13th Age Character Builds: Mortal Magics Necromancer

THE NECROMANCER

By ASH LAW

In this series by ASH LAW, we feature two different builds for every 13th Age character class, at all levels. ASH suggests how the builds might be used, and offers tips on playing each character. Stats are based on the point-buy method, and the characters have no non-standard elements.

 

MORTAL MAGICS NECROMANCER

 

Download the Mortal Magics Necromancer character sheets here.

 

This necromancer is all about magic, deadly magic. The magic of the dead.
As with other necromancers this one avoids penalties from high Constitution, and benefits from the wasting away class feature via feats.

The mortal magics build avoids summoning, in favor of direct magical attacks. This means that you’ll have no shambling army of undead to stand behind. Your best plan is to hit enemies hard and fast, then retreat behind tougher party members.
Your spells let you do things like temporarily turning your allies (or yourself) into terrifying undead monsters—as well as more direct attacks. You can switch out spells at the start of each day, so these are suggestions only.

You are not tough, and have no undead minions to hide behind—but the death knell class feature and the death’s call spell let you heal yourself, as does cackling soliloquist. Add to that the fact that your wasting away class feature means that you just won’t stay dead.

 

Talents

 

Cackling Soliloquist

Take a bit longer (and make a grand speech) while casting a daily spell and it becomes a recharge (18+) spell, and you get a minor improvement to the spell.

Deathknell

As a quick action kill a nearby enemy that is at or below a certain hit point threshold.

It’s Complicated

Your icon relationships are worse, but get an extra daily spell.

 

Race

Dark elven cruelty is the order of the day for this necromancer.

 

Attributes

Low Constitution, high Intelligence, a dash of Charisma: Str 8 (-1) Con 8 (-1) Dex 8 (-1) Int 20 (+5) Wis 10 (0) Cha 18 (+3).

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 8 (-1) Dex 8 (-1) Int 20 (+5) Wis 10 (0) Cha 16 (+3)

Racial Power: cruelty

Talents: cackling soliloquist, deathknell, it’s complicated

Feats: wasting away

Skeletal Minion Level: 1

Spells: zombie form, channel life, unholy blast, chant of endings, terror

2nd level

New feat (deathknell), spells (1st level: zombie form, channel life, unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, terror).

3rd level

New feat (cackling soliloquist), spells (1st level: unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, 3rd level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, terror).

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), new feat (terror), spells (3rd level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, terror).

5th level

New feat (deathknell), spells (3rd level: unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, 5th level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, death’s call, terror).

6th level

New feat (wasting away), spells (5th level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, death’s call, terror).

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), new feat (cackling soliloquist), spells (5th level: unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, 7th level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, negative energy shield, death’s call, terror).

8th level

New feat (wasting away), spells (7th level: zombie form, ghoul form, channel life, negative energy shield, unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, death’s call, terror).

9th level

New feat (deathknell), spells (7th level: unholy blast, death’s gauntlet, chant of endings, 9th level: zombie form, ghoul form, vampiric form, channel life, negative energy shield, death’s call, terror).

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), new feat (cackling soliloquist), spells (9th level: zombie form, ghoul form, vampiric form, channel life, negative energy shield, unholy blast, chant of endings, death’s gauntlet, death’s call, terror).

4 Responses to “13th Age Character Builds: Mortal Magics Necromancer”

  1. Michael says:

    Necromancers really leave me wondering how they’re supposed to avoid being taken down in the epic-tier. With 120 hp at level 10 they’ll typically face level 12+ enemies.
    Most often these are large or huge, so their baseline damage is at 180 and 270, respectively.
    Even with the temporary hit points granted by the Cackling Soliloquist talent, this means a single hit will drop them to negative hp!
    So, how will all their different means to heal themselves ever be of any use? Won’t they be unconscious all the time, and thus have to be healed by allies or not at all?

    • ruemere says:

      Necromancer class is a blast from d20 past :). That is, you’re not supposed to take damage when you play one.

      To this end you need to keep summons and your Alfred, pardon, skeletal butler, between you and your enemies. You also get a few debuff spells (dailies mainly) to increase the odds of your survivability.

      Your talent, Sorta Dead, is the key for this since Vampiric Form (autoheal) and Ghost Form (halved damage) get a chance of recharge, in addition for 1/level escape from death.

      Finally, the debuff spells that keep you alive:
      1st – Death’s Gauntlet – at-will – to keep opponent from attacking you (and keep casting it every round)
      1st – Terror – daily – single target crowd control
      3rd – Ray of Enfeeblement – daily – target is at -4 to attack
      5th – You Know What to Do – daily – target spends one round not attacking you or your allies
      7th – Feigned Defeat – daily – this spell will bring you back to life next round. You can cast it if taking deadly damage is unavoidable, and ensure that you are alive and kicking at the start of your next turn. Oh, and it’s a quick action cast, so you can take an attack before you cast it.
      Combine it with the Last of the Wine or Vampiric Form.

      Necromancer is a class for gamblers and former Magic the Gathering players. You need to play it carefully and always keep a trump card to get away. And you need to luck out from time to time.

      Regards,
      Ruemere

    • Dan Rodgers says:

      I feel honestly being able to get popped easy is one of the balancing factors of the class. Most of their win conditions for an encounter are based on attrition, and if they could just soak hits there wouldn’t be a challenge.

      In general, as Ash implied, a normal Necro build should treat their summons’ HP as their own. Lots of intercepts and letting summons die until the escalation is high enough to use one of your blow up the encounter spells. But this build doesn’t use summons so your teammates really have to step up protecting you. The good news, and I really think Ash probably should have pitched this as a harder support build than a destructive magic build, is your allies get a lot more out of keeping you alive than they put in.

      Deathknell adds A LOT of healing not tied to recoveries and that level of sustain should motivate them to take a few knocks for you. Plus some of the form buffs are honestly better for allies than they are for you. I know “don’t get hit” seems like unhelpful advice, but this is definitely a team play necro build.

      The other important factor since we’re talking about epic tier is that 13th Age is a game where magic items are more important for their effects than +1s. One of the counterspell rings or the evasive cloak are nice panic buttons against that big hit. Plus by epic level you could have a big splashy character defining item, like say the super on theme animated armor from the book of loot (which effectively doubles your HP with the feated wasting away talent).

      Failing all this. If you want a little more insurance you probably could take Sorta Dead instead of It’s Complicated. That way you pretty much have one “That doesn’t count” a level for those one shot hits.

  2. jhaelen says:

    Thanks for the detailed replies!

    I guess it doesn’t make much sense to consider survivability without taking into account the whole party.
    My personal preference are characters that can stand on their own, so maybe necromancers are simply not a good class choice for me. Playing one does appear to be an intruiging challenge, though!

    It’s also a good point about magic items. I admit, I haven’t paid much attention to epic-level choices. I can see how playing carefully you probably won’t need much more than one or two ‘panic button’ effects to get by.

    I also assume that by the time you’re into epic levels, you’ve already had plenty of time to figure out how to play your necromancer well and how to best avoid getting into danger.

Leave a Reply