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So Undead Thralls adds Animate Dead to your spellbook if it isn't already there, at level 6. You can get a free spell by holding off on Animate Dead until level 6, but why would the Necromancy school of all schools encourage a Wizard to use this spell later than all other classes? Or you take it at level 5 like any other Wizard could, and miss out on the free addition to your spellbook.

Both of those seem more like a punishment than a benefit. I was considering homebrewing this to grant an additional Necromancy spell (of level 3 or lower), but I want to make sure I'm not missing some strong benefit of this first.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what I thought when I made my first necromancer in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 10 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was about to write an answer and then realized Wizards can't actually trade out their known spells like other classes can... \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 10 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Yeah, wizards can't trade out spells because they effectively already get the "trade" for free - a 2nd spell learned at each level, without having to forget a spell first. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 10 at 16:48
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The meat of Undead Thralls is the enhancement to Animate Dead, and it's a highly effective boost, especially when you have the spell slot headroom to upcast and can have large numbers of undead at hand. Awarding the spell for free is more of a ribbon, rewarding patience, than anything else. It's not terribly potent, because Wizards can eventually add every class spell in the game to their spellbook, anyway.

The delay is an unfortunate side effect of the way the Wizard (and many other) classes are structured - they gain access to L3 spells at character level 5, and then an Arcane Tradition feature at L6. Giving the Necromancer at bonus spell at character level 5 simply wouldn't fit the established pattern.

You could certainly let at Necromancer pick a different spell without it affecting balance in any significant way. They get one extra free spell as compared to other wizards either way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not entirely sure you can say the delay is due to how the class/subclass works. Take, for example, the Shadow Magic Sorcerer which gains the darkness spell at level 3 despite Sorcerers not having any subclass features gained at level 3. At the very least, things can and have broken the established patterns of their (sub)class \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 10 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 That's the exception that proves the existence of the rule. That feature is rather awkwardly shoehorned in. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 10 at 16:53

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