Dread Necromancer, Best Necro option?

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well im relatively new to DnD been playing for about 4-6 months and im reallly happy with my ranger/fighter i built. but im starting to make a back up character (cause my fighter is so awesome i dont need to put anymore thought into him). i sopent way to much time reading through the book s and i caught on rather fast so im kind of trying to figure out if i missed anything.

but i was toying around with an idea of a necromancer who would have a not really a horde of undead but a few really awesome ones. now im not worried about deployment just yet ill look into that when the time comes but i saw dread necromancer and was thinking (correct me if im wrong ) but undead mastery if you max out charisma you could have 90 HD worth of undead following you around? (animate dead spell) that kind of sounds rediculous but dreads cant pick their spell list and they can only learn necromancy spells (+ the summon undead, which are conjuration) and for a caster thats a major set back.

now im friends with the dm and he would work with me for what ever i need (giving me something but making it have consequences). i would be lv 10 with roughly 50k starting gold, not including anything i want from the PHB. i wanted 8 lvs in dread necro anything after that doesnt really seem worht it. so i need a decent prestige class that might help me out with the same direction (i can work with soemthing else as long as it doesnt make me skip a casting lv)

but as far as fests go, if i use corpscrafter along with undead mastery, and desecration iv already got undead with +8 str, +4 dex and if i had a shrine in desecration +4 HP a HD. that being said animate dead only alows you to create skeletons and zombies (so besides ettin skeletons wich are pretty good) what kind of undead are best for making a few strong as hell ones (assuming i didnt read it wrong and if i have a +5 cha bonus i could have 90 HD of undead)

new to the forums if im not getting something please be brutal and let me know ;)

Eh. Dread necro is not bad. Its great for having a lot of undead, but having a lot of undead isn't that great. Its not true full caster great, but its generally better than most non-casters.


Hint - Take tomb tainted soul as your first feat. (Free unlimited healing forever for yourself)


brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.p... This handbook is a little out of date, but it is by far the best necromancer's handbook around.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

There are plenty of prestige classes that you could take, just not a lot of them that offer full spellcasting and anything that specifically improves your raising of the dead.
but as far as fests go, if i use corpscrafter along with undead mastery, and desecration iv already got undead with +8 str, +4 dex and if i had a shrine in desecration +4 HP a HD.

Both the Corpsecrafter feat and the undead mastery ability grant enhancement bonuses, which won't stack, but all three of the extra hit point sources should, so your created undead should have +4 Str, +4 Dex, and +6 hp/HD.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

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Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
@ krusk i was planning on tomb tainted soul alrdy but the guide is amazing,

@ slagger thx for reminding me about the 2 HP/HD i forgot about for corpse crafter, and is there a reason the STR bonuses dont stack for corpse crafter and undead mastery? cause if they dont i might not take corpse crafter (2 extra hp doesnt seem worth a feat)
@ slagger thx for reminding me about the 2 HP/HD i forgot about for corpse crafter, and is there a reason the STR bonuses dont stack for corpse crafter and undead mastery? cause if they dont i might not take corpse crafter (2 extra hp doesnt seem worth a feat)

They don't stack because they're a bonus of the same type, and bonuses of the same type don't usually stack with each other (there are exceptions to this, like untyped bonuses and dodge bonuses, but enhancement isn't one of them).

Corpsecrafter is also useful if you want any of the feats that have it as a prerequisite (Nimble Bones being about the best), and even an extra 2 hp/HD is still worth it.  Undead are immune to a lot of things, but taking hit point damage isn't one of them.  You can restore a badly damaged minion for free with your touch, but if they reach 0 hp you have to go to the trouble of making a new one.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Dread Necromancers can have LOTS of HD of undead, yes, but they're gimped on spells. So take your pick. Do you want lots more HD of undead, or lots more spells? Plus keep in mind that the more HD of undead you Animate, the more GP of onyx it costs. 90HD of undead would cost 2,250 GP worth of onyx right there. If you Awaken Undead (which would count toward your Advanced Learning), which you should, you'll also have to consider the cost of outfitting your undead with gear. Usually, awakened skeletons donning weapons and armor are WAY better than mindless default skeletons with no gear.

As for what kinds of undead to create, since you have so many HD to work with, I'd recommend Animating a zombie Dragon. However, see if your DM is willing to use the rules for creating a zombie dragon from Draconomicon, instead of using the rules in the MM. Otherwise, it won't work. Zombie dragons can still fly (although with clumsy flight, they can still fly), and since they do not need to rest after 8 hours of travel (being undead), they make terrific party mounts. However, that's pretty much all they're good for, since they can still only make 1 action per round. I recommend (if you can) getting at least an adult silver dragon, if your DM allows it. :p Do some in-game research and look for a dragon graveyard, or a dragon corpse.

Skeletal ettins are good for low-level, but they easily get outshined by brutes with more HD and cool attacks that get turned back on with Awaken Undead, like Improved Grab. You could technically find 3 corpses with 20 HD each (the max for skeletons), and save the rest for your dragon.

So your level 10 dread necromancer with 20 Charisma could be walking around with 3 skeletal Titans and 1 Adult zombie silver dragon. :p But if your DM is competent, I don't see that happening. The zombie dragon thing is a bit of a stretch as it is, but a level 10 party is not likely to come across any Titans without planar travel, and putting your entire party at high risk of TPK. :p

I recomend animating/controlling a wight. It does what you say, then you tell it "Make a bunch of spawn and tell them to not eat me".


Nice little workaround for getting a bigger army than you normally could.


They make great undead lieutennants and second in commands for your undead army.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

One of my favorite 3.5 characters was a Dread Necro 5/Crusader 1/Jade Phoenix Mage 2 (Tome of Battle). I had a few skeletons running around, but the fun came in with Retrieve Spell (sac turn or rebuke attempts to get spells back from Complete Champion) and JPM's ability Arcane Wrath (sac spells to boost your melee damage) with Tomb Tainted Soul.Cool
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for the Dread Necro's Advanced Learning feature, remember that you can take Ecclectic Learning instead (either PHB2 or Complete Mage, AFB atm), which lets you pick any Sorc/Wiz spell but it is one level higher spell level than normal.  For instance you could get Greater Teleport with your 16th level Advanced Learning, as an 8th level spell. (or is it 15th level advanced?, in which case you'd have to get by with just Teleport).

And becoming a Lich without paying for it = awesome, especially if your DM realizes that their are more bonuses to being a lich than is presented in the class's features that you should get since it does say you get the template.
Big catch to the lich thing though. It comes at level 20, and you don't get any good class features from levels 9-19. If your campaign isn't starting in the 17+ area, its probably a good idea to pretend that wasn't there, and prestige class out.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

Big catch to the lich thing though. It comes at level 20, and you don't get any good class features from levels 9-19. If your campaign isn't starting in the 17+ area, its probably a good idea to pretend that wasn't there, and prestige class out.

There really aren't a lot of attractive prestige classes for the dread necromancer, though.  You've got some interesting sidelines to explore, but nothing much that builds very well on your existing class abilities.

Onthe other hand, staying in the class means that you get a steady stream of useful upgrades (even if they're not the most exciting ones ever), avoid diluting any of your class abilities like the familiar or enervating touch, and are free to spend your skill points and feats on whatever you like.  And becoming a lich is a much cooler capstone ability than most of the other classes receive, if you eventually get there.



The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.