well. Arcane Disciple (Time) can grant contingency as well as many other good spells. **** Dread Necromancer Spells

Almost all of your spells come from the Necromancy and Conjuration schools (Conjurations through the Summon Undead chain). Spell Focus: Necromancy is great throughout all levels.

Your spell saves are the two best in the game: most are Fortitude, and quite a few are Will. Your Fort saves are debuffs and straight-up killers when you get to higher levels, and Will saves are either inflict spells or fear effects. Between the two, you can target the weakest saves of everything short of Monks and Dragons. You'll go a long way to being effective simply by knowing your spells well, and recognizing what spells will work against what enemies (if it looks like it has low con, hit it w/ a fort save spell; if it looks like its meaty, hit it w/ a will save spell, or hit either w/ no save spells, of course).

You have limited crowd control spells. You have three big spells for it: Black Tentacles (which is great against low Str types), Fear (great against the meat), and Acid Fog (Solid Fog + acid damage). Early on you can use Cause Fear and Ghoul Touch, both of which kind of suck. Summon Undead 5 can get you a Mummy, that has a mediocre fear aura that could be useful for meaty types (summon Vampire Spawn for the squishies).

You have several specialty anti-undead spells: you need to control all undead you see. Rebuking isn't that effective, since you can only control undead less than half your level in HD (you'll never fight those weaklings unless you're looking for them); use Command Undead and Control Undead instead.

You are a master of creating undead, from Summon Undead spells at low levels to Animate Dead and the Create Undead line of spells later on. Know your summons well: ghasts may be horrible creatures to create, but they aren't bad to summon. As far as animating, an extremely effective strategy is

to animate the biggest, strongest thing you kill and have them lead the party. It can get expensive, due to onyx costs, but there are tricks to getting around that.

You have a ton of spells per day. You could cast every round and probably never run out after the first 3 levels or so. Do this.

Advanced Learning it appears still gets advanced if you take a prestige class that advanced spellcasting. I don't believe this is what the designers intended, but RAW it seems to work. This is a highly contentious point, though. Make sure you check with your DM to avoid arguments later.

Source Key PHB: Player's Handbook PHB2: Player's Handbook 2 SpC: Spell Compendium LM: Libris Mortis HoH: Heroes of Horror FB: Frostburn PlH: Planar Handbook CoR: Champions of Ruin CM: Complete Mage StW: Stormwrack UE: Unapproachable East

Specific Spells Chill Touch (PHB): This is a good spell until you get 2nd level spells. You get one use per level up to 5th, and its not limited to once per round. That might

be hard to abuse at the levels where its good, but if you have natural attacks as well (for example, from being a Kobold), then you can add the effects to those attacks.

Spectral Hand (PHB): a ton of your spells and effects are range: touch. If you have a buff round, this is your buff. You can also use all your Charnel Touch abilities through this spell, stacking some pretty decent results at mid levels.

Command Undead (PHB): Woe be it to any DM that throws mindless undead at you after you gain access to 2nd level spells. This spell is a Charm Monster spell that lasts for days on intelligent undead, and is a days long, no save Dominate on mindless undead, with no regard for CR or HD or anything. Even after the DM learns that any mindless undead that come after you will just join you instead, this spell is still increadibly useful for expanding your army of the undead. You can only control 4+cha x level HD of undead via Animate undead. Now that's a lot of undead, but after you reach that maximum you can animate another skeleton or zombie of the maximum HD you can create, let it go uncontrolled, and just cast command undead on it once ever caster level number of days. At 8th level, when you can first cast Animate Dead, dedicating only two second level spell slots to this per day lets you control an additional 16 skeletons or zombies. And since it doesn't care about HD, they can each be 16 HD undead, the maximum you can animate. So now, dedicating only two spell slots per day, you have increased your undead army by potentially 256 hit dice. Obviously the higher level you are, and the more 2nd or higher level spell slots you devote to this, the more ridiculous it gets. Now, even the regular Animate Dead limits are usually too much for a normal campaign, but in a campaign that revolves around gathering and leading armies, this trick is quite useful.

Animate Dead (PHB): When you get this, you have a spectrum to pick from. At one end you can animate the biggest, baddest monsters you encounter, making a veritable brute squad to soak up damage like no other, and at the other end you're animating tons of weak skeletons and equiping them with ranged weapons. Either way, if you rely on this a lot, the other PCs will start to fade in importance. What I recommend is that you animate fewer big bruisers, and give them standing orders to follow the other PCs commands unless you override them, divided equally among the other PCs. This will help to prevent the glory-vacuum that killing every single creature singlehandedly would bring you, and makes it more akin to creating items for the party. Some DMs may rule that such orders are too complex for skellies and

zombies, so be sure to check in advance. This is a great spell to add to a Spellstiched undead. About half of K's handbook covers this spell in detail, so definitely check it out.

Plague of Undead (HoH/SpC): Once you gain access to 9th level spells, the component cost of making skeletons and zombies is no longer an issue. This spell works exactly like Animate Dead, only the cost is 100gp per casting, not 25gp per HD created. As of the Spell Compendium it even explicitly uses the same control limit as Animate Dead, so you don't lose your extra control pool from 'Undead Mastery'. Oh, and you can animate more at a time. Oh, and you can do it as a standard action at short range. Oh, and all the skeletons and zombies created have maximum hit points per hit die. Yeah. This spell is awesome.

Fear (PHB): This spell is freakin' sweet. Use it at the start of every combat, and it'll make your entire career easier. Even if they make the save, they're still shaken, so you can use your remaining move action to run up to them to say "hi" with your fear aura and make them save again, or run away.

Acid Fog (PHB): Acid Fog reduces movement to 5' as Solid Fog, no save. This is the bread and butter winner for crowd control in tight quarters. Its saved me on several occasions.

Cloudkill, Circle of Death, Phantasmal Killer: All are pretty weak by the time you acquire them. Unless you find yourself fighting a lot of underpowered monsters, you won't be relying on these. PK allows two saves, making it only effective against rogues and such. If you want to go the way of super-villain, though, nothing is more fitting than casting Cloudkill from the outskirts of a village on a windless night and watching slowly kill everything in its path (10' / round, and 1 min / level, for 100' X 40' of death is sick).

Greater Harm (HoH): Why, oh why did they make this do d12 damage per level instead of a flat 10 damage per level as harm does? Weak, to the point it might be a typo.

Planar Binding, Lesser Planar Binding (PHB): The geniuses forgot to add Magic

Circles to the spell list. You have to cast those spells, too. Sadly, we're long past the hope of any sort of errata or official statement about this one. Your DM might allow Unhallow's Magic Circle effect to count, but that doesn't work RAW. Also, you don't have Dimensional Anchor, either, making some choices simply not work (a Leonal or Ghaele is a good core choice). So, basically, you'll need an ally or cohort or hireling to provide Magic Circle and probably Dimensional Anchor to use these as intended. But, as K pointed out, you could just use this spell to summon outsiders into deathtraps for the purpose of acquiring decent corpses to animate.

Geas/Quest (PHB): This spell is lame, but a useful combo might be to cast it on a formerly disabled creature (say, from Shivering Touch). Then capture in a cage and start your spell. Most popular use: "bring me black onyx!"

Magic Jar: A ridiculously powerful spell. Keep in mind that it is not a mindaffecting spell, so you can Mind Jar your own undead and command them to fail their save. This becomes a powerful buff and utility spell, and also gets you the benefits of being undead in a campaign without access to Libris Mortis (and thus without the Necropolitan template or the Tomb Tainted Soul feat). If you wish to use it offensively, stuff your body in a portable hole, bag, or some such, and have your familiar carry the gem focus while invisible and flying into enemy territory looking for strong life signs. If your target makes its Will save, it'll automatically make any further saves (but not Spell Resistance), so an effective strategy is to either command your own undead to fail it, or debuff the opponent with multiple Allips to reduce the Wis score to 0 and / or crushing despair. Its a great high level strategy for when you start encountering creatures w/ HD greater than you can turn into skeletons and zombies. Drop any dragon with a maximized Shivering Touch, eat its wisdom with summoned Allips, and Magic Jar it for the win. I like using this spell for practical jokes, too.

Create Undead, Create Greater Undead (PHB): Libris Mortis p111-112 shows the mummified template as keeping all class abilities, skills, etc. and seems to be intended to replace the Mummy (p 112 keeps talking about Mummys and Mummification, not the Mummified Creature template, for example). If you DM reads it the same way, start killing powerful crafting wizards to start making tons of equipment free of charge, Rogues for uber-trap awareness, Clerics for obvious reasons, and other types to fill out your undead party. They also appear, RAW, to retain the ability to keep gaining levels. Otherwise, the Create Undead chain is of only limited usefulness, since you don't

automatically gain control of the creatures produced.

Speak with Dead (PHB): While obviously not a useful combat spell, speak with dead can be very useful to have for information gathering, especially given your general lack of divination spells (unless, of course, you PrC'd into Divine Oracle). Use after encounters on enemies you killed, especially ones that seemed to have some authority, to get an idea of the layout of a dungeon and the capabilities of other enemies that you might encounter. Even more potential for intrigue games, obviously. It may not be useful all the time, just don't forget that it's on your spell list.

A note on Desecrate: You don't have access to this spell by default, and you'll have a tough time getting this spell on your spell list, unless you pick Arcane Disciple: Evil or Undeath domain. A relatively cheap item gives the HP bonus of a Desecrate w/ an alter, though. Get the Deadwalker's ring from CM for 4k gp. The bonus from Turn Resistance is situational, at best. At high level a Darkskull gets you the full Desecrate effect.

Several of the spells on the spell list are better NPC spells than PC spells, obviously, but be creative and post more!

Advanced Knowledge Suggestions

You get to choose 5 spells to add to your spell list: a 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th that must be necromancy spells from the cleric or wizard lists. The selections are permanent, so you should be thinking long-term with them. Here's my suggestions that worked for me:

L2: Lesser Shivering Touch (FB), from K: d6 Dex damage is great, but it isn't a great choice due to the next spell.

L2: Kelgore's Grave Mist (PHB2): One of the earliest no save AoE damage necro spells. I didn't pick it, simply b/c I didn't check all my books, but this

spell is pretty awesome for its level (d6 cold damage per round = meet my skeleton buddies, + fatigue, awesome range, decent duration).

L2: Rigor Mortis (HoH): Very powerful paralyzation spell; it could be considered the lowest level save-or-die. It affects anything with Wis>0 or Wis=0 too. (Which is most everything that moves, and isn't immune to paralyzation)

L3: Shivering Touch (FB) (from K): The dragon killer. 3d6 Dex damage w/ no save is nothing to sneeze at. No other spell can do this on the list. If you're DM is a stickler for enforcing specific material components, you might have some trouble keeping snow around. Of course, if your DM is a stickler for that stuff then the Eschew Materials feat might be worth it just to avoid the hassle, anyway.

L3: Undead Leutennant (SpC): Grant one of your undead the ability to direct the others, and controll an extra caster level's worth of undead via Animate Dead. If you're playing the Undead Master in a military campaign, you could do worse.

L4: Evil Glare (PlH): Will save, paralyzes opponents, once per round for a while, and RAW, it doesn't appear to take an action to use on rounds afterwards. Not a horrid choice, but not as good as Shivering Touch, imo.

L4: Negative Energy Aura (PlH): 10' radius, 2 points of negative energy damage, no save, no SR, and some duration. Not bad. Not great, either.

L5: Spirit Wall (SpC): A weaker choice, but at this level the necro spells start duplicating a lot of what you can already do. The fear effect is very powerful.

L5: Necrotic Skull Bomb (CoR): Fireball that does negative level damage. Good Fort AoE, and better than Cloudkill (the main other AoE Fort at this level).

L5: Ghoul Gauntlet (SpC): This spell isn't as bad as it used to be, but RAW, you still lose the extra undead you'd gain from Undead Mastery and your Cha bonus. If you can get your DM to rule that the HD limit should be your normal limit, then its a decent spell.

L5: Touch of Vecna (CM): Potential permanent paralysis. Neat, but you probably have enough fort save stuff by now.

L5: Opalacent Glare (PlH): Fear on crack. Kills evil < 5 HD (which won't be useful). Saves and SR applies, still.

L5: Haunt Shift (LM): You can pull off some neat tricks with this. Haunt shift yourself into a specially made adamantine body with 20 hardness. Haunt shift your undead into your stuff, haunt shift undead into gifts for others as part of an undead spy network, etc.

L6: Revive Undead (SpC): If you are a Necropolitan or Lich, use this, and Craft Contingent Spell. You can now rez yourself. In theory, you can use this to bring yourself back as a Lich, even if your phylactery is destroyed. Also nice to bring back your favorite minions, especially one you spent a ton on spell stiching. (thx, bonsai) This is a better candidate to give to a Spell-stiched Undead in the event of your death.

L6: Aura of Terror (SpC): Seems to be a great boost to the fear aura, increasing the radius, DC, and effect. Great for Melee DN's. It only affects creatures of lower HD than yourself, though, making it a little weaker, and it doesn't improve your fear aura, RAW. EDIT: According to Custserve, it actually just increases your fear radius, which is awesome! (thx, proto)

L6: Blackwater Taint (StW): This grants you Desecrate, gives d6/2 level damage, a negative level, and heals undead by the same in a 20' radius for 1 round/level, but you have to cast it in water. (from Iry)

L7: Avasculate (SpC, LM): automatically halves a living creature's hp. The

bigger the creature, the more potent it becomes. No saves for that effect either. Also stuns a round if they save. (thx, bonsai) (jwo note: Don't forget you have Harm on the list, which does 1/2 damage on a successful save, and is Will instead; remember, you don't want to duplicate too many effects already on the list.)

L7: Awaken Undead (SpC): Its an AoE, so crowd as many undead into a tight fit as you can - this makes it a good candidate for Widen Spell (rent a metamagic wand from the local mage guild). You still retain control, but they regain all their armor proficiencies and such (but not levels). The XP cost is minor compared to the stunts you might be able to pull w/ this. Don't use it it undead you're controlling with Command Undead

L7: Pact of Return (HoH): Its an auto-ressurect. Simple as that. I prefer Spellstiched Revive Undead for this function, but this is good, too.

L8: Bestow Curse, Greater (SpC): Reducing an ability to 1 is about as good as it gets for debuffs. Add some ability damage to that and you've broken them. Few other spells on the list can duplicate these effects; there is some overlap with Shivering Touch if you pick that, though. This is definitely better for DMs than DNs, but it still looks very useful to me.

L8: Touch of the Graveborn (CM): 1 touch attack per 3 levels that does 10d6 damage per touch, and not limited to once per round??? AND ability damage if they currently have a negative level? AND Undead are affected by Control Undead? Uhm, wow. That's 5 attacks total w/ 2 attacks per round (unless you have a natural attack, too) by the time you get this (or, 20d6 per round, almost guaranteed). Couple w/ Spectral Hand. No save on the primary damage effect.

L8: Bodak's Glare (PlH): Only way to guarantee you'll get a Bodak, which is a pretty decent undead, and a very cheap method of getting an army (via Command Undead and rebuking). Considering the lack of many really useful L8 spells, this may be a great choice.

L9: Astral Projction (PHB): The 9th level spell shouldn't duplicate any other

choices. I think having at least one transportation spell on the list is important. The spell is also a one-component cloning machine: there's nothing that says you can't return to the material plane without ending the spell, thus you get a corporeal body made out of the material plane and a lifeless body that you need to defend. If the active body dies, you return to the first. You could repeat ad nauseum, but expect a couple of books being thrown at you across the gaming table.

If you invest in Use Magic Device

As a Cha-based caster your Charisma is going to be sky high. Even taking it Cross-Class, UMD will allow you to reliably use most wands and scrolls you come across by mid to late levels. If you have reliable access to magic items of your choosing (say, an artificer in the party, or a crafting mage cohort, or access to a city with a DM that actually uses the purchase limit rules), then this can open up a lot of options for you, impacting your choices for Advanced Learning, feats, and more. Some useful wands and scrolls to consider include:

Wand of Assay Spell Resistance (SpC): The vast majority of your directly offensive spells allow spell resistance. Generic Dread Necromancer builds take both the Spell Penetration feats in an attempt to mitigate this. Keeping a wand or two of Assay Spell Resistance on hand, provided you have the UMD check necessary to use it reliably, is more effective and saves you two feats. What's not to love? This item is worth investing in UMD on its own.

Wand of Maximized Magic Missle (PHB): Sometimes you just want a simple spell to deal damage to some mooks. No hit rolls, no saves, no effects, just some damage. Hard to go wrong with this guy.

Scrolls of Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor (PHB): Solve your Planar Binding problems without having to hire npcs or rely on other party members to do it for you.

Scrolls of Teleportation Circle (PHB): The arcane caster is expected to provide

transportation for the party at some point. Using scrolls to do so isn't the most efficient, but it's not that costly, and is certainly a faster way to travel then by flying zombie.

Scrolls of Water Breathing, Fly, Knock, Speak Language, etc. (PHB): As with Teleportation Circle, there are a number of basic utility spells that Arcane Casters are frequently expected to have access to, even if they aren't used regularly. A few scrolls and a good UMD check lets you fill your role better.

Wand of Desecrate (PHB): Depending on how often you find yourself casting Animate Dead, a single wand of Desecrate may last you your entire career, and is certainly cheaper then the Ring which mimics its effect. Like Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor, this lets you fill a hole in your spell list without resorting to outside aid.

Scrolls of Revive Undead and Awaken Undead (SpC): These spells are so useful for Dread Necromancers that many opt to spend Advanced Learning slots on them. But with their expensive material and XP costs, they aren't spells that you'll want to use all that frequently. Grabbing them in scroll form lets you dedicate your Advanced Learning slots to spells that you'll want to use on a daily basis.

If you can take Eclectic Learning

Another possible option is talking with your DM and seeing they will allow you to use the Eclectic Learning optional class feature for Warmages (PHB II, page 67). If you go this route, you'll be able to choose spells from any school of magic, but at 1 level lower than the highest level you can cast (meaning your choice of a 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th level non-necromancy spell depending on when you take it). The beauty part of this feature is that you can make the choice between advanced learning or eclectic learning on a level-by-level basis, allowing you to adapt on the fly.

If your DM allows you to go this route, then it's well worth taking Brilliant Aura (SpC) as a 7th level spell at 16th level. It's useful for you in two ways: if cast on your undead servants, all their weapons (including natural weapons)

become brilliant energy weapons, allowing them to ignore armor. But the real beauty of this spell is that if you cast it on an opponent, and they fail their will save, all the weapons they carry will become brilliant energy weapons for 1 round/level, rendering them useless against your minions and yourself (provided you're undead.

Otherwise, use eclectic learning to pick up some of the basic arcanist functions (travel spells, divination spells, etc) that your base spell list lacks.

Spellstiched Spell Selections

You can get up to 6th level spells, that must be Necromancy, Conjuration, and Evocation. Its slightly unclear, but it seems the save DC's are based on Wis, which is normally a dump stat. Pick a suitably hearty undead you control, or your familiar, and get to work. You need Craft Wonderous Items to do it, but using the XP transfer supplement (PHB2 Web Enhancement), you could probably pay an arcanist to do it. Its so expensive to create spellstiched, that I'd bet money that the designers intended it to cost 500 xp per point of Wis bonus instead. The most they'll be able to use these abilities is 3/day, and you have to decide which abilities can be used how often, splitting up uses. Also, you'll only have 2/level, and 1 6th level spell available, so choose wisely.

It's worth noting that the description for Spellstitched template says it can only be applied by a 'Sorcerer or Wizard' with the Craft Wonderous Item feat, not just any arcane caster. I've never known a DM who restricted it that way, but it's worth checking with your DM to be sure before assume you can use this.

Obvious choices include any spells with XP or expensive material component costs, and spells not on your spell list.

L1: Unseen Servant, Floating Disk (PHB): Both great utility spells that you may want.

L1: Grease (PHB): Despite the low saves, the 1/2 movement might be useful.

L1: Blood Wind (SpC): Since the target of the spell stiched will likely be a ghoul or ghast, using their natural weapons at range is great. Using the right choice of undead could make this really, really powerful.

L2: Glitterdust (PHB): A great team benefit spell.

L2: Command Undead (PHB): No save for non-intelligent undead = awesome. This spell could make subsquads for dealing w/ strategic and/or massive battles. Its also a great way to have backup buddies.

L2: Scorching Ray: Meh, despite the power of this spell, it just isn't that great w/o metamagics and high CL.

L2: Create Magic Tatoo (SpC): Some really nice effects can be generated from this, but make sure to buy the undead some MW tools so they can make the craft check by taking 10.

L3: Sleet Storm (PHB): Again, no saves = great. This spell is like grease on steroids, though.

L3: Undead Lietenant (SpC): This could be useful if you anticipate a massive battle coming up.

L4: Animate Dead (PHB): Great for generating massive hordes of weak zombies on the cheap, but not as effective as making them yourself.

L4: Solid Fog (PHB): A solid choice (all puns intended). No save = good.

L4: Orb of Any (SpC): No save ranged touch spells are good direct damage spells.

L5: Teleport (PHB): Yes, you want this.

L5: Symbol of Pain (PHB): Normally very expensive to use, this makes the spell much more usable. Have them cast it on a banner that you have on a standard being carried by your undead, w/ your allies being immune. Even w/ the low save, this is a great choice.

L5: Major Creation (PHB): The number of uses makes this worthwhile.

L5: Magic Jar (PHB): This is mainly to protect your investment. You give the undead this ability, then have him Mind Jar a Warhorse, and keep the body in a well defended container that it carries around with it. I'm not sure how the interactions work when you don't need a focus, though... I believe RAW, that you end up being destroyed the minute its cast. Easily assumed that you could use a gem. Check with your DM in advance.

L5: Call Zelakut (SpC): Avoid the XP cost, and call tons to do whatever you want.

L6: Revive Undead (SpC): No need for Craft Contingent Spell, you just have an undead use this when you drop. Best reason to Spellstich an Undead, imo.

L6: Create Undead (PHB): Its not a great spell, but keeping your material costs down is a good idea.

L6: Acid Fog (PHB): See Solid Fog above. You have this spell on your spell list, though, so I don't think its worth taking.

L6: Animate Dread Warrior (UE): XP costs that you can avoid if you spell-stich this one. Not limited by the normal HD limit of your undead. K pointed this one out in his handbook

L6: Blackwater Taint (StW): See in the Advanced Learning section above. Wicked powerful, if you get rid of the XP cost. (from Iry) Dread Necromancer Prestige Classes

You dont want to stay in the Dread Necromancer class? Why? Perhaps you want to add cheese to it, maybe you want to be able to melee a bit better, maybe you want to cast divine spells too (why?), maybe you want to really confuse your allies by taking a few levels of Druid. Who knows, but Dread Necro can be taken all the way to 20th w/o hamstringing yourself; the extra abilities arent bad, and Lich Transformation is cool. Some DMs don't have advanced learning progress with PrC spellcasting, which is another reason to consider staying. But if you do want to branch out, here's some ideas.

Good Drop Points 1st: You got rebuke undead. Combine w/ a level of Cleric for both Turn and Rebuke, if youre Neutral (this is a Caelic idea).

2nd: You get DR 2, which is great, +1 BAB, and better saves.

6th: Fear Aura is king for melee, plus Vampiric Touch.

8th: (Ks dropout choice): You are an undead army monster, get the equivalent of Corpsecrafter plus, animate, dispel, fear, and black tentacles.

Other levels: you are reaching the point of diminishing returns past 8th, but

thats not necessarily a reason to drop out of the class on its own.

Good Prestige Classes to get into

Any full-casting prestige class you can reasonably qualify for is a good option. Greater than 1/2 casting progression but less than full should be considered only if its a really useful PrC. 1/2 Progressions should only be considered if the BAB is substantial as well. Non-casting PrC's should be ignored unless they're full BAB and have LOTS of cool abilities. This is just for power; if you have an interesting concept, then by all means go for it! As usual, Incanatrix is a really good PrC to take w/ lots of power, but more exotic (and, imo, more flavorful) PrCs could round out a character as well.

Source Key HoH: Heroes of Horror PGtF: Player's Guide to Faerun FR:FaP: Forgotten Realms Faiths & Pantheons RoEB: Races of Eberron MoEb: Magic of Eberron CM: Complete Mage CS: Complete Scoundrel CArc: Complete Arcane CAdv: Complete Adventurer DMG: Dungeon Master's Guide LM: Libris Mortis SS: Sandstorm ToM: Tome of Magic

Full-casting PrC Tainted Scholar (HoH): Do your DM a favor, and don't play w/ this class unless the whole campaign is already broken. You'll get increasingly powerful DC's on your spells without any negative side effect if you're undead. Just don't be tempted this far to take it. It also requires your campaign to be playing with the rules for taint, which is uncommon in itself.

Incanatrix (PGtF): Give up Transmutation (you have 2 spells from this school). Always powerful, and the extra metamagic feats could be used to get things like Twin and a few of the Fell feats, to get Twinned Enervations and such. Be aware that the errata has changed sudden metamagic such that you can't boost it past a level that you couldn't cast.

Shadow Adept (PGtF): Usually used for Shadowcraft Mages, all the benefits of the first 2 levels apply to Necromancy as well. It's an excellent PrC for dipping, but full progression give a Shield effect, Shadow Walk (remember, you have NO transportation spells as is), and Shadow Double which is awesome. It's tempting to take this PrC to termination.

Eldritch Theurge (CM): If you want to advance a Warlock / DN, this is the way to do it, and the DD from the Warlock is a nice addition to the DN. See the builds section for an excellent example from Bill Bisco.

Divine Oracle (CD): Grants access to a several useful divination spells. Good for finishing out Pale Master builds, since you'll already have the skill focus: Knowledge (religion).

Arcane Trickster (DMG): Its a weak class, but it does advance Sneak Attack. Typically used to finish out Arcane / Rogue / Daggerspell Shaper builds before Unseen Seer was printed.

Unseen Seer (CM): A two level class: you can't afford to reduce your caster level for all but two spells on your list.

Ultimate Magus (CM): DN is an excellent entry into this class. Combine with Master Specialist for full effect. I personally don't like the class, though: its kind of flavorless, if powerful. You won't be getting the Undead Mastery ability if you are optimizing for this PrC.

Abjurant Champion (CM): Undetectable Alignment qualifies you for this PrC, with which you'll gain no benefits other than raw BAB unless you take a single level of another arcane class, and apply the 5th level ability to it. Not a strong choice, IMO.

Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil (CArc): Dispel Magic as a 4th level spell gets you in as early as 9th. This is a great PrC that basically says you don't die. You have to take 3 feats that are pretty useless to the DN to get into it, though. I personally don't think its worth it, simply b/c you could spend those extra levels animating an extra 4 X Cha HD of creatures to stand between you and your enemies, but if you're in a really deadly campaign with lots and lots of spellcasting, go for it.

Wearer or Purple (FR:FaP): 10 level, full casting PrC. You gain some item crafting feats, some bonuses to your ride skill, a domain, energy resistances, and the ultimate ability lets you rebuke dragons and dracoliches. I believe it has D6 hp too. (sounds great, thx bonsai!)

Anima Mage (ToM): The Binder/Arcane dual progression class. Can be entered into with a single level dip into binder, and the improved Binding feat. This will net you some nice binder progression, with minimal caster loss. Even better, once you can make a pact with Tenebrous, your binder levels will stack with your Dread Necromancer levels for the purpose of rebuking. See the builds section for some ideas on this one.

Archmage (DMG): You'll probably have SF: Necromancy, so really its a 2 feat, and tough skll prereq prc. Arcane Reach will save you a round of buffing w/ Spectral Hand, and Mastery of Shaping is good as well. The others kind of suck. If Arcane Fire didn't require such a high level slot, it would be good, too.

Spellwarp Sniper (CS): You have a ton of ray spells to add to this classes repertoire, but the most powerful ability (that to transform the spell into a save:none) won't apply: there are absolutely NO ref save spells on your spell list. Still, there may be some benefit to taking this in a roguish/DN mix.

Greater than 1/2 Casting PrC Fiend-Blooded (HoH): The last level loses you one spellcasting level, and the benefits, although nice, aren't necessary. You get new spells that give some much needed diversity. 8 levels nets pretty good results. Its a little hard to qualify, though. paolung pointed this one out.

Pale Master (LM): You lose a caster level at the start, and gain Animate Dead for free once per day. Undead Cohort later for free. Its not particularly powerful, but really, really flavorful. There's a lot of love for this PrC. The Cohort can be very powerful, especially if your DM doesn't allow the Leadership feats otherwise. You also get to ignore some ASF of undead armor (largely pointless for a DN), gain some undead like immunities (pointless if you're a necropolitan), and gain some decent touch attacks. The latter are nice, but melee isn't that great an option by the time you'd be taking this class. 10th level nets you an ability to create zombies under your command with no control limit, which is kind of cool. Still, the Rod of the Dead at 75k gp grants Animate Dead at no further cost, replicating the Pale Master's most practical and useful ability. I find the PrC of questionable merit, after Echo pointed this item out.

Dread Witch (HoH): A lost caster level at the start, but better DC's for your fear effects. Also, you get an extra aura as a fear effect that is pretty good. Probably not worth the lost caster level, though.

Recaster (RoEb): A 5 level class that grants similar abilities to Incanatrix. Really good, if you don't mind the caster level loss.

Renegade Mastermaker (MoEb): The idea of a Dr. Frankenstein that operates on himself as well as others, I must admit, is really cool. Ask Wizards recently said that its possible to make an Undead Warforged, so make your pick and

try it out. You lose 2 caster levels, though, which isn't cool at all.

Daggerspell Mage (CAdv): Better than Arcane Trickster, if a bit feat intense. You can get in as early as 5th level. Gives Rogues an excellent way to deal w/ undead.

Nightmare Spinner (CM): I haven't looked in depth into this class, but it looks promising. The second level special ability is wasted, but the 3rd and 5th level effects look cool. Definitely for those DN's that are stacking fear effects as fast as possible.

Sand Shaper (SS): This grants you a ton of spells to your caster list at the cost of 1 level. A few levels of full casting can be had w/ some interesting abilities, but you don't want to lose all 3 caster levels by completing it.

Walker in the Waste (SS): You lose 2 caster levels, but gain the Dry Lich template for free at 10th, which is superior to a normal Lich, and a bunch of nice class abilities (including another stackable touch attack). You need the Heat Endurance feat (Sandstorm), the Southern Magician feat (RoF), and although there are enough necromancy spells to hit the spellcasting prereq using Expanded Knowledge, Arcane Disciple is the less intensive way to go. There has been debate about Southern Magician being able to qualify one for divine casting PrC's, but the requirements for WitW doesn't require the source to be divine, just the spell to be divine, so it appears to work, RAW.

Uncanny Trickster (CS): Lose 1 level of casting, but gain everything else better BAB, 3 free tricks, and an extra use / encounter of 3 different tricks in 3 levels. It isn't a bad way to round out a build, and delaying Lichdom isn't a horrible idea if you know your group is going to last past 20th.

Magical Trickster (CS): Lose 1 level, get 2 free tricks, 1 free metamagic, at 3rd a "sudden metamagic" ability for metamagics w/ 4 or less spell level adjustment 1/day, and start being able to blow spells for extra uses of tricks. This is great for hidden/secret DN's, but the level loss sucks.

1/2 casting PrC Scion of Tem-Et-Nu (SS): 1/2 casting, full BAB, temporary HP ability, and fast healing (sometimes) makes this a good gish PrC candidate. The prereq's are tough, though: Diplomacy 8 ranks is killer. There's only a handful of these; more will need to be added later. Dread Necromancer Equipment

Obviously, this is not an absolute list. Pick and choose your equipment to best suit your campaign and style. Format is level, total gold value, then equipment, and you would have everything from the lower levels as well.

A few items from Tome of Battle: In particular, the lesser Diamond Mind Crown in the back of the book: there's 3 counters that allow you to replace a concentration check w/ each of the 3 saves 1/encounter. The crown also only costs 1500 gp, meaning that if your DM allows custom items, they'll only be 3000 gp slotless. The Fort save booster is the most important, w/ the Will being next in importance, if you are undead already. You have to meet the level prereq's for these: they go up to 3rd level, which means you can use all 3 at 10th.

Note** Wands of Magic Circle Against (Whatever) and Wand of Dimensional Anchor will add 2 spells that the spell list seems to be lacking when it comes to planar binding.

Dread Necromancer Items by Level 2nd; 900: Masterwork Ranged Weapon, Chain Shirt, Disguise Kit, Hammer & Crowbar, Healer's Kit, 3 flasks acid, backpack, Potion of Invisibility, 120 gp, optional: riding horse or dog w/ Military Saddle.

3rd: remember, you probably want to pay to become a Necropolitan, that's 3000 gp gone. Try to borrow money from party members or NPCs.

4th: 5400: +1 Chain Shirt, Hat of Disguise, Vest of Resistance +1, Silversheen, 470 gp.

6th: 13000: Mithril Breastplate +1, +1 Weapon, Novice Ring of the Diamond Mind - Mind over Body(1500gp) (ToB), -80 gp.

8th: 27000: Handy Haversack, Deadwalker's Ring (CM), +2 Cha Cloak, 2500 gp worth of Black Opal, you'll need a safehouse in which to store undead (est. 2000 gp), Large and Small masterwork simple weapons for meaty undead to use (they don't retain armor prof's, though), 920 gp. Note that if you're investing in UMD, a wand of Desecrate might be an acceptable replacement for the Deadwalker's ring

10th; 49000: Rod of Undead Mastery (LM), Vest of Resistance +2, Headband of Concsious Effort, 4000 gp

12th; 88000: Scepter of the Netherworld (LM), Rod of Defiance (LM), Philactery of Undead Turning, Horizon Goggles, 3000 gp. If you invested in UMD, start considering a Wand of Assay Resistance (CArc), or Polymorph as well.

14th; 150000: Banner of the Unliving (HoB), +6 Cha Cloak, Ring of Protection +2, Circlet of Persuasion, 500 gp

16th; 260000:, Darkskull, +5 Vest of Resistance, Mithril Breastplate +4, Amulet of Natural Armor +2 (leave your Pendant of Undead turning off until needed), 2000 gp

18th; 440000:, Ring of Protection +5, Winged Boots, Rod of Defiance (LM, thx JaronK). Rod of the Dead (Thx, Echo. Note: if you can cast 9th level spells - ie, you didn't sacrifice casting to PrC, the spell Plague of Undead makes this item unnecessary.) 36000 gp

20th; 760000: +5 Cha Tome, Amulet of Natural Armor +5, 161500 gp contributers: jameswilliamogle, K (indirectly through the handbook), cyberpunks, Echo_That_Pains

Equipment for your Undead

Zombies and skeletons keep all the weapon proficiencies they had in life, but not the armor or shield proficiencies. There's a few different routes to equip your minions. Instead of writing out all the equipment for every combination, here's some general strategies instead.

Phalanx: Animate about 1/5th of your undead as zombies, the rest as skeletons. You equip the zombies with tower shields, and studded leather, and shortspears. You arm all your skeletons with slings and javelins. The zombies stay on the perimeter of the skeletons, using the full defense option (granting those behind them concealment). The skeletons fire ranged weapons out the phalanx. The skeletons could also be armed w/ longspears. The strategy is particularly effective in indoor environments.

Skeleton Tripper: Once you start animating large or larger sized creatures, you could equip them w/ spiked chains. Sure, they probably won't have EWP: Spiked Chain, but they'll only need to make touch attacks to start the trip. Size modifiers and strength modifiers will really keep them tripping.

Zombie Melee w/ Skeleton Archers: Zombies have DR 5/ Slashing, so shortbows will only do, at most, 1 point of damage. If you have more undead than you know what to do with, send the zombies forward in waves as the skeletons fire arrows into them when they engage in melee. Even w/o precise shot, you are greatly favoring your odds.

Army strategy: When you get enough undead that you can make multiple divisions, you should look into Awakening some. Typically, you should keep track of every humanoid creature you (or your party) kill up to 8th level,

going back to animate the toughest opponents (they'll have the most feats). Awaken them, and then you can have them lead the mindless undead in phalanxes and such. You should equip these soldiers in Scale Mail, at least, as its the cheapest you can get for the AC. As always, if anyone else as suggestions, please feel free to contribute!

back to the back to the Table of Contents Dread Necromancer Sample Builds

Build Format

Here's the Format I'd like to follow:Name of Build or blankAuthor of BuildClass(s) and level(s) on one lineRace and template on next lineblank spaceFeats by level1 feat, feat(b for bonus)3... etc.blank spacequick summary of what makes it cool.

Secret Dread Necromancer by jameswilliamogle

Dread Necromancer 20Necropolitan Strongheart Halfling (no reason not to be Human, except the +1 AC and to hit is really nice early on)

1 Spell-Focus: Necromancy, GSF: Necromancy 3 Weapon Finnesse 6 Heighten Spell 9 Chain Spell

12 Spell Penetration 15 Extraordinary Spell Aim 18 Greater Spell Penetration

This was the DN that I first started playing. I had higher than necessary Int, and used Disguise to confuse the heck out of my party, which was a lot of fun. Chained Ray of Enfeeblements are simply awesome. Extraordinary SpellAim was extremely useful for helping out melee types. The Quasit familiar really kicked butt in Wolf form, and was also a lot of fun. I only did the minimum animating with this character; I wasn't trying to make the DM's job harder, nor make my turns longer, but I would animate, then have the undead bury themselves all over the country, just in case an emergency army was needed (I played this character as Lawful Neutral). This character was a lot of fun to play, and its why I fell in love with the class initially. You noticed I didn't take any Corpsecrafting feats: this was strictly for RP reasons, as I didn't utilize any undead minions at all until the upper levels, and liked my party not knowing who I was.

A few rough outlines from Bill Bisco:

Dread Necromancer 9/ Ur-Priest 2/ mystic Theurge 8/ Dread Necro 10 (I'm assuming into epic)You get 9th level divine, 9th level arcane, Undead Mastery, and full 20th level rebuking. BAB sucks, but, hey, you wouldn't be playing a Dread Necro if that was a major concern, right?

Dread Necro 2/ Binder 1/ Anima mage 10/ Dread Necro 3-911th level Binding, 9th level arcane. Some great synergistic effects if you pick some divine feats w/ Tenebrous. Also allows you to avoid going Necro, w/ Acerak (I believe thats correct...). You also can get free Persistants too (although there isn't too much to persist that's really worth it...).

Dread Necro 8/ Warlock 3/ Eldritch Theurge 98th level casting, 12th level

warlock abilities gets you Greater Invocations. I'm not too sure which Invocations synergize that well w/ DN as a base class, but the ability to apply spells like harm and/or slay living to your invocations makes ET really, really hot.thanks, Bill!

Power Necro

Dread Necro 8 / Shadow Adept 2 / Incanatrix 10Necropolitan Human

1 Iron Will, Corpscrafter (b)3 Weapon Finesse 6 Shadow Magic 9 Chain Spell, Tenacious Magic (b), Insidious Magic (b), Pernicious Magic (b) 11 Fell Frighten (b) 12 Spell Focus: Necromancy 14 Fell Drain (b) 15 Extraordinary Spell Aim 17 Twin Spell (b) 18 GSF: Necromancy 20 Fell Animate (b)

+4 to all Necro DC's, +4 to beat SR, and all the other great Incanatrix abilities, and gain all the cool DN abilities. Someone could probably do better on the feat selections, but this was just freeform.

Sand Shaper

by AprenticeWizard

dread necromancer 8/sand shaper 10/dread necromancer +2

1 - improved initiative, tomb tainted soul 3 - empower spell 6 - touchstone 9 - rapid metamagic 12 - quicken spell 15 - twin spell 18 - fortify spell

You add a ton of spells to your spell list w/ Sand Shaper.

Walker in the Waste DN Roshomon (edited to make it RAW legal by jwo)

DN 8 (1-8)/ Shadow Adept 2 (13-14) / Walker In The Waste 10 (9-12, 15-20)

Human 1 Corpsecrafter Level 1 Heat Endurance Level 3 Arcane Disciple (Thirst) Level 6 Southern Magician Level 9 Shadow Magic

Level 12 (any metamagic) Level 15 (free) Level 18 (free)

You get additional Desicating Touch attack, the better Dry Lich template, salt mummys, sand golems, better spell penetration ability, and a few other cool abilities. The downside is that you lose 2 caster levels, and spent a ton of feats making it all legal.

Melee-specialized DN by Roshomon

Fighter 1 / DN 8 / Abjurant Champ 5 / Eldritch Knight 6

Abjurant Champion advances spellcasting and has full BAB, but the abilities aren't really great for a DN (lack of abjurations, except dispels). You do get +16 BAB by 20th, and only lose 2 caster levels, though. I'd personally consider a spellcasting full BAB melee class instead of Fighter, though (Duskblade, Paladin of Slaughter, etc) just to increase your wand-use options.

Iconic Illumian Dread Necromancer by Prototype00

LN Illumian Dread Necromancer 20

Feats:DN1: Tomb Tainted Soul

Dn3: Maximize Spell DN6: Corpsecrafter DN9: Rapid Metamagic DN12: Chain Spell DN15: Residual Magic DN18: Heighten Spell DN19: Craft Wondrous Item

Sigil: Naenhoon (Allows you to use turn attempts in place of spell levels for the purpose of metamagic twice/day)

Abuses the 2 / day free metamagics from Naenhoon to get lots of nice combinations, like Chain Enervates and Finger of Deaths. At low level, taking Fell Animate will get you undead almost faster than any other combination (there is a Dragon mag Wizard alternate that can get it at 1st; these get undead at 2nd).

Pale Necromancer by Malisteen

Human (Necropolitan) Dread Necromancer 8 / Pale Master 10 / Divine Oracle 2

Feats:Human: Tomb Tainted Soul (retrain for Necromantic Presence after becoming undead) DN1: Spell Focus: Necromancy DN3: Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy

DN6: Skill Focus: Knowledge (Religion) PM1: Corpse Crafter PM4: Spell Penetration PM7: Destruction Retribution PM10: Greater Spell Penetration

This is a typical Pale Master build. Takes the generic spell focus & spell penetration feats, grabs a couple corpse crafting feats (you'll be making them for free, anyway). You'll be relying on rods for metamagic, though. You get free skellies & zombies, a cool undead graft, an undead cohort (awesome if your DM doesn't normally allow the leadership feats), and eventually unlimited zombies. Finish out with Divine Oracle for some nice divination spells. If your party doesn't have another divination caster, you might even take the first level of Divine Oracle earlier - as early as 7th level even though that will delay access to the PM's undead cohort. See if your DM will allow an undead (necropolitan or mummified, maybe) Cleric as a cohort.

Note that this build, while fun and fluffy, is less powerful then the other builds on this page. If your DM allows the leadership feats, you can get the best feature of this Prestige class with just one feat. Cheap skellies are nice, but not worth a caster level. And you can always talk to your DM about buying one of the undead arm grafts from Libris Mortis instead of grabbing that as a class feature.

More builds are always welcome, feel free to add yours!

back to the back to the Table of Contents

Dread Necromancer Notes

Here's everything that didn't fit into one of the other sections of the handbook. Notes on taint, tricks & combos, roleplaying advice, useful links, common house rules - all the little things that help you round out your Dread Necromancer.

Taint

If you become a Necropolitan, you become undead, which means you automatically have a taint score of 1/2 Cha score (not bonus) + 1 (HoH 62). If this increases your taint to moderate corruption, you get a bonus feat (HoH p67). If it increases again to severe corruption, you get another. For free. If you dumped Wisdom, its quite easy to automatically gain both bonus feats when you go Necropolitan (gaining both bonus feats only require a Cha of 10, due to your - Con score, or 22 if you have an 8 Wis and DM rules you can't have Taint due to your Con score).

As an undead you also never suffer any negative effects for taint, so never have to worry about your Taint being too high, either. Some DMs might be jerks and want to gain control of your character, ala "insane", but if that's the case you need to switch groups. There's only a few symptoms w/ positive side effects, though. You roll these randomly, so just hope you get lucky:

Skin Seeps (+2 Escape Artist), Bones Thicken (+2 Str), Paralyzed Face (+1 Bluff), Skin Thickens (+1 Natural Armor), Lich Eyes (darkvision), Wrigglers (+2 Intimidate), Bestial (+2 Ride, Handle Animal, Wild Empathy), Prophetic (10% of weekly predictions are right), and Hubristic (Divine Healing has no effect on you - only negative when its cure wounds, etc, so remove disease, cause wounds have full effects).

There's some argument over whether an Undead can gain taint from any other method than increasing his Cha, however, but this isn't an issue unless you take the Tainted Scholar PrC, which prefers high Taint.

Also, it's poorly worded, but it appears that falling below the thresholds only "renders that |corrupt| feat inoperative", but doesn't remove it. Thus, a trick one might do in a power game would be to swing back and forth between

moderate and severe taint, gaining new bonus feats each time. Sure, you can't use the |corrupt| feats when you are low, but when you go back to severe you gain use of all of them. This is broken. A DM might argue that the wording "reaches modest or severe taint" only implies when the original threshold is achieved, but this is a very poor argument on the basis of logic (but makes perfect sense on the basis of balance).

It doesn't say you remove the taint if you become living afterwords: If you plan on becoming a Lich later, you better reduce your taint score before being returned to life, pre-lich, or else you'll end up under DM control if you aren't careful. The easiest way I can see to do this is to remove all your +Cha items, then take a lot of Cha damage (Bestow Curse, and/or Ego Whip are the easiest methods I can see to do this). A static Taint score for undead, based only on Cha and not taint, actually helps you out here.

Playing with taint as an undead may be a little powerful for many campaigns: if it isn't a horror based campaign, its quite easy just to ignore the taint rules.

Malisteen Says: In practice, very few campaigns use the taint rules, and even fewer allow you to play an undead creature within those rules, for obvious balance reasons. None of the builds in the builds section assume that taint rules are in effect. In general you can probably assume these rules simply don't exist.

Tricks and Combos

Bloodtouched Rite: (PGtEb, p. 23) A useful thing for a DN I found would possibly be taking the Bloodtouched Rite in the player's guide to eberron if you are in an Eberron campaign... permanent 2 points of constitution loss... but bonus hp = to charisma, +2 profane bonus against poison, stunning, disease, death effects, and energy drain, and a +1 effective cleric level if capable of rebuking undead. The bonus HP to Cha is absolutely awesome. This is the main reason that people try to play Walker in the Wastes; now you can buy a few levels of it. There's no reason that you couldn't do this, then become a Necropolitan, but be ready for the DM to throw a book at you, or arbitrarily rule against you. -trickydevl666

Portable Hole: There was a cute idea in the DMG2 with a sample necromancer: keep your minions in a portable hole. The undead don't need to breathe, so you can keep as many in there as you can fit, and then hoist 'em out when you go into combat (if you should need to while you're in town).

Shrink Item or Bags of Holding + dead creatures + Animate Dead: Similar to the above, simply shrink the unanimated corpses of big creatures or store them in extradimensional spaces until you actually need them. Animate Dead is only a standard action to cast, so simply pull out the creature you need, and animate when needed. Perfect for the Dread Necromancer on the go. If you get a Portable Hole, you can store the more utilitarian creatures you animate for convenience (also a good place to put a Spellstiched creature for safekeeping).

Deadwalker's Ring + Undead Mastery + Corpsecrafter + Rod of Undead Mastery: Control (8 + 2 x Cha) X HD worth of undead via Animate Dead, they all have +6 HP / HD, +4 Str, +4 Dex. Ultimate control combination. More Corpsecrafting feats give that much more power. You could easily have over 700 HD of undead under your direct control by 20th level.

Awaken Undead + Dwarf, Elf, Kobold, et al.: A nice solution to low-skill parties. They regain all their feats and racial abilities, meaning the Elf gets an auto-search ability, the Dwarf can use Trapfinding as a Rogue with stone-set traps, and the Kobold can make traps like mad. There's lots of other races w/ lots of cool feats and abilities, and if you take out a crafting NPC wizard or artificer, you just hit the jackpot. Its debatable on whether they'd gain skills retroactively based on their HD (it probably was intended, but the wording is unclear). SpC greatly nerfed this spell from LM, as it used to include all Extraordinary Abilities instead of just Racial.

Destructive Retribution + hordes of low HD undead: This is an oldie but a goodie. Use the minimum HD creature available (rats have 1/4 HD), and have them swarm your enemies. You then send in an AoE spell (or your buddy blaster arcanist does the same) to get d6 negative damage in a 10' radius for each creature that blows up, stacking massive amounts of negative energy damage. If you're undead or tomb-tainted, you might as well go into the center of it, just to get all that in healing. At 8th level, using 1/4 HD creatures

and a 18 Cha, thats up to 128d6 damage (at an onyx cost of 25 gp per 2d6). My advice: don't cheese the campaign; don't go below 1 HD creatures w/ this ability.

Magic Jar + Quasit or Imp Familiar: You give the focus to your familiar, cast the spell, then he goes invisible, flies through the dungeon, and when he sees enemies or when you sense lifeforce other than your familiar, you keep trying to switch until you get control. Then you either run through the dungeon as the baddie w/ the Familiar staying behind you, invisible, or wait there and attack the other bad guys. The more stealth the familiar has, the better.

Magic Jar + Animate Dead: You can simply gain control of one of your own undead, turning you into a veritable tank (up to +6 HP per HD, w/ items and feats, +4 Str, +4 Dex, who needs divine power?) after commanding it to fail its Will save (use your Disguise skill and a Hat of Disguise to make yourself look alive, if it would screw w/ the party). Remember, Magic Jar is NOT a | Mind| spell, and will work on most anything. This is, of course, better with a few Corpsecrafter feats. At high levels, you can body swap into something you made with Plague of Undead for maximum hit dice.

Summon Undead 4-5 |Allip| + Magic Jar: Allips do d4 Wis damage every hit, and Magic Jar is a Will save. A very useful tactic, I found, to take advantage of large meaty creatures is to summon multiple Allips via Summon Undead 5 (for 2 rounds or so) followed by Magic Jar after the creature is reduced to 0 Wis. You can get some really, really powerful creatures this way (I would've gained control of a Guargantuan Fanged Dragon, 27 HD monster, if I would've communicated my intentions to the coup-de-gras machine Power Attacking Fighter before casting MJar, at only 11th level, although it would take a while to beat the creatures SR; it was supposed to be a deux ex machina situation, but I said screw it and went all out - we took out 2 of them this way). Combine with shivering touch to incapacitate dragons and other powerful, low dex monsters so your Allips can chip away at their wisdom unmolested.

Magic Jar + Animating Yourself: +6 HP/HD to +infinite HP/HD. Use Magic Jar on one of your minions. Your body is "lifeless". This means you can animate your own corpse (assuming Lifeless = Dead, for all practical purpopses), and if you have a deadwalker's ring and corpsecrafting feats you just gave your body and extra 6 HP/HD and +4 Str/Dex. Its unnamed, so cancel the spell:

you keep your body w/ the extra HP, Str/Dex. Do it again: you get another 6 HP/HD. And again. Its stupid. The only problem is that you can't apply the zombie/skeleton template on an undead creature, so you need a way to become "living" again, either by resurrection or some-such (Thought Bottle comes to mind). If you have the other corpsecrafting feats, apply those attributes as well: the bonuses only check when the undead is created, not after. Best reason NOT to be a Necropolitan at the start. This is particularly cheesy, and relies on some pretty sketchy interpretations of the rules, though.

Riding undead: Although they're generally not that great to make, zombies retain all their movement speeds when animated. You can't get planar travel through one (as far as I know), but you can get really fast land (via skeleton), and decent fly, burrow, and swim speeds out of them. Depending on what level you are, you'll only have access to a limited type of creature at any given time, and its DM controlled. Also, for creatures not usually suitable for riding, you'll have a -5 penalty on your ride check (and since ride is crossclass, this could be a big deterrant). Here's some picks (S for skeleton, Z for zombie): Warhorse S, Elder Arrowhawk Z, Triceratops S, Water Naga Z, Elder Zorn Z, Nightmare S, Bulette S, Any Dragon (dragon skeletons & zombies can have more HD then others, see the Draconomicon for details.

Illumian Naenhoon (RoD) + Fell Animate (LM): This is almost certainly not a useful trick for high-level play, but it lets you start getting zombie minions starting at level 2 (or 3, if you'd rather have Tomb-Tainted) - it's essentially the Divine Metamagic trick with a lower buy-in. For players in low-level games who absolutely must have minions (and I have a feeling that in a siege-type game they will be invaluable) this is a viable trick. You need a 16 Cha to pull it off, but that's very viable in an all Cha caster (from BenSan: a great idea)

Beckon the Frozen + Mass Frostburn: (FB) Great way to heal your summoned undead and hammer a number of enemies at the same time. Great for the Cleric who wants to play an Uttercold Assault style, and good for the Dread Necromancer who can pick this as a spell known. (from Iry, but its older than that, I think)

Master of Necromancy + Master of Undeath: (PGtEb, CM) Get a ghost when

you use a |death| spell to kill something (via MoN), and designate it as the MoU creature. You need to turn it to control it, but its the only guaranteed way to get control of a ghost, and you can get a lot of them, potentially. Some DM's might nerf it so that both ghosts only last for CL rounds then vanishes (which kills the combo completely), or that the second ghost formed by MoU only is friendly for only CL rounds, then is unfriendly (which is ok, since you can control it then): talk to your DM ahead of time. (pointed out by Iry, but requires lots of DM interpretation)

Polymorph Any Object + Corpses + Animate dead: PAO a corpse of a kobold to a corpse of a ancient red wyrm. Animate Dead (using the Draconomicon rules for the Zombie Dragons) to turn it into a Zombie (no HD limit anymore). PAO might be able to add templates onto creatures, as well. Easiest way to get your customized zombie army on, but also pretty cheesey. PAO can be picked up with Arcane Disciple from the Trickery domain, which is available to at least two theme-appropriate dieties in the core setting (Boccob if you're neutral, Nerul if you're evil)

Leadership + Followers with Command Undead: With your high charisma, you're going to have a great base leadership score. And that means a rather impressive number of level three and four followers at mid to high levels. Animate a bunch of skeletons and zombies. The most powerful you can make - probably dragon skeletons from Draconomicon - use the PAO trick to get the corpses and the Plague of Undead spell, or 2 levels of Pale Master, to animate them cleaply. Just keep making them - dozens of them - and let them go uncontrolled when you shoot past your limit. Your lv3 wizard and lv4 sorcerer followers will be on hand with readied actions to cast the no-save, no HD limit Command Undead spell on the creatures you release, gaining control of them for days at a time. Then just have those followers order your army of dragon skeletons to follow your commands, or those of your chosen generals. If you have each of your followers use all of their second level spells this way every day then the total hit dice limit of your army can easily break into four didgets by high levels. The only downsides are that you have to keep your followers with your army so they can recast the spell each day on those skeletons who are about to expire, and if your command tent gets raided it's pretty easy to assassinate them to leave the bulk of your army uncontrolled.

Feel free to post your own tricks!

Role-playing Tips or how to convince the guards your stinky friend really just needs a bath You are eventually going to have to face a social interaction with characters that don't like the movie Reanimator, so you should be prepared to deal w/ them.

You don't have to animate that many creatures. Sure, you have the ability to do it, but do you really need all that extra headache? I played a DN that had only a handful of undead under his control at any given time.

You have Disguise and Bluff on your class list. There's few things funnier than convincing the guards that the 8' cloaked smelly guy next to you is a Monk that took a Vow of Silence. Alternatively, Disguise your Undead to be another race. Weirdly, you get a +10 on your disguise check when using Disguise Self, which doesn't go away when the spell ends, and there doesn't appear to be a duration on the Disguise skill itself, so in short, you can get a Hat of Disguise, a bunch of Disguise kits, take 10, and permanently make your undead appear like living creatures (the only hitch is that the Hat of Disguise has to be activated by the undead creature). There is a high-level way to get around this: use Magic Jar on your own undead after commanding it to fail its Will save, then use the HoD yourself. You could easily rack up a nice 20's-30's Disguise check this way.

Speaking of Disguises, why not pretend to be a Druid? Seriously, get the Quasit Familiar, and have all the Disguise gear suggested above, and make yourself look like an inocuous Druid with a Wolf animal companion. I did this w/ my first DN, and had a blast confusing the hell out of all the other PCs (I guess the secret is out, now).

With the same DN, I also would sneak out at night (not needing sleep from being a Necropolitan), and animate the largest creatures we fought the day before. I'd command them to bury themselves and wait for me. I'd do this all over the countryside, all the time, and never hit my animation limit. I was playing Lawful Neutral, and was generating an emergency army that I could put to defense if necessary (for the right price, that is). The DM decided that

was in line with my alignment.

Master Blaster from Mad Max was one part giant man and one part mini-man: the little guy gave all the orders while riding up top, and the big guy obeyed. The PHB even has rules for riding non-quadrupedal creatures such as humanoids. You could take it one step further, if you are small enough: ride INSIDE the undead creatures. K had some great advice about getting flying zombies, burrowing zombies, and others, too, as they all retain their movement modes.

Water campaign? No big deal: use the Blackwater Taint combo at high level, and ransom the Queen's Navy or else they suffer a MINIMUM of 6 Fiendish Skeleton Krakens tearing their boats apart. At low level, become a Necropolitan as soon as possible: you are immune to fatigue and exhaustion, so you can swim as long as you want (also, not needing to breathe is quite handy). Zombie Dolphins can give you a hand, too.

Do you find yourself in a town with little to no corpses to animate, and little job prospects? Use the disguise skill (possibly w/ a Hat of Disguise combined w/ Magic Jar) to disguise your undead humanoids: they don't have to look perfect, just good enough to pass as living. Now, rent out your buddies as caravan guards! Give them the simple commands "follow (these people's) commands for seven days, then return to this spot regardless of what they've said". It would work better with awakened undead, but any should do. If you are in an evil aligned area, you could probably get away with turning it into a full-blown industry!

Undead to Create

K had some good ideas in his handbook, but at the request of many, here's some more ideas.(to be organized after a decent list is developed)

Skeletons are generally better than Zombies, unless you intend to use them as front-line fighters or as special transports through unusual terrain. I won't debate about mummies keeping their class levels; needless to say, if they do, its worthwhile to turn just about every NPC you encounter w/ class levels into

one (see LM for the "Mummified Creature" template for some RAW support for level retention).

Centaur Zombies: They still get double damage from charging w/ a lance (notice the ability isn't listed as a special quality, or anything, so it doesn't go away), and at 50' movement its still worth it. (whitishknight idea.)

Goblin, Kobold, Gnome, Halfling Skeletons: Skeletons make great ranged weapon fighters, and given the +1 to hit due to size they really can do a lot of good. They also retain Special Qualities of the base creature, assuming it improves its attack (ie, Halfling Skeletons get +2 to hit w/ thrown weapons).

Bulette, Thoqua Zombies: They retain their burrow speed, and could be hollowed out for an underground transport. The same could be applied to a lot of creatures.

Dragon, Pegasus, Wyvern Zombies: They retain their fly speed. See the bulette, above. K wrote a bunch about them; refer to his handbook.

Heavy Warhorse Skeletons: The main advantage is that they never tire. Its a good low-level option, and Heavy Warhorses shouldn't be too hard to find.

Shadows, Wights, Vampire Spawn: They can create others of the same type by various means under their control. Usually too high of a level for Create Undead to be useful, instead plan on summoning one of these creatures via Summon Undead and rebuking the spawn it creates for later use. Plan on using a move action to give non-standing commands when in combat. Easiest way to make an army. The Shadow is arguably the best of these: d6 Str damage on a touch attack can easily take down the mightiest warriors after just a few rounds.

Giant Stag Beetle Zombie: Has to be a zombie... but +10 natural armor w/ an additional +3 for size makes a veritable tank! You could add normal armor on top of that, too, if you wanted to get fancy. (whitishknight proposed using this

along w/ a bunch of small goblin skeletons on top to make for a powerful combination.)

Hydras: All heads attack as a standard action, still. Totally awesome.

Dragon Zombies or Skeletons: They don't have a HD limit on the size of dragon you can animate, according to the Draconomicon. They also are different than normal skeletons and zombies, besides that: they don't retain ANY feats that help there attacks, unlike normal skeletons and zombies. Make sure you show the Drac to your DM, and they agree w/ you, if you plan on using them.

zombie or skeleton fleshraker dinosaurs from MM3. On a first turn charge they get full attack + poison + rake + trip + grapple + pin. and they're 4hd. (from whitish knight; note that the skeleton version won't have as many HD, but might retain the ability to full attack; you may have to awaken it to get pounce back)

dire tortoise from sandstorm: might make a good artillery platform. it's special ability is it always gets a surprise round. will probably have to awaken it to get that ability though. 14hd means it'll have to be a skeleton though (and lose all that NA...), oh well. (from whitishknight)

Deathshead: (ToM) Created by the Create Undead spell of CL 15-17 on a drowned giant. While that may be difficult to pull off, the rewards are well worth it. Its a small grappler, which sucks, but it has a +10 racial bonus. It also has Dominate Monster as the spell at CL 10 if it does manage to grapple at DC 19. That's 10 days of dominance. A great method to diversify your army; you should give standing orders to your intelligent undead to drown all giants they come across, and bring back you the corpses.

Mummies: (LM) You might be able to convince your DM that the Create Undead spell to make Mummies should apply the Mummified Creature template to the creature, instead of turning it into the basic, dumb mummy in the MM (check out the wording of the "Mummy Character" section on the template for some evidence that this is what was intended). If so, every NPC

will keep all its class abilities, feats, etc, and get a template making it better in melee, and be under your control. If you encounter an artificer, warlock > 12 w/ crafting feats, or a crafting wizard, woe be to your DM, as you just hit the jackpot for avoiding taking the crafting feats.

Allips and Shadows via Summon Undead: Each do ability damage, with no save, on a touch attack. If you face meaty bad guys, summoning 2 Allips is better than 1 Shadow, but if you face smart bad guys (most aberrations, for example), then 1 Shadow would be better. Also, you can summon a shadow and have it drain an innocent to 0 Str, then command the second shadow through Rebuking, which can get you a Shadow army pretty darn fast. Incorporealness also means that they aren't going to pop any time soon, and with Corpsecrafter, the Deadwalker's Ring, and Undead Mastery, they should have around 45-55 HP each. Vampire Spawn and Wights both can spawn undead for you to control, but both require regular melee attacks, so aren't as generally useful. Best location for your incorporeal spawn army: right below the ground you walk on.

Anything: (PHB) Polymorph Any Object can turn anything you kill into anything else. Get your customizable undead army on.

Gestalt Dread Necromancers

The Gestalt rules, published in the Unearthed Arcana book of variant rules, are intended for D&D campaigns with fewer then the normal number of players, and allow individual characters to fully perform multiple roles by essentially leveling up in two classes simultaneously. You gain the best proficiencies, hit points, and skill points of the two classes, gain access to all of their class skills, and all of their class features, including spellcasting. You can multiclass classes from level to level as normal, and take prestige classes you qualify for, even two at a time. Prestige Classes that are essentially a fusion of two classes, like Mystic Theurge, are not allowed.

In a Gestalt Campaign characters are obviously much stronger then normal, and potentially much more versatile. They still aren't as strong as two

separate normal characters, since they only have one character's actions per round, and only one character's HP, even if it is the greater of their two classes. They also may have to deal with considerable MADness (Multiple Ability Dependancy), depending on how compatible their class choices are.

Dread Necromancer really shines under the Gestalt character rules, since you can cast in light armor and already have some gishy abilities, between your DR, self healing, and touch attacks. DN's also have a lot to gain, since they start off with poor BAB, Saves, and Skill points.

My favorite Gestalt option for Dread Necromancer is Rogue. This gets you considerably more skill points, and access to all of the Cha-based skills, including UMD, as class skills. It also nets you improved BAB and sneak attack for your touch spells. Sprinkling some Fighter Levels into your rogue half nets you bonus feats and more BAB, although you still won't be able to wear medium or heavy armor for ASF reasons.

My second favorite class to mix with DN in a gestalt game is Factotum. Like Rogue, this greatly improves your skill points. Factotum gives you access to all skills as class skills. The rest of the Factotum features grant you an incredible degree of flexibility and versatility, which complements the Dread Necromancer nicely.

Other good Dread Necro gestalt choices include Monk, which lets lets you stack unarmed attack damage with your touch attacks, and flurry to do it multiple times a round, while improving your BAB, Saves, Speed, and Skill Points; Duskblade, which lets you channel the DN's deadly touch spells through your chosen weapon; and Binder, which share's the Dread Necro's Cha focus and supplements your abilities with considerable versatility.

Using the Gestalt rules to mix casters typically isn't the best choice, but Beguiler can work pretty well with Dread Necro, provided you can deal with having two primary casting stats. Sticking with Cha, sorcerer levels can do a lot to expand your narrow Dread Necromancer spell list, even if it's just a lingle level dip to qualify for wand use.

Several great options are out there, if you're lucky enough to make a gestalt Dread Necromancer. Just be sure to keep your saves, BAB, skills, and key stats in mind when selecting your other half.

Common House Rules

This guide is intended to follow the rules as written for Dread Necromancer characters. Sketchy rules interpretations, or things that are just broken, are generally called out, but otherwise the Dread Necromancer's Handbook assumes your game is being run more or less 'by the book'.

That said, D&D campaigns are highly personalized, and some DMs play fast and loose with the rules, or are especially conservative in their approach to non-core material. Some house rules seem more common then others for Dread Necromancers, and you may find yourself bumping into one or more of the following.

Dread Necromancer's 'Negative Energy' class features don't apply to yourself: One thing conservative DMs are frequently leery of with Dread Necromancers is their ability to heal themselves without limit thanks to their at-will negative energy touch attack, provided they're undead or have the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat. This ability is of little to no use in combat, and once players hit mid levels out of combat healing is cheap enough through wands to be almost assumed anyway, but that doesn't stop this from being a sticking point for some DMs. As such, one of the more common house rules I've encountered for Dread Necromancers is that the Charnal Touch, and sometimes the Negative Energy Burst, don't affect yourself.

Such a house rule is a significant nerf to Dread Necromancers, but doesn't make them unplayable. If your party has a strong healer, then you might forgo Tomb Tainted Soul in such an environment altogether, although becoming Necropolitan is still generally worthwhile. If you don't have a strong healer, then you might still consider Tomb Tainted Soul for the ability to heal yourself with Inflict Wounds spells and wands. You'll want to be a little more careful in melee at low levels. The important thing to keep in mind is that this change, while it does hurt, doesn't ruin Dread Necromancers. Remember you didn't become a Dread Necromancer to heal yourself. You're here for the

necromancy, and the undead, and you still have all that.

This house rule may be necessary to convince a skeptical or conservative DM to allow you to play the class in the first place. Once your party can afford a spare wand or two of Cure Light Wounds, or, if you're undead, once you can afford a wand of Inflict Light Wounds, you probably won't even notice the difference.

No PC Templates: There are a lot of +0 LA templates out there, and they can make characters very complicated. Necropolitan, having a buy in cost of both a level and 3,000 gold, and having an explicitly described method of attaining the template, is less complicated and less unbalanced for a PC then most of these other templates, but some DMs won't allow templates at all. You can function pretty well with just Tomb Tainted, but you will have to pay more attention to your Con then you otherwise would. In a world without the necropolitan template, Con becomes almost as important as Dex for you, and you'll want to start with a higher score (I'd aim for 14 if possible), and pick up standard stat boosting magic items for Con as you level. If you're stuck in such a world, remember that you can use Magic Jar on your own Undead.

No Libris Mortis: Some DMs might not allow you access to Libris Mortis at all. After all, it is a book in the 'Monster Types' series, theoretically aimed primarily at DMs, anyway. Some DMs restrict the number of books you have access to outside of Core as well. This is much less common, and a much more significant nerf to Dread Necromancers then either of the above rules, since it includes the worst aspects of both. Without access to Tomb Tainted Soul or an la+0 undead template, you're not going to be able to heal yourself with your Charnal Touch, and your Negative Energy Burst is a practically unusable suicide attack. You also lose access to the corpsecrafter feats, and some great choices for advanced learning (you might still have access to Revive Undead and Awaken Undead via the Spell Compendium, but Haunt Shift is in LM only).

A Dread Necromancer without access to Libris Mortis is still playable, but is greatly weakened, especially at lower levels. You become very reliant on your party's healer, and will need to invest a lot of gold on healing potions. Even so, it still doesn't make the Dread Necromancer unplayable, especially once you can cast Magic Jar on your own undead.

Ghoul Gauntlet and similar spells use the Animate Dead control pool: This is a common house rule that lets your bonus control allowance from Undead Mastery apply to spells like Ghoul Gauntlet, which otherwise create a new, separate undead control limit and then force Animate Dead to follow that instead of it's own limit. This house rule actually makes Ghoul Gauntlet worth considering, although it still generally produces less powerful servants then just animating monsters as skeletons and zombies. Note that, as of its final printing in Spell Compendium, Plague of Undead already uses the Animate Dead limit, and thus keeps your increased control pool from Undead Mastery without needing this house rule.

Undead you Command via 'Rebuke Undead' don't count their Turn Resistance towards your HD limit of Commanded Undead: K has Rebuke Undead's command ability slightly wrong. It only cares if your Rebuking level is twice their hit dice at the time you rebuke them for the purposes of whether they come under your Command in the first place. There are no rules in the description for losing control of Commanded undead if their HD or Turn resistance increase afterwords, and giving commanded undead orders doesn't check hit dice, either. However, the HD limit for how many undead total that you can control with this ability at one time appears by the rules to be a continual affect.

As such, by the normal rules, if you increase the Turn Resistance of undead you control via rebuking (ie, through Necromantic Presence or the like), then you may suddenly be controlling too many HD of undead and will lose some. Many players and DMs of necromancers think its foolish that something that should be advantageous becomes such a penalty, and thus only count actual HD, not modified HD for the total pool of HD of undead you can control via rebuking. This obviously makes rebuking, and effects that grant turn resistance to undead under your control, slightly better, although at higher levels they still aren't so great that you need to go out of your way to get them, unless your DM likes to throw divine casters at you a lot.

Spawning Undead you control can only control their own spawn if you can control them as well: Let's face it. Infinite chain of command Shadow or Wraith armies break games, even at high levels, let alone the relatively low levels you're first able to get them at. Some DMs adopt a house rule that says Spawn you control via Rebuking (or other means) can only create or control

more spawn if you have sufficient control limits to take the spawn under the same control pool as it's master. This rule is based on the rules for Undead Leadership, which state that a spawning cohort must destroy its spawn unless you can have it as a follower (and then gives a follower table that doesn't ever allow you to do so).

Basically, this would mean that if you Controlled a Shadow with rebuking, And that shadow made a spawn, it would only be able to keep the spawn if you had space left in your rebuking pool to control to control the spawn as well.This basically undoes most of the benefit of using rebuke undead to control spawning undead monsters. Shadows and Wraiths are still ethereal monsters that attack ability scores, so there are still situations where it's useful to have one or two. If your DM throws a Slaymate at you, you'll still be happy to add it to your party. So it doesn't make rebuke undead totally useless, but does make it much less attractive.

Links http://pt.scribd.com/doc/11530216/Libris-Mortis-Errata back to the Table of Contents