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This class uses the information provided in Unearthed Arcana on modifying classes.

The Premise

I wanted to make a necromancer class that focuses pretty heavily on death magic, but wizard, sorcerer and cleric didn't really fit it well. So I did some research and have thrown together a simple class that I hope isn't broken. I'm looking for assistance in poking holes in this class and reasons it would be overpowered that may have escaped me.

References (this class draws abilities at levels from the following areas):

Cleric Death Domain: DMG pg. 96 - denoted by (C)

Wizard Necromancy Arcane Tradition: PHB. pg 118-119 - denoted by (W)

The Necromancer

As a necromancer, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice: 1d6 per necromancer level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per necromancer level after 1st

Proficiencies

  • Armor: None
  • Weapons: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
  • Tools: None
  • Saving Throws: Intelligence, Constitution
  • Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Religion

Spellcasting - All of the spellcasting portion (spell slots, copying spells, spells prepared, etc) of the wizard class applies to this class. This class gains additional features as listed below.

Ability Score Improvements follow the Wizard tree (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level).

Level 1 - You gain some of the features associated with the Cleric Death Domain (Reaper, level 1 Death Domain spells). The spells are added to your spellbook and must be prepared in order to be used (unlike cleric domain spells).

Level 2 - You gain Grim Harvest (W)

Level 3 - Gain the Death Domain level 3 spells (C) instead of being able to choose 2 new spells.

Level 5 - Gain the Death Domain level 5 spells (C) instead of being able to choose 2 new spells.

Level 6 - You gain Undead Thralls (W)

Level 7 - Gain the Death Domain level 7 spells (C) instead of being able to choose 2 new spells.

Level 9 - Gain the Death Domain level 9 spells (C) instead of being able to choose 2 new spells.

Level 10 - You gain Inured to Undeath (W)

Level 14 - You gain Command Undead (W)

Level 17 - You gain Improved Reaper (C)

Level 20 Lichborne - At level 20 you have uncovered an ancient secret long forgotten by those who seek lichdom. If you perform a ritual for 1 hour with a creature on an alter, you can transfer your soul into this vessel. This creature retains all of it's stats and abilities (so you adopt all of them), but is raised as an undead version of itself in addition. This version does not need sleep, food, doesn't need to breath, uses the aid of magic to fly if it had wings in life, and is vulnerable to radiant damage and can be turned by turn undead. (This is similar in function to True Polymorph, but is used as a ritual instead, and comes with the caveat of being undead.)

Is this a practical and concise example of utilizing the guidelines located in Unearthed Arcana's Modifying Classes article linked above? If not, what did I miss or what should be changed to conform to the guidelines more accurately?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ comments removed, all details answered, no further input as Miniman's response covers it well. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 31 '15 at 16:09
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The proposed class is effectively a Necromancy Wizard with the following changes:

  • At level 1, you get Reaper and Death Domain spells instead of Arcane Recovery.
  • At levels 3, 5, 7, and 9 you are constrained to choosing the Death Domain spells instead of being able to freely pick from the Wizard spell list.
  • At level 17, you get Improved Reaper where the Wizard gets nothing.
  • At level 18, you get nothing where the Wizard gets Spell Mastery.
  • Finally, at level 20, you get Lichborne instead of Signature Spell.

Trading Arcane Recovery for Reaper, and 2 domain spells is entirely in the Necromancer's favour. Getting the Death Domain spells instead of freely choosing definitely hurts, although 2 of the spells (antilife shell and death ward) are spells a Wizard couldn't normally get. Trading Spell Mastery for Improved Reaper is probably also in the Necromancer's favour, especially since you get it earlier. Lichborne for Signature Spell is probably a fair trade - it looks powerful, but no more so than True Polymorph, and considerably less than Shapechange.

So, the conclusion here is that your proposed class is effectively the Necromancy Wizard, except that it trades some Wizard features for some Death Domain features, and is constrained to specialising in Necromancy more than it normally would. It might be slightly more powerful than a regular Necromancy Wizard, but overall it seems reasonably well balanced.

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