Death
Table of Contents
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Spheres of Power
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You may command the powers of unlife.

Ghost Strike [Core]

As a standard action, you may make a ghost strike, summoning negative energy and throwing it at a target within Medium range as a ranged touch attack. A ghost strike is considered a negative energy death effect, and as such has no effect on undead, constructs, elementals, and other creatures immune to such things (although some talents provide exceptions). Ghost strike effects do not stack with themselves.

Some Death talents are designated (ghost strike), which provide you with additional types of ghost strikes. You gain the following ghost strike when you gain the Death sphere:

Exhausting Strike [Core]

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The subject of your ghost strike becomes fatigued for 1 round per caster level (Fortitude negates). You may spend a spell point to increases this effect to making the target exhausted for 1 minute per caster level (Fortitude negates). On a successful save, the target is still fatigued for 1 round. Unlike regular fatigue and exhaustion, these conditions end as soon as the duration expires.

Reanimate [Core]

As a standard action, you may touch an intact dead body and spend a spell point to reanimate it as a zombie or skeleton (depending on the composition of the body in question) for 1 minute per caster level. This creature gains the zombie or skeleton template and obeys your commands, although only simple commands such as “go”, “stay”, “attack”, or “guard” are understandable. A reanimated body cannot speak and has no knowledge or ability to think and so cannot answer questions or reveal anything it knew in life. When the duration expires, the body collapses until reanimated again. It does not regain hit points between reanimations. If reduced to 0 hp, the body collapses and is destroyed; it cannot be reanimated again.

You may have a total number of reanimated creatures active at any one time whose combined Hit Dice does not exceed twice your caster level. If you attempt to reanimate a creature that would push your total beyond this limit, your reanimated creatures cease to be reanimated sequentially from oldest to newest until the Hit Dice total is low enough to permit the new reanimated creature. You cannot reanimate a creature with more Hit Dice than twice your caster level, and creatures with more than 20 racial Hit Dice can never become skeletons or zombies.


Death Talents

Corpse Bomb

You may make any of your ghost strikes against any corpse capable of being raised as a skeleton or zombie, or against any corporeal mindless undead under your control. The corpse explodes in a 20-ft. radius, affecting all creatures in range as if they had been struck by the chosen ghost strike; if the ghost strike does not allow a saving throw, creatures affected are allowed a Reflex save to negate its effects.

The corpse or undead collapses and is destroyed; it cannot be reanimated or targeted by another Corpse Bomb.

Corpse Manipulation

You can alter a corpse in one of the following ways by touching it as a standard action:

  • You grow flesh on a decomposed or skeletonized corpse, providing it with sufficient flesh that it can be animated as a zombie rather than a skeleton. The corpse looks as it did just before death. The new flesh is not fit for eating.
  • You decompose the flesh from a corpse, leaving behind a perfectly cleaned skeleton.
  • You can spend a spell point to touch a collapsed or destroyed undead corpse, mending it so it is a valid target to be reanimated again.
  • You can spend a spell point to preserve the remains of a dead creature for 1 day per caster level so that they do not decay. Doing so effectively extends the time limit on raising that creature from the dead. Days spent under the influence of this spell don’t count against the time limit. Additionally, this makes transporting a slain (and thus decaying) comrade less unpleasant. This ability also works on severed body parts and the like.
  • You can reshape the dead body look like another creature or even a specific person so long as you have firsthand knowledge of how that creature or person actually looks. You can make the corpse one size larger or smaller or change its apparent type, gender, or age. Creatures interacting with the corpse may make a Will save to detect the deception. If you chose to make the corpse look like a specific individual anyone who knows that individual can make a Will save to realize that the corpse is not actually that person. However, if a creature fails its Will save by 5 or less they believe the corpse is that of someone who closely resembled the person they knew rather than a deliberate fake.

Cryptic Strike [Core]

As a standard action, you may make a single ranged or melee attack coupled with a ghost strike. If the attack hits, the target is also affected by the ghost strike.

Dark Sacrifice

Whenever you would take hit point damage that would reduce you to 0 hit points or less, you can spend 1 spell point as an immediate action to sacrifice a mindless undead creature you control within close range (or the range of your Master’s Presence, whichever is greater), destroying it instantly; reduce the damage you take by the sacrificed undead’s current hit points (to a minimum of 0).

Empowered Reanimate [Core]

All creatures you reanimate gain a +4 enhancement bonus to their Strength and Dexterity.

Expanded Necromancy [Core]

When you reanimate a creature, you may reanimate it as a bloody skeleton, burning skeleton, fast zombie, or plague zombie. When reanimating a creature in this way, they count as twice their Hit Dice against the total amount you may have reanimated at once.

Gravetongue

You may spend a spell point as a standard action to gain the ability to speak with undead and corpses for 1 minute per caster level. You can communicate with, ask questions of, and receive answers from them. A mindless undead or corpse spoken to with gravetongue does not maintain any memory of its life or death - only the time that has elapsed since its death (and reanimation). A normal corpse’s sense of its surroundings is limited, so it won’t be able to give (or recognize) detailed descriptions of creatures or answer questions about events outside its immediate vicinity. The spell doesn’t make undead creatures any more friendly or cooperative than normal, and while mindless undead and corpses will always answer truthfully, their ability to answer more than simple questions is restricted. You do not need to share a language with the target.

Greater Ghost Strike [Core]

When making a ghost strike, you may spend an additional spell point to form your ghost strike into a Close-range cone, allowing you to make an attack roll against every target within this area.

Greater Reanimate [Core]

Increase the total Hit Dice of creatures you may have reanimated at once by an additional 1 per caster level. You may select this talent up to 3 times.

Haunting Apparition

You may place a ghost strike of your choice onto an adjacent, unoccupied area up to one 5-ft. square per two caster levels (minimum one 5-ft. square), that lashes out at the first creature who enter its area, similar to a haunt.

Any creature who steps onto that square is affected by your ghost strike. If the ghost strike does not allow a saving throw, the creature affected is allowed a Will save to negate its effects.

A haunting apparition lasts for 10 minutes per caster level before becoming inert. It shares your alignment, and its Perception DC and hp are equal to its save DC. You may only have one active haunt apparition at a time; placing a second haunting apparition deactivates the first. You may select this talent multiple times. Each time it is taken, increase the number of haunting apparitions you may have active at once by 1.

Icy Grip

When you use a ghost strike, instead of unleashing an attack yourself, you may have an undead you control within range deliver the attack as a melee touch attack sometime within the next round. This charge is ‘held’ through the round; if the undead gets multiple attacks, it can attempt to deliver the touch attack additional times if the first attempt failed. If you spend an additional spell point, you may grant a use of this ghost strike to each undead you control, but multiple undead cannot affect the same target with the same ghost strike that round.

Killing Curse [Core]

Your ghost strike can rip the very soul from the living. If a target fails their saving throws against your ghost strike 3 times within a 1-minute period, they immediately die (Fortitude negates). If a ghost strike does not allow a save, it is not usable with this talent.

Lingering Necromancy [Core]

When you reanimate a corpse or corpses, they remain for 1 hour per caster level instead of 1 minute per caster level.

Mass Reanimate [Core]

When using your reanimate ability, you may spend an additional spell point to reanimate multiple creatures at once. All corpses to be reanimated must be within Close range. Your Hit Dice limits apply to the total number you may reanimate at once with this ability.

Master’s Presence

You can telepathically order and communicate with undead creatures within close range that you control. You do not need line of sight or effect to maintain this connection.

You can select this talent up to 3 times; each time you do after the first, increase its range by one step (close to medium, medium to long).

Necrotic Senses [Core]

As a full-round action, you may concentrate on one undead creature under your control. This allows you to perceive that creature’s surroundings as if you were standing where that creature was. While you may use the creature’s special sense (i.e., Darkvision, etc.), you must use your own Perception skill if making a check. Only targets completely under your control are valid; charmed undead are not truly under your control, and as such as such do not qualify.

Reanimated Warriors

Choose a combat talent, combat feat, or teamwork feat you possess. Undead you reanimate and control gain the benefit of this feat when they are within close range of you (or the range of your Master’s Presence, whichever is greater). You cannot choose a feat that has another feat as a prerequisite nor feats that grant open-ended bonuses (such as Extra Combat Talent), but your undead do not otherwise need to meet the feat’s prerequisites.

Whenever you rest and recover spell points, you may change the feat or talent chosen. You may take this talent multiple times; each time you do, you may grant an additional combat talent, combat feat, or teamwork feat to your undead.

Shroud

Whenever you succeed on an attack roll made as part of a ghost strike, you can choose to mark the affected creature with necrotic energy as a free action. If a marked creature dies within close range (or the range of your Master’s Presence, whichever is greater) within 1 round per caster level, you can spend 1 spell point as an immediate action to reanimate its body. If you possess Sustained Reanimation, you may use this talent to animate the body without spending a spell point if you sustain it via that talent. You can only have a number of creatures marked at a time equal to your casting ability modifier (minimum 1).

Sustained Reanimation

When you reanimate a corpse, you may do so without spending a spell point, but the duration is changed to ‘concentration’. A sustained undead only counts as half their Hit Dice (rounded up, minimum 1) against the total amount you may have reanimated at once. You can never have more than 1 sustained undead at a time.

Taint Soul

Whenever you succeed on a ghost strike, the creature affected has all healing effects used on it halved for 1 round per 2 caster levels. If you spend an additional spell point, it cannot heal hit point damage by any means for the duration, including fast healing and regeneration.

In addition, you can touch a willing creature as a standard action to cause them to be healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy for 1 minute (Fortitude negates if unwilling); as normal, fast healing is unaffected.

Tomb of Flesh

You can make a melee touch attack against a living creature up to your size to attempt to absorb it into your body, similar to the swallow whole ability (Reflex negates).

Being absorbed causes a creature to take negative energy damage each round equal to 1d6 + 1d6 for every three caster levels you have (undead are not affected). An absorbed creature gains the grappled condition, while you do not. An absorbed creature can try to cut its way free with any light slashing or piercing weapon (the amount of cutting damage required to get free is equal to 1/10 your total hit points), or it can just try to escape as if escaping a grapple (using your CMD or your MSD, whichever is higher). The armor class of your interior is 10 + 1/2 your caster level, with no modifiers for size or Dexterity. If an absorbed creature cuts its way out, you cannot use this talent again until the damage is healed.

Alternatively, you can touch a corpse or undead that you control as a move action to absorb it into your body or to expel an absorbed corpse or undead into an adjacent square. While absorbed, an undead cannot use any of its senses or take any actions, and time passes normally - corpses rot and reanimate’s duration continues to pass.

You can have a number of corpses or controlled undead absorbed at a time equal to 1 plus 1 for every 3 caster levels you have. You can spend a spell point to expel all absorbed corpses and undead with a single swift action. While you have at least one undead absorbed, you give off an aura that can be detected by divine undead equal to the highest Hit Dice undead absorbed, but your appearance is not otherwise changed.

Creatures and bodies storied within your Tomb of Flesh are stored in an extra-dimensional space; you do not increase in size no matter how many creatures and bodies are stored inside you.

Undead Whisperer

Choose any 2 tricks + 1 per 5 caster levels that can be taught to an animal or the Pose as Scenery trick (see the Handle Animal skill). Mindless undead you control are able to perform these tricks when ordered to as a move action. This does not allow you to train undead for a purpose, “push” an undead to perform a task it normally wouldn’t be able to, or accomplish other effects of the Handle Animal skill.

In addition, when you attempt to reanimate a creature that would push your Hit Dice total beyond your limit, you choose which creatures cease to be reanimated or released from your control (rather than following sequential order).

Controlling Undead: Normally, skeletons or zombies obey your spoken commands. They can be made to follow you, or they can be made to remain in an area and attack any creature (or just a specific kind of creature) entering the place.

Versatile Undead

Undead you reanimate and control gain one skill rank per caster level, which they may only spend in skills keyed off of either Strength or Dexterity.

If you possess Undead Whisperer, you may grant your undead ranks in any skill rather than just skills with Strength or Dexterity as their key modifier. However, either you or the creature (when it was alive) must possess/ have possessed ranks in any mental skill before it can be gained. The undead cannot possess more ranks in a skill than either you possess or that it possessed in life. Commanding undead to make basic use of their skills (such as crafting with the Craft skill or performing music with the Perform skill) does not require a specific trick.

If you possess Master’s Presence, your undead may use your skill ranks in place of their own for any valid skill check, so long as they are within your Master’s Presence range. This cannot be used for mental skills without Undead Whisperer.


Ghost Strikes

Bleeding Wounds (ghost strike) [Core]

You may make a ghost strike that deals 1 bleed damage per 2 caster levels (minimum: 1; no save). Targets take damage on the round they are hit, plus each additional round until the bleed effect stops (usually through the Heal skill or an application of magical healing). You may spend a spell point before making this ghost strike to improve this effect to 1 bleed damage per caster level (minimum: 2).

Cannibalistic Urge (ghost strike) [curse]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that fills a creature with unnatural urges for flesh (Will negates). On a failed save, the subject is staggered for 1 round and takes nonlethal damage equal to 1d8 per caster level. Similar to starvation damage, creatures that take an amount of nonlethal damage equal to their total hit points begin to take lethal damage instead, and this nonlethal damage cannot be recovered until 24 hours have passed or the target spends a full-round action consuming the corpse of a creature with Intelligence 3 or higher - until then, not even magic that restores hit points heals this damage. This is considered a curse effect, and can only be removed by Break Enchantment, remove curse, or similar effect.

Command Undead (ghost strike) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that grants you a measure of control over an undead creature (Will negates). For 1 minute per caster level, an unintelligent undead creature falls under your control or an intelligent undead becomes friendly toward you. You can give an intelligent undead creature orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. Retries are not allowed. An intelligent commanded undead never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing. Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the commanded undead (regardless of its Intelligence) breaks this effect. Your commands are not telepathic; the undead creature must be able to hear you. Intelligent undead remember they were manipulated and may seek revenge.

Curse (ghost strike, curse) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that bestows a permanent curse on the target (Will negates). Curses may be removed with the Break Enchantment Life talent, upon your death, or by your choice as a free action, but otherwise cannot be dispelled. Choose one of the following effects to bestow upon the target (with GM permission you may invent your own curse, but it should not be more powerful than these): the target suffers 1d6 points of non-lethal damage every minute spent in bright light; the target becomes blind except when in areas of dim light or darkness; the target must eat and drink twice as much as normal or begin suffering from starvation; the target becomes vulnerable to a single energy type (this cannot affect a creature already immune to that energy type—apply vulnerability before protection or resistance); the target suffers the penalties (but not bonuses) of advancing to the next age category.

Drain (ghost strike) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that imposes 1 temporary negative level on the target for one hour per caster level (no save). This increases by 1 die size per 5 caster levels (1d2, 1d3, 1d4, and 1d6). Unlike with other ghost strikes, negative levels stack. While normally negative levels have a chance to become permanent and can kill a target whose negative levels equal its Hit Dice, these negative levels do not last long enough to become permanent, and if a negative level would reduce the creature to 0 Hit Dice, the creature instead takes 4 points of Constitution drain for the duration of the effect. If a negative level lasts longer than 1 day, the target must pass a Fortitude save per negative level or have the negative level become permanent. If this ability is used on an undead creature, it instead grants the creature 5 temporary hit points per negative level, which last for 1 hour.

Inflict Disease (ghost strike) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that causes the target to contract a disease (Fortitude negates). The subject contracts one of the following diseases: blinding sickness, bubonic plague, cackle fever, filth fever, leprosy, mindfire, red ache, shakes, or slimy doom. The disease is contracted immediately (the onset period does not apply). Use the disease’s listed frequency and save DC to determine further effects.

Lich Strike (ghost strike)

You may spend 2 spell points to make a ghost strike that paralyzes the target for 1 round per 2 caster levels on a failed Fortitude save. A creature is allowed a new saving throw each round as a full-round action to end this effect early. Anyone paralyzed by a lich strike seems dead, though a DC 20 Perception check or a DC 15 Heal check reveals that the victim is still alive.

Manipulate Undeath (ghost strike) [Core]

You may make a ghost strike that harms undead, dealing 1d8 damage per 2 caster levels (minimum: 1d8, Will half). You may spend a spell point to instead heal the undead for this amount.

Necrotic Feeding (ghost strike) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that, when it strikes a target with -1 or fewer hit points, kills it instantly (Will negates). If the target fails their saving throw, you gain temporary hit points equal to twice the target’s Hit Dice, as well as a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity, which increases to +4 if the target has 8 HD or more and +6 if the target has 16 HD or more. These effects last for 10 minutes per HD of the slain creature. Bonuses from multiple creature do not stack; only the highest bonuses apply.

Poltergeist (ghost strike)

You may make a ghost strike that attaches a vengeful poltergeist to the target, disrupting their actions. Whenever the target makes a d20 roll within 1 round per caster level, you can choose for them take a -3 penalty to the roll, ending this effect. This penalty is increased by 1 for every 6 caster levels you have. If you spend a spell point when you use this ghost strike, you can impose the penalty on up to one d20 roll the target makes each round for the effect’s duration, and imposing the penalty does not end the effect. A creature can only be affected by one poltergeist at a time.

Sickening (ghost strike) [Core]

You may make a ghost strike that causes the target to be sickened for 1 round per caster level (Fortitude negates). You may spend a spell point to cause the target to instead become nauseated. On a successful save, the target is still sickened for 1 round.

Vampiric Strike (ghost strike) [Core]

You may spend a spell point to make a ghost strike that deals 1d6 damage per 2 caster levels to the target (minimum: 1d6) and grants yourself an equal number of temporary hit points that last 1 minute per caster level (Fortitude half). You cannot gain more temporary hit points in this manner than the subject’s current hit points + their Constitution score. If you strike multiple targets at once with the same vampiric strike (for example, through the Greater Ghost Strike talent) you cannot gain more temporary hit points than 3 per caster level (minimum: 6). As always, temporary hit points do not stack.

Weakening (ghost strike) [Core]

You may make a ghost strike that inflicts a 1d4 point penalty to the target’s Strength or Dexterity (your choice, Fortitude negates) for 1 round per level. You may spend a spell point to increase this reduction by half your caster level (minimum: 1) and cause a successful Fortitude save to only halve the effect instead of negate it. This cannot reduce the target’s Strength or Dexterity scores to less than 1.


Death Feats

Click the header above to visit the Sphere-Focused Feats page. This section includes feats that directly improve or rely upon this sphere.


Advanced Death Talents

Click the header above to visit the Advanced Talents page. This page includes talents that are more powerful than the ones presented on this page - but remember, Advanced Talents are only available with GM permission.


Death Drawbacks

Click the header above to see the Sphere-Specific Drawbacks for this sphere. If you're using the optional Casting Tradition rules, Drawbacks allow you to acquire one or more bonus talents in a sphere in exchange for a limit on using this sphere.


Archetypes Specializing In Death

-Bonewright

Bonewrights are Armorists who learn how to turn bones and corpses into weapons.

-Cursed Stranger

Cursed Strangers are Gunslingers who use cursed bullets that can debuff their foes.

-Dread Crusader

Dread Crusaders are Mageknights who use Cryptic Strikes to weaken their enemies.

-Famine Spirit

Famine Spirits are Shifters who use an increasingly-dangerous bite attack to infect their enemies.

-Gravecrawler

Gravecrawlers are Symbiats infested by worm-like aberrations who implant drones and use a variety of swarm-based powers.

-Jikininki

Jikininki are Rangers who can devour fallen enemies and gain increasingly powerful stealth abilities.

-Soul Adept

Soul Adepts are Elementalists who can transform into wraith-like forms and use Ghostly Admixtures to affect incorporeal creatures.

-Spectral Infiltrator

Spectral Infiltrators are Rogues and Unchained Rogues that gain a selection of ghost-like powers, including the ability to turn incorporeal for a short time.


Skeleton and Zombies

Skeletons and Zombies lose all class levels (races that only gain class levels are treated as if they had 1 racial Hit Die) as well as all skill ranks and feats. They lose all special attacks and special qualities of the base creature, except extraordinary special qualities that improve their melee or ranged attacks. Zombies and Skeletons gain Darkvision 60 ft.

Zombies and Skeletons lose their Constitution and Intelligence scores, and change their Wisdom and Charisma scores to 10, and use Charisma instead of Constitution when determining bonus hit points.

Zombies and skeletons use Table: Skeletons and Zombies to determine their basic abilities based on their racial Hit Dice.

Table: Skeletons and Zombies

Creature Racial Hit Dice (d8’s) Average Hit Points Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Base Attack Bonus
1 4 0 0 +2 0
2 9 0 0 +3 +1
3 13 +1 +1 +3 +2
4 18 +1 +1 +4 +3
5 22 +1 +1 +4 +3
6 27 +2 +2 +5 +4
7 31 +2 +2 +5 +5
8 36 +2 +2 +6 +6/+1
9 40 +3 +3 +6 +6/+1
10 45 +3 +3 +7 +7/+2
11 49 +3 +3 +7 +8/+3
12 54 +4 +4 +8 +9/+4
13 58 +4 +4 +8 +9/+4
14 63 +4 +4 +9 +10/+5
15 67 +5 +5 +9 +11/+6/+1
16 72 +5 +5 +10 +12/+7/+2
17 76 +5 +5 +10 +12/+7/+2
18 81 +6 +6 +11 +13/+8/+3
19 85 +6 +6 +11 +14/+9/+4
20 90 +6 +6 +12 +15/+10/+5

Special Skeleton Adjustments

A skeleton gains a +2 bonus to Dexterity, DR 5/bludgeoning, immunity to cold, the Improved Initiative feat, and 2 primary claw attacks (1d4, 1d3 small). A skeleton can only fly if the base creature used magic (and not wings) to fly. A skeleton retains all natural attacks, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature, except those dependent on flesh to use.

A skeleton uses Table: Skeleton Size Bonus to determine its natural armor bonus:

Table: Skeleton Size Bonus

Skeleton Size Natural Armor Bonus (this replaces any previous natural AC)
Tiny or smaller 0
Small +1
Medium or Large +2
Huge +3
Gargantuan +6
Colossal +10

Zombie Special Qualities

Zombies gain a +2 bonus to Strength and a -2 penalty to Dexterity. They gain the Toughness feat and gain one slam attack (1d6, 1d4 small). They retain all natural attacks, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. A zombie can fly if the base creature could fly, but if its flight was powered by wings instead of magic its maneuverability is reduced to clumsy.

Zombies are naturally staggered (they may only perform a single move action or standard action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round as a charge action).

Zombies gain natural AC and bonus Hit Dice (which increase all aspects as regular Hit Dice) according to Table: Zombie Size Bonus.

Table: Zombie Size Bonus

Creature Size Natural AC (replaces any previous natural AC) Bonus Hit Dice
Tiny or smaller 0 0
Small +1 +1
Medium +2 +1
Large +3 +2
Huge +4 +4
Gargantuan +7 +6
Colossal +11 +10

Wild Magic

Wild Magic Generator

Wild Magic Table

d100 Result
1 The caster loses knowledge of any of the talents used in the effect (but not the base sphere) for the length of the effect (minimum 1 round).
2 The effect fails and the action is lost. Spell points or spell slots are not lost.
3 The caster’s heart stops beating for 1d4 days. although their body is preserved magically for that duration. During this time, the caster does not need to breath and any diseases and poisons have no effect on him until the duration ends.
4 All undead creatures within medium range of the caster must succeed on a Will save or attack the caster to the best of their ability for 1 round plus 1 round per 5 caster levels. This effect applies to any undead within range created by the triggering effect.
5 The caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or be infected with a disease per the Inflict Disease (ghost strike) talent. Roll 1d10 to determine which disease (1 blinding sickness, 2 bubonic plague, 3 cackle fever, 4 filth fever, 5 leprosy, 6 mindfire, 7 red ache, 8 shakes, 9 slimy doom, 10 roll twice and take both, ignoring further results of 10).
6 All creatures within long range of the caster that are at 0 or fewer hit points are instantly slain. This is a death effect.
7 For 1 hour per caster level, the caster exudes the scent of decaying flesh, attracting the attention of carrion feeders and causing most creatures interacting with the caster have their disposition drop by one step until the end of this effect.
8 Any undead under the control of the caster enter a rage, as a 1st level barbarian (core or unchained, the caster’s choice). Bonuses or penalties to Constitution are applied to Charisma instead. This rage lasts for 1d6 rounds. During this time, the undead remain under the caster’s control, but must attack targets within range; if no enemies are to be found, they will attack allies.
9 For 1 round per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1 negative level. All negative levels from this effect stack. The caster is included in this effect.
10 All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1 temporary negative level. This increases to 1d2 negative levels at caster level 5 and by one additional die size every 5 caster levels thereafter. These negative levels last for 1 minute per caster level and cannot cause the creature’s negative level total to equal or exceed the creature’s Hit Dice.
11 The caster emits an aura out to close range for 1d4 rounds, dealing 1d6 points of negative energy damage per 2 caster levels (minimum 1d6) to all creatures in that area at the beginning of his turn, not including the Caster. A Fortitude save halves this damage.
12 The caster takes 1d4 points of Constitution damage even if he would normally be immune to ability damage. Creatures without a Constitution score instead take Charisma damage.
13 All creatures within close range of the target or center of the target area must succeed on a Fortitude save or be nauseated 1 round per caster level.
14 The caster gains knowledge of one talent of his choice from this sphere for 1 round.
15 The caster loses his current creature type and gains the undead type for 1 minute per caster level and the caster appears as a zombie. Do not recalculate hit points, saves, or base attack bonus. Any effect dependent on having the undead type that is ongoing on the caster ends when this effect ends.
16 Undead creatures created by the effect or within close range of the caster when it is cast, for 1 hour per caster level afterwards, will explode in a deadly cloud when destroyed. When such an undead creature is destroyed, it creates a cloud out to close range, as the heavy mist option of category 2 rain per the Weather sphere for 1d6 rounds. Any creature that starts its turn inside this cloud takes 1 point of negative energy damage per caster level.
17 All creatures within medium range take bleed damage equal to caster level/2 (minimum 1) for caster level rounds or until receiving a DC 15 Heal check or any magical healing.
18 The caster takes untyped nonlethal damage equal to caster level. This damage does not force concentration checks to cast or maintain sphere effects or spells.
19 All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or become exhausted.
20 The caster loses his current creature type and gains the undead type for 1 minute per caster level and the caster appears as a skeleton. Do not recalculate hit points, saves, or base attack bonus. Any ongoing effect dependent on having the undead type that is ongoing on the caster ends when this effect ends.
21 For 10 minutes per caster level, a floating skull (Tiny-sized of a common humanoid race) follows the caster, giving sarcastic commentary on events and the caster’s actions. This skull has a 30 ft. fly speed (perfect) and is immune to all effects and damage.
22 (Combat) The caster and the nearest hostile creature that is a valid target switch bodies for 1 round per caster level. This functions as the Possession advanced talent.
23 The casting time decreases by 2 steps.
24 Undead creatures created by the effect or within close range of the caster when it is cast are staggered for 1 hour per caster level.
25 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or become fatigued. Fatigued creatures are unaffected. The caster is included in this effect.
26 All creatures within close range of the target or center of the target area must succeed on a Fortitude save or be sickened 1 round per caster level.
27 Roll twice and choose the result. Ignore any results that require rerolls. If both rolls thus ignored, there is no effect.
28 The caster is healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy for 1 minute per caster level.
29 All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or become fatigued.
30 The caster makes a single magical skill check against all Death sphere and necromancy school effects within medium range to dispel them as if using the Counterspell feat. This is resolved after the triggering effect.
31 (Combat) For 1 round per caster level, all creatures of the undead type within medium range of the caster are confused. This bypasses immunities granted by the undead type.
32 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that deals untyped damage to undead creatures equal to caster level during any turn that the begin or end within it.
33 (Combat) All allied creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or be nauseated 1 round per caster level.
34 All allied creatures within close range of the target or center of the target area must succeed on a Fortitude save or be sickened 1 round per caster level.
35 The caster loses access to this sphere for 1d6 rounds.
36 All creatures within close range of the target must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1d4 + CL/2 points of Dexterity damage that disappears after 1 round per caster level.
37 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that grants undead creatures fast healing equal to half the effect’s caster level during any turn that the begin or end within it.
38 The target must succeed on a Fortitude save or be infected with a disease per the Inflict Disease (ghost strike) talent. Roll 1d10 to determine which disease (1 blinding sickness, 2 bubonic plague, 3 cackle fever, 4 filth fever, 5 leprosy, 6 mindfire, 7 red ache, 8 shakes, 9 slimy doom, 10 roll twice and take both, ignoring further results of 10). If the target is undead, it instead inflicts this disease on the first creature it strikes with a natural attack.
39 The caster takes 1 temporary negative level. This increases to 1d2 negative levels at caster level 5 and by one additional die size every 5 caster levels thereafter. These negative levels last for 1 minute per caster level and cannot cause the caster’s negative level total to equal or exceed the caster’s Hit Dice.
40 The caster makes a single magical skill check against all Death sphere and necromancy school effects within medium range to dispel them as if using the Counterspell feat. This is resolved before the triggering effect.
41 All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1d4 + CL/2 points of Strength damage that disappears after 1 round per caster level.
42 (Combat) The caster is nauseated for 1 round.
43 The caster is compelled to exhume the body of 1 creature of the humanoid type per 3 caster levels (minimum 1). This compulsion will not cause the caster to deliberately enter dangerous situations, but overrides all other concerns. This effect persists for one day per caster level or until the compulsion is fulfilled.
44 All creatures within close range of the target or center of the target area must succeed on a Fortitude save or become exhausted.
45 Nearby dead invertebrates of Tiny size and smaller animate as undead and follow the caster for 10 minutes per caster level. Their noise imposes a penalty on Stealth checks equal to half caster level (minimum 1).
46 All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1d4 + CL/2 points of Dexterity damage that disappears after 1 round per caster level.
47 All corpses within long range of the caster (other than those targeted by the triggering effect) become undead per reanimate for 1 round per caster level. These undead are hostile toward the caster.
48 The caster takes a -4 penalty on all saves against disease for 10 minutes per caster level.
49 All creatures within close range of the target must succeed on a Will save or be paralyzed for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.
50 For 1 hour per caster level, all living creatures find the caster unsettling. A Handle Animal check with a DC equal to 10 + caster level/2 is required to make any animal approach within 20 ft. of the caster and all creatures interacting with the caster have their disposition drop by one step until the end of this effect.
51 (Combat) All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Will save or be paralyzed for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.
52 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or contract a random disease. Roll 1d10 to determine which disease (1 blinding sickness, 2 bubonic plague, 3 cackle fever, 4 filth fever, 5 leprosy, 6 mindfire, 7 red ache, 8 shakes, 9 slimy doom, 10 roll twice and take both, ignoring further results of 10). The caster is excluded from this effect.
53 Undead creatures created by the effect or within close range of the caster when it is cast, for 1 hour per caster level afterwards, will explode in a miasmic cloud when destroyed. When such an undead creature is destroyed, it creates a cloud out to close range, as the heavy mist option of category 2 rain per the Weather sphere for 1d6 rounds. Any creature that starts its turn inside this cloud must save against filth fever, using your Death sphere DC in place of the disease DC.
54 The caster takes a -4 penalty on all saves versus death effects for 10 minutes per caster level.
55 Effect receives a +2 bonus to caster level.
56 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or contract a random disease. Roll 1d10 to determine which disease (1 blinding sickness, 2 bubonic plague, 3 cackle fever, 4 filth fever, 5 leprosy, 6 mindfire, 7 red ache, 8 shakes, 9 slimy doom, 10 roll twice and take both, ignoring further results of 10). The caster is included in this effect.
57 The spirit of a dead ancestor appears behind the caster for 1 hour. This shade is a ghost, but with no magic or touch attacks; it has no ability to interact with the world at all except for speech and sight. There is a 50% chance the ghost will serve and aid the caster as best it can, but otherwise the ancestor is critical of the caster’s life choices and will spend the entire time loudly critiquing the caster’s decisions, preventing any form of stealth or sleep.
58 The casting time increases by 1 step.
59 (Combat) The caster is stunned for 1 round.
60 All creatures within close range of the target must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1d4 + CL/2 points of Strength damage that disappears after 1 round per caster level.
61 A harmless ghost follows the caster for 10 minutes per caster level, loudly lamenting its fate but taking no other actions. This ghost has hit points and saves per a Conjuration sphere companion of the effect’s caster level and reforms 1 minute after it is destroyed, continuing its lament.
62 The caster emits an aura out to close range for 1d4 rounds, dealing 1d6 points of negative energy damage per 2 caster levels (minimum 1d6) to all creatures in that area, including the caster. A Fortitude save halves this damage, though the caster does not receive a save.
63 The spell point cost of the effect increases by 1d4. If the caster does not have enough spell points, he is instead dazed until the end of his next turn.
64 (Combat) For 1d6 rounds, the caster leaves behind a shadowy trail of negative energy. Any creature that enters a square that has been occupied by the caster since the beginning of the caster’s previous turn takes negative energy damage equal to caster level. Creatures healed by negative energy are instead healed. A creature may only be affected by this ability once per turn.
65 The spell point cost of the effect increases by 1. If the caster does not have enough spell points, he is instead staggered until the end of his next turn.
66 All creatures within close range of the target must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1 temporary negative level. This increases to 1d2 negative levels at caster level 5 and by one additional die size every 5 caster levels thereafter. These negative levels last for 1 minute per caster level and cannot cause the creature’s negative level total to equal or exceed the creature’s Hit Dice.
67 All undead creatures within medium range of the target must succeed on a Will save or attack the caster to the best of their ability for 1 round plus 1 round per 5 caster levels. This effect applies to any undead created by the triggering effect.
68 For 1 day per caster level, one of the caster’s limbs (usually an arm) becomes skeletal. This has no mechanical effect, but may cause negative reactions if not concealed.
69 The casting time decreases by 1 step.
70 (Combat) The caster is dazed for 1 round.
71 The caster becomes imperceptible to undead creatures for 1 minute per caster level.
72 Undead creatures created by the effect or within close range of the caster when it is cast lose their immunity to mind-affecting effects for 1 hour per caster level. For the purpose of such effects, treat them as if they were the creatures they were in life.
73 Roll again on the Universal wild magic table.
74 The caster emits an aura of pestilence out to close range for 10 minutes per caster level. All creatures within this area, including the caster, take a -2 penalty on all saves against disease.
75 All creatures within close range of the target or center of the target area must succeed on a Fortitude save or become fatigued.
76 For 10 minutes per caster level, the caster becomes unable to control undead creatures by any means.
77 For 1 day per caster level, one of the caster’s heads becomes skeletal. This has no mechanical effect, but may cause negative reactions if not concealed.
78 The caster emits an aura of death out to close range for 10 minutes per caster level. All creatures within this area, excluding the caster, take a -2 penalty on all saves versus death effects.
79 The caster becomes unable to perceive undead creatures for 1 minute per caster level.
80 For 1 round per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1 temporary negative level. All negative levels from this effect stack. The caster is excluded from this effect.
81 As an instantaneous effect, all dead creatures within long range of the caster are animated as skeletons per the reanimate ability of the Death sphere. The caster has no control over these creatures and they do not count against the number of undead he can active at one time with his reanimate ability. These skeletons are hostile to all living creatures.
82 As an instantaneous effect, all dead creatures within long range of the caster are animated as zombies per the reanimate ability of the Death sphere. The caster has no control over these creatures and they do not count against the number of undead he can active at one time with his reanimate ability. These zombies unerringly seek out the caster to attack him until destroyed.
83 For 1 hour per caster level, all creatures within long range of the caster when this result is triggered exude the scent of decaying flesh, attracting the attention of carrion feeders and causing most creatures interacting with them to have their disposition drop by one step until the end of this effect.
84 The caster is fatigued.
85 The caster emits an aura of death out to close range for 10 minutes per caster level. All creatures within this area, including the caster, take a -2 penalty on all saves versus death effects.
86 The effect fails, but the action is not lost. Spell points or spell slots spent are lost.
87 The caster takes a number of points of ability damage to his casting attribute equal to the effect’s caster level/4 (minimum 1) even if he would normally be immune to ability damage.
88 The caster and the nearest creature that is a valid target switch bodies for 1 round per caster level. This functions as the Possession advanced talent.
89 The casting time increases by 2 steps.
90 The effect fails and the action is lost. Spell points or spell slots are lost.
91 (Combat) All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or be nauseated 1 round per caster level.
92 The spell point cost of the effect decreases by 1. If the effect did not require any spell points, the caster instead gains 1 temporary spell point that expires at the end of his next turn.
93 The caster emits an aura of pestilence out to close range for 10 minutes per caster level. All creatures within this area, excluding the caster, take a -2 penalty on all saves against disease.
94 For 1 minute per caster level, the caster emits an aura out to close range that forces all living creatures that end their turn within it to succeed on a Fortitude save or become fatigued. Fatigued creatures are unaffected. The caster is excluded from this effect.
95 Wailing spirits fill an area out to long range of the caster with their cries for 2d4 rounds. All concentration checks within this area suffer a penalty equal to half caster level (minimum 1) and all spells with verbal components suffer a 10% chance of failure. Deaf creatures are immune to this effect.
96 Effect receives a -4 penalty to caster level (minimum 1).
97 Roll twice and take both results. Ignore any results that require rerolls. If both rolls thus ignored, there is no effect.
98 The caster is exhausted.
99 (Combat) All creatures within close range of the caster must succeed on a Fortitude save or be sickened 1 round per caster level.
100 All corpses within long range of the caster (other than those targeted by the triggering effect) become undead per reanimate for 1 round per caster level. These undead are helpful toward the caster.

Gamemastering

Necromancy and Morality

When you are a living creature, death can be scary. Death is the end of the world we know. For many people, this association between fear and death often leads to avoidance and disgust of all things connected with death - corpses, graveyards, mortuaries, and the like - and a mistrust of those that willing associate themselves with such things.

As widespread as these attitudes are, there are people, cultures, and worlds with other ways of conceptualizing their relationship with death.

What follows are three possible ways to handle this situation, though they are not mutually exclusive: A GM could create multiple sources of power over undeath and allow players to choose between them.

Death Sphere as Neutral

For the rules closest to those presented in the base Spheres of Power book, the following suggestions are made:

Creatures of all alignments may reanimate undead to accomplish their goals.

Skeletons and zombies are always neutral, and do not automatically attack the living when uncontrolled.

Classes that channel positive or negative energy (such as a cleric or soul weaver) may choose which kind of energy they channel regardless of alignment; once this choice has been made, it cannot be changed.

Abilities that channel positive energy still harm undead.

Death Sphere as Evil

For those wanting to integrate the Death sphere into their campaigns with morality judgements the same as the cleric and wizard’s spellcasting, the following suggestions are made: The reanimate ability gains the [evil] descriptor. Creating undead is a grievous act of evil that requires atonement. Ghost strikes that create disease, immediately kill a living creature (such as Killing Curse or Necrotic Feeding), possess, or trap a soul gain the [evil] descriptor. Skeletons and zombies are always neutral evil.

Death Sphere as Lawful

For an alternate world-building seed, consider a world in which a judge-like god of the dead and community rules necromantic magic: The reanimate ability gains the [lawful] descriptor. To create an undead is to honor the life and work of a person and deem them worthy of reanimation. To continue to use the reanimate ability, a caster must maintain the favor of the deity. This includes participating in a ritual feast at least once each year in which the forebears of a community are awakened to walk the streets to inspire the living and renew collective identity.

Skeletons and zombies are always lawful neutral. Access to items and abilities that allow living creatures to be healed by negative energy are widespread.

Necromancy and Society

When including necromantic players, NPCs, and activity in your games, remember that people don’t have to base their opinions on necromancy purely on alignment.

A good or neutral metropolis might allow necromancers to practice in their university - even in a world where raising the dead is utterly evil - to allow other casters to keep an eye on their activity and not excessively provoke them. Even in a world where the Death sphere is neutral, a farming community might be fine with an adventuring party reanimating the bandits that were harassing them, but might object to raiding the mausoleum and leaving with the remains of their ancestors.

Wrestling with the complicated ethical questions or reveling in the moral gray areas situations like these provide is often one of the attractions of playing a necromancer. Creating robust and varied attitudes towards undead will give your players more chances to engage in the roleplaying side of walking around with a bag of bones. Here are some sample ideas:

Venerated: Undead and those who can create them hold the highest positions in society. Powerful forces within the setting may attempt to ally with necromantic PCs to gain credibility or attempt to quietly dispose of them to nip a new rival in the bud.

Regulated: Undead are welcome, but must be registered with the proper authorities, have a license from the authorities, and pay nominal dues. Some undead (particularly those that can replicate themselves violently) may be outlawed entirely. Sophisticated systems to detect and control undead exist. Chain gangs of zombies pull huge wagons for public transportation or turn mills to grind grain.

Curiosities: Undead are extremely uncommon on nonexistent in this area. Reactions vary: Friendly questions, amused denial, or deep suspicion are all likely. Death magic might just be poorly understood - or it might be suppressed by nearby arcane energies.

Contraband: Undead are a hot, illegal commodity. Labor might be scarce, or work might need to be done that is impossible for the living (mining at the bottom of a lake, hauling toxic cargo, etc.). Having a necromancer is as vital for a criminal group as having a lockpick or a fence. Their legal status might be due to the origin of the corpses, the use of the undead, past tragedy, or religious tension.

Craftsmanship: Creating undead is seen as a form of expression, similar to music or sculpture. Pristine, sparkling skeletons in royal regalia stand at key points, ready for a use of Necrotic Senses to quickly observe distant locations. Ballets involving dozens of elaborately-costumed zombies are popular entertainment.

Hunted: Out of hatred, duty, or sport, a cabal of undead-hunters scours the area. They may or may not care about apprehending the necromancer behind the reanimation, so long as they’re able to take down their quarry.


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