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8383 No. 8383 ID: 5b4b49

I'll be honest; I love D&D 3.5. I also love Pathfinder. I really do. But there are some things that don't make sense. Many of them are poked fun at fairly often, such as alignment or how positive and negative energy work.

But what about the spell levels? This isn't about Vancian casting being weird, this is about the spells themselves.

I just realized that Animate Dead, the quintessential necromancy spell, is fairly high-level in D&D - AND IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE. In PF it has a 50-gp price tag per corpse animated! That makes it good as a 2nd-level spell or even 1st-level spell.

I wish to begin a project for the sake of my own idea of common sense. Raising and lowering the levels of any spells that seem to be way too weak or powerful for their current spell level. Likely, I will be lowering all the direct-damage spells by one level.

I do realize that this once again screws over non-casters. But it's one of the first steps we can take to balancing the system just a bit better. I have some ideas for fighting men too, though nothing definitive yet. Vital Strike tree as free bonus feats, maybe?

Is anyone with me on this?

Pic related to my revelation. No name for now because not sure what to go by.
No. 8384 ID: 5b4b49

OP here, I realized I screwed up the price tag. 25 gp per hit die. Still not going to be something most of the 1st-level characters can hope to shell out routinely, until 2nd level at least.
No. 8385 ID: 87d18a

I'd mix some difficulty bits... Perhaps Animate Dead is the large-scale version, and a second level version gets you one zombie or skeleton? Or a version that creates temporary zombies for a fight, but they deanimate after a set time?
No. 8387 ID: 07ede0

The first one's been done, a few times that I've seen. Mostly in 3rd-Party books. The second idea I kinda like, maybe a time limit in minutes and/or a variation that's in hours if you have a material component like a gold piece (pay their way back across the threshold of life and death, the reverse of some cultures!). Say 1 minute/1 hour per caster level?

Although, I personally think that the GP limit and hit dice limit (4/hit die) could still limit it enough.
No. 8388 ID: 87d18a

I suspect it's there for balance, then... If the necromancer can just walk over to the graveyard, spend ten minutes, and triple or quadruple his CR due to a legion of skeletons, it kind of puts everyone else in the dark about to be eaten by skeletons.
At the higher levels you normally get Animate Dead, that's more of a 'Shiny Delaying Trick So You Can Finish Sacrificing The Virgin/Undo The Lock And Get The Macguffin/Etc.'
I like the lower level one and the speedy but time limited one for this- Any low level necromancer can have a skeleton or zombie hanging around the place, probably several, but has to build them up with regular visits, stealing one or two bodies at a time to build up his army rather than walking in and getting his HD each and every time (then letting the excess go; that's what Command Undead is for- Just let the extras wreak havoc).
No. 8391 ID: 5b4b49

Which is why I said 2nd-level first. As a 1st-level spell, it would definitely have some balance issues due to army of evil, but skeletons and zombies aren't exactly the toughest bastards to begin with (unless, of course, you have the wrong weapon), so I can see it being 2nd level still. 4th level is just a waste of ink in the book, I'd say...and I can't think of a reason why a cleric would get it faster than a necromancer wizard.
No. 8392 ID: 132b99

because the cleric is funneling the powers of a god rather then using his own raw energy.
No. 8393 ID: 5b4b49

The cleric is also not generally a necromancer-type character as much as one who smites the undead. 3.x (or perhaps an earlier edition) changed that, sure, but I think that'd be a special case as a result of a domain, as opposed to automatically available to any cleric...
No. 8394 ID: 87d18a

Second edition clerics were also big on making undead... Just usually PC clerics were about smiting them.
In fact, one of the big bumps the cleric had over an arcane necromancer was being able to Rebuke them.
>wait for wizard to make awesome funky undead
>Walk into tower, slap his shit around
>Rebuke/Command undead until you get control of it
>Drink delicious wizard tears

I think 'Temporary undead servitor (+servitors/couple of levels)' works for a first, 'Permanent Single Servitor' for a second, then 'Bunch and a half of servitors' for a third. Lets you feel necromancery at first level, start building a stable at third, and get into the whole skeleton army dealy at fifth, which is reasonably low.
No. 8395 ID: 72d49b

Well if you look at historical legend, the quintessential necromancy spell is actually Speak to Dead. That said, here's necromancy from a project I've more or less abandoned, but which I feel does this well. The dots listed could be considered equivalent to spell levels.

Raise Corpses (•)
Cost: All
You lose all your mana. For every 5 mana lost this way, a corpse is raised into a zombie. It has the same physical abilities as it had before death, but is now mindless and strives only to destroy life. These undead are not loyal to you.

Necrostorm (••)
Prerequisite: Raise Corpse
Cost: All
You start a necrostorm. You lose all your mana, as does every mage caught within the perimeter of the storm. For every 5 mana lost this way, a corpse is raised into a zombie. It has the same physical abilities as it had before death, but is now mindless and strives only to destroy life. These undead are not loyal to you. The storm has a radius equal to the mana you lost in its creation in yards or meters. The storm raises only corpses in its area, and if it withdraws mana in excess of what would be required to raise all the corpses in its area, it persists. It loses one mana per hour while persisting in this manner. It is subject to being moved by high-atmosphere winds like any other storm.

Control Undead (•••••)
Cost: 12
You control a single undead being. It no longer attempts to kill you, and you may direct it to kill specific others. Directing it to do anything other than kill has no effect.

Direct Necrostorm (••••• ••)
You have some control over the drifting of necromantic energy.
Prerequisite: Necrostorm
Cost: 20
Roll: Channeling
Target necrostorm drifts a number of yards equal to your channeling roll in the direction of your choice.

Lichdom (••••• •••••)
Cost: all mana, 13 innocent lives
By painfully killing thirteen innocents (usually babies) and binding their souls together with your mana, you create a phylactery, which houses your soul. If the phylactery is destroyed, your soul returns to your body. If your body is destroyed, you may recreate your body at the location of your phylactery. Your body can be created with a single hit point on the first day, and after that it regains 1d6 hit points until you choose to begin using your body once more, at which point it regains health as normal. Your new body has 0 mana when you begin using it, even if you had mana remaining when you were destroyed.

Note that control is much more difficult than creation. This was intentional to justify necromancy being inherently evil and not overpowered, as well as to make it a credible threat in the setting but still allow it as an option.
No. 8396 ID: 132b99

well in D&D necromancy ISN'T inherently evil. army of skeletons tirelessly working fields and growing crops.
No. 8397 ID: 87d18a

Depends on the setting, whether negative energy is made out of pure noncreation, just antithetical to life with a tendency to spread (like fire), or is just made out of ghosts.
All sorts of variables, which we can mostly skip over and just assume people will stick in in houserules. Possibly add some sidebars.
No. 8398 ID: 885ee8

It totes is. Not every spell in the necromancy school is evil, but all the ones that involve making undead are; they've all got the [evil] descriptor, so casting them counts as an evil act.
No. 8399 ID: 87d18a

So did Deathwatch.
I suspect error, or holdover from Greyhawk, a setting where raising the dead (not sure about this, but vaguely remember something) involved finding a random spirit and sticking it in the body to animate it.
No. 8400 ID: 132b99

well basic skeletons and zombies are powered by negative energy, only higher order undead exude it. such as liches.
also skeleton and zombies listen to their creator while higher order undead need ether a deal or some way to control after creation.
No. 8401 ID: 87d18a

Where's the line drawn, and on what criterion?
I could see a few variant bits (What happens if you go 'RISE MY MINIONS with the first level spell without dead bodies around) but I think zombie/skeleton/ghoul +/-templates is the way to go for the simple stuff and anything more complicated needs a specific ritual to make(not a specific spell for each, but a different kind of thing with different requirements.)
Or am I trying to stick too much complication on?
I just want people to have to work to get an antiparty of undeadness as opposed to magicking up four random corpses and getting a death knights, a huecueva, a Drowned, and a Famine Spirit.
No. 8402 ID: 87d18a

This thread was made to get gets, wasn't it.
Testing 3DS functionality, limited.
No. 8403 ID: 07ede0


OP here, not sure what you mean? Are you saying I'm trolling?
No. 8406 ID: 72d49b

Sure. And in Dark Sun all magic is evil, unless you're a preserver.

Except those labels are totally arbitrary.
No. 8410 ID: 120db2

Nah, just noting gettage.

As a side note, possibly a side buff or separate spell to continue the 'Lots and lots of quick, cheap but time-limited servitors' side of the tree?
Or too weak of an effect for a spell slot, or irritating to work?
I could see running zombie swarms, where you have a bunch all packed together...
Other idea would be having an even shittier kind of undead than zombies (call them Husks or something) that has the option to be created without a body around, but is automatically limited on time(Takes damage every round at a low rate, troublesome to heal it, some kind of attack that directly gives it HP back for hitting things or something to extend the clock.)
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