In my current campaign, I am planning to transform one of my players (a rogue) into an undead player. I talked with him and both of us thinks that would be different and fun for the game.

Now, I am looking for a good undead template for a rogue character. My criteria are:

  • Would be good if it is suitable for a rogue character
  • May be a non-player template too. Since there will be a touch of DM and transformation would be a part of the current story, I am not restricting myself to templates that are available to PCs. But it also must not be a very strong one.
  • Character will keep going adventure with its current (good aligned) group. So I am avoiding flesh eaters (like ghoul) or such smelly ones. It would be good if it would not be a very common one (like skeleton or zombie). As I said, I will make some DM touchings if necessary (keeping abilities is my option unless it looked too un-fittable).
  • Good if have some uncommon/strange/different abilities/powers/weaknesses

So I am looking for something more interesting than powerful.

Some extra info: Group is traveling with a 8 year old vampire girl who has angel-bloodline [in story], last member of an old and respectable (healer) cleric family and is lawful-good. She is not effected by sunlight, can be healed by positive energy (but also with negative energy) and have blood-thirst (try to feed on animals). Girl is the key in my long-term undead quest (my villain question is in here). She will leave the group in the final session (war against the great villain) and she will turn to dust because of sunlight after finishing her role in the final quest. Rogue character will also take the template in that last session of the quest (dying vengeance of the villain).

Update: The character will keep being a good guy and a hero after completing the quest. He will not be a badd-ass for the rest of the game. That will be something like a very bad scar from the fights he gave against undead and evil . A twist to make the game a bit different and a challenge (positive energy [like cure spells] will harm the character) for the player and the whole party. As I said, the group consist of good-aligned players and one of the players is a saint (of paladine [Dragonlance campaign])

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    \$\begingroup\$ Will the player expect to ever level again? Or is this the end of the campaign? (I.e. what is your LA max?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will not apply LA rules in here, since I applied LA reduction (from Unearthed Arcana) and all players used it to take templates without having ECL differences (except rogue) character. So gaming group see it a kind of LA reduction trade-off. LA 3 or less (or similar powerful templates for Non-LA templates) would be good. I may need to make adjustments for more powerful ones. Good undead abilities are also acceptable for some hand crafing with low LA template advices. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mp0int
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 23:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little concerned that you're trying to make one of your players undead. Their character, on the other hand... \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 6:20

4 Answers 4


Book of Exalted deeds gives the template of the risen martyr and the deathless creature:

  • Deathless is a new creature type, describing creatures that have died but returned to a kind of spiritual life. They are similar in many ways to both living creatures and undead. However, while undead represent a mockery of life and a violation of the natural order of life and death, the deathless merely stave off the inevitability of death for a short time in order to accomplish a righteous purpose. While undead draw their power from the Negative Energy plane, the deathless are strongly tied to the Positive Energy plane, the birthplace of all souls. In fact, the deathless are little more than disincarnate souls, sometimes wrapped in material flesh, often incorporeal and hardly more substantial than a soul in its purest state.

  • Features

• 12-sided Hit Dice.

• Base attack bonus equal to 1/2 of total Hit Dice (as wizard).

• Good Will saves.

• Skill points equal to (4 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die.

  • Traits

• No Constitution score.

• Darkvision out to 60 feet.

• Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

• Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, and death effects.

• Not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, or ability drain. Immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution) as well as fatigue and exhaustion effects.

Unlike undead, the deathless are subject to energy drain. Like living creatures, deathless are harmed by negative energy and healed by positive energy.

• Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save, except for energy drain attacks, effects that also work on objects, and harmless effects.

• Cannot use the run action.

• Uses Charisma modifier for Concentration checks.

• Not at risk of death from massive damage, but when reduced to 0 hp or less, it is immediately destroyed.

• Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect the deathless if they are willing. These spells turn deathless creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming deathless.

• Evil clerics can turn or destroy deathless creatures as good clerics turn or destroy undead. Good clerics and paladins can rebuke, command, or bolster deathless creatures as evil clerics rebuke, command, or bolster undead.

• Deathless creatures gain the same benefits from consecrate and hallow as undead do from desecrate and unhallow, and they are hindered by desecrate and unhallow as undead are by consecrate and hallow. Hide from undead and undeath to death also work against deathless.

Detect undead and deathwatch also reveal deathless, and allow the caster to distinguish deathless creatures from undead. Evil casters can be stunned by overwhelming auras of deathless creatures as good casters can be stunned by overwhelming undead auras. Use the “undead” line in the detect evil spell description when deathless are in the area of a detect good spell.

Deathless are healed by disrupt undead and damaged by unholy water as undead are by holy water.

Deathless are not affected by disrupting weapons. Spells that have greater than normal effect against undead creatures—including chill touch, magic stone, searing light, sunbeam, sunburst, and wall of fire—do not have these enhanced effects against deathless creatures. Deathless take only 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels from searing light. Spells such as command undead, control undead, create undead, create greater undead, and halt undead do not affect or create deathless creatures.

• Proficient with its natural weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entries.

• Proficient in whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Deathless not listed as wearing armor are not proficient with armor.

• Deathless do not breathe, eat, or sleep.

The Next Big one is the EIDOLON From ghostwalk

This class sub's levels and is perfect for a GM to transform a living party member or bring one back from the dead as a new class with a mission.

There is also the RISEN MARTYR from the Book of Exalted Deeds page 68:

This class is perfect for the GM to grant a single level in cause it's a prestige class and the first level is the hardest to achieve.


Necropolitan is literally the best answer. It has no alignment requirement, does not affect anything about your behavior or force you to satiate any unseemly hungers, and best of all, it’s LA +0. It does cost some XP and gold, but that’s it. It’s found in Libris Mortis.

Necropolitan’s primary effect is to make you Undead, with all the bonuses and immunities that come with that.

From the comments, I see that some LA is being waived; in this case, there are a number of undead templates that can be applied after Necropolitan template that are quite good for a Rogue. Evolved (Libris Mortis) undead gain +1 Strength, +2 Charisma, and +1 Deflection to AC per LA, and 3 Fast Healing. Spell Stitched (Complete Arcane) gain a ton of defensive qualities and some Wis-based Sorcerer spells. Don’t forget that you can also apply templates to the creature the Rogue was before Necropolitan was applied, which will remain after (and you can feel free to roll that all together as a package deal).

But one of the best things that comes to mind at ECL 3-ish for a Rogue is actually the Marrulurk race from Sandstorm. This thing has it all: huge ability score bonuses (including a whopping +6 to Dexterity), +2d6 Sneak Attack, a Cha-based Death Attack, Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot as bonus feats, large bonuses to Hide and Move Silently, and more. All that for 3 Racial Hit Dice (Monstrous Humanoid) and LA +1. The RHD are better than LA for the most part (since you also get 3d8 HD, +3 BAB, and such), so calling it an LA +3 template is quite possible.

That said, while normally it’s one of the rare LA’d races that’s actually worth its LA, it might be a bit much to give out for free, especially if everyone else is getting an ordinary LA +3 template (which are not usually actually worth anything like three levels).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since he is playing with his character, he do not have a choice to change his race. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mp0int
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 8:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given that savage species has rituals for that, a race change can be flavoured much like the imposition of a template. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's what I was implying by converting the RHD to LA. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 12:26

My GM and I had a similar problem, the eventual fix she came up with was to staple a damphir template over the orginal character, add a baby sized bite attack (1d4) and require the character to drink blood (no crazed bloodthirst just had to have blood instead of food or starve like normal).

The end result is fairly good if your looking to keep the pc at roughly the same effectiveness but it changes the gameplay signifigantly; npcs can react very differently, feeding you healing potions is a bad idea ect. That particular character ended up dying due to using his own lay on hands when the player forgot positive energy was a bad thing.


Check out the Curst template from Monsters of Faerun. I only have the 3.0 version, but I think you can locate other versions easily; I always thought they were very interesting. In general: unearthly white pallor... favor leather armor, prefer darkness to light, tend toward silence.. (kind of perfect for a rogue). They are slightly mad with a 5% chance every 10 minutes of acting irrationally (could be fun for your player ;)

Cursts are quite difficult to permenantly kill having some regeneration, immunities and spell resistance.

I think a full 3.5 template may be here: http://www.realmshelps.net/monsters/templates/curst.shtml

  • \$\begingroup\$ The 3.5 template has some severe penalties to Wis and Int (-6, -4) and only those with Wis at 1 or 2 get the Madness trait. The 3.0 version gave no Wis penalty and 1 in 10 have their original Int, the rest have Int 8; but all had the Madness trait. I might suggest that would be better for the rogue character since it won't cripple his skills if you go with it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 4:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ A 10% chance to lose control of your character seems like a terrible thing to introduce into a serious campaign. The huge penalties on the 3.5 version leave it a pretty poor choice as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 5:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Those penalties are not good for related character, since Wis and Int is important for a Rouge and he do not have very high scores in those abilities. That looked unlikely for him. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mp0int
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would say 'it depends'. You were looking for something more interesting than powerful; and the template getting applied to the rogue is kind of 'the final villain's vengence'. If you take the template 'as-is', its not ideal for a rogue sure. On the other hand, if (as the DM), you make the effect of the curse to slowly apply those ability point penalties over time, you have an interesting RP situation (i.e. a ticking clock). Depends on what you and the player want to do with it and the character - good luck with however you go ~Tyso \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 23:13

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