Everybody talks about the necromancer who robs tombs and raises armies of undead to conquer and destroy. But what about the other side of necromancy?
This is the purpose of the Gravekeeper.
* Alignment: Any nonevil
* Skills: Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks, Spellcraft/Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks, Diplomacy 4 ranks
* Feats: Spirit Sense
* Spells: Able to cast Speak with Dead and Animate Dead
* Hit Dice: d6
* Class Skills: Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Profession, Spellcraft
* Skill Points: 2 + Int/level
Level 1: BAB +0; Fort +1; Ref +0; Will +2; Practiced Mortician, Seance; +1 level of existing class
Level 2: BAB +1; Fort +1; Ref +0; Will +3; Life for Unlife; +1 level of existing class
Level 3: BAB +1; Fort +2; Ref +1; Will +3; Aura of Undeath, Improved Seance; +1 level of existing class
Level 4: BAB +2; Fort +2; Ref +1; Will +4; Death to Half-Life, Awaken Undead; +1 level of existing class
Level 5: BAB +2; Fort +3; Ref +2; Will +4; Soul's Might; +1 level of existing class
* Weapon/Armor proficiency: Gains proficiency with scythe and light armor
* Spells: Add Gravekeeper levels to character's spellcaster class to determine spells known and spells/day (if more than one spellcaster class, must choose which class to apply the increase to for each Gravekeeper level)
* Practiced Mortician: The Gravekeeper ignores spell failure chance when casting Necromancy spells while wearing light armor
* Seance: The Gravekeeper may make a Diplomacy check (with a bonus equal to their Gravekeeper level) before creating, animating, or controlling undead (DC 10 + HD of the undead) to make the undead friendly toward the Gravekeeper and allies when the spell or ability is used (even if the undead would not be under the Gravekeeper's control), and they are automatically under the Gravekeeper's control. If the Diplomacy check is failed, the undead behaves as normal for the effect.
* Life for Unlife: For Necromancy spells that animate or create undead with a costly material component, the Gravekeeper may substitute 1 hit point per 10g of the component's cost. Hit points lost this way can't be healed (naturally or magically), but are regained when the created/animated undead is destroyed. The Gravekeeper must succeed a Seance check in order to use this ability.
* Aura of Undeath: At 3rd level, the Gravekeeper projects an aura that bolsters undead similar to Desecrate spell; aura extends 10ft/Gravekeeper level and only affects ally undead
* Improved Seance: The cooperation of the undead reduces the amount of power the Gravekeeper must use to keep them animated and in check, allowing the Gravekeeper to animate and control more undead than normal. Undead that are created, animated, or controlled with a successful Seance check count as having half as many HD, rounded up, when determining the number of HD worth of undead the Gravekeeper controls. For example: a Mohrg (14HD) that was controlled after a successful Seance check would only count as having 7HD for the purposes of how many HD of undead the Gravekeeper can control.
* Awaken Undead: The Gravekeeper may use Awaken Undead once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level equal to Gravekeeper level plus Cleric, Wizard, Sorceror, and Dread Necromancer levels)
* Death to Half-life: Once per week, a Gravekeeper may give himself two negative levels to partially restore life to a dead creature (Negative levels gained this way can't be cured naturally or magically, but can't become permanent level loss). The restored creature is the same as it was in life (it regains all feats, skills, racial and class abilities, and ability scores), except its type becomes Undead. The effect lasts for one week or until the restored creature is destroyed, and may be dismissed as a standard action; when the effect ends, the Gravekeeper regains the negative levels used to activate the ability. The Gravekeeper must succeed a Seance check in order to use this ability.
* Soul's Might: A Gravekeeper may draw upon the power of a spirit or other incorporeal undead, though the undead must be willing. With a successful Seance check, they receive a +2 bonus to all ability scores (if one or more of the undead's ability scores would be higher after this bonus, those scores instead become the same as the undead's), and gains a deflection bonus to their AC equal to their Charisma modifier. The Gravekeeper's attacks ignore armor as if it were an incorporeal creature, and they are immune to all effects that an Undead creature would be immune to. The Gravekeeper may use this ability three times per day, but may not use if for more than 5 + Charisma modifier rounds in a single day. When the ability's effect ends, the Gravekeeper is fatigued (though they ignore the fatigue penalties during later uses of the ability).
* Code of Conduct: Gravekeepers will not defile resting places in any way, though they may take items if the local culture allows it and they follow the proper customs (such as exchanging their own weapon for a similar weapon from a dwarf's tomb, as a dwarf would prefer for their weapon to be used in battle). They must respect those who have been buried, and may not create undead from a buried corpse without the consent of that person's spirit. They may freely animate the corpses of animals and those who try to harm them without cause (such as bandits), though many still prefer to obtain consent before doing so. If an animated undead under a Gravekeeper's control is destroyed, they must do what they can to give the undead an appropriate burial.
* Ex-Gravekeepers: A Gravekeeper who violates the code of conduct by defiling a resting site or forcefully animating a buried corpse, or by using the Undead they've summoned for evil purposes, loses all Gravekeeper abilities, and may not regain the abilities or take further levels in the class until they atone. In addition to the atonement spell, the ex-Gravekeeper must remain in and guard a tomb or other burial site for 1 year per level of Gravekeeper that they had.
I was going for a class that seeks permission of the undead they're animating before doing so, with some abilities thrown in to give more of an "exchange" flavor; rather than just ripping a body out of the ground or casket and making it your servant, you ask it for help and can offer to give some of your life energy (the "permanent" hp loss from Life for Unlife and the negative levels from Death to Half-life).
Any thoughts for new or altered abilities would be appreciated, as well as suggestions for a better name. If it helps, I'd intended to show this to my DM for something that my Half-Vampire Dread Necromancer could prestige into.