2018/05/07

OSR: Class: Inventor Necromancer

Necromancy is a dangerous art. Loading deaths-spells into a living brain is often fatal. Many apprentice necromancers are disassembled and reused by their more cautious masters.

Some necromancer chart a safer path to power. They invest in enchantments, potions, and mechanisms. Working by the light of human fat candles they push the frontiers of human - and inhuman - knowledge. Necromancers are hunted outlaws; Necromancer Inventors are rarer still. They hide among alchemists, tannery workers, butchers, monks, and scholars. Some have extended their lives for centuries, hopping from body to body, one step ahead of authorities and suspicious villagers. Others, inflamed with ideas from Foreign Parts or ancient texts, pour their lives (and the lives of others) into their work.
Jack T. Cole

Class: Inventor Necromancer

Starting Equipment: spellbook, ink, quill, dagger, Inventor Necromancer Components (see below).
Starting Skill: History. Roll on the Outlaw Wizard background table.

A: +1 Masterwork Invention, Emergency Invention
B: +1 Masterwork Invention
C: +1 Masterwork Invention

D: +1 Masterwork Invention or Masterwork Upgrade
Your Inventor Necromancer Components take up two inventory slots. They can be replenished in any town for 10gp (or, if suitable conditions exist, scrounged in the field. Ask your GM). Bits of wire, string, glass vials full of strange fluids, sharp serrated blades, dead flesh in leather wrappings, salt, pickled eyeballs; all are useful to an Inventor Necromancer.

You are technically a spellcaster, but your spells are slow, fiddly, and obscure. You never cast them during combat. Unless you multiclass, you have no spell slots or magic dice. Your spellbook is a combination notebook, recipe book, and engineering reference manual. You are probably a little bit mad and entirely self-confident.

Emergency Invention
You can create a device to solve one particular problem. It uses up both your Inventor Necromancer Components. The device can imitate any existing mundane tool or item. It lasts for 1 hour per Inventor Necromancer template. Examples:
-a lantern made of bone with a phosphorescent rot (lasts 3 hours, as a flask of oil)
-a dagger made of bone
-50' of intestinal rope
-acid to dissolve a lock
The Amazing Screw-On Head

Masterwork Inventions


The devices below are unique. Your Inventor Necromancer created them and only they can use them. If damage or destroyed, the invention can be rebuilt with 100gp in components, at least one corpse, and 24 hrs of work (spread over several days if necessary). 

If you work on a specific project, you can either deliberately create one of the inventions below when you level, or work with your GM to build something new. Items, tools, and corpses you find in your travels may provide useful inspiration and components. Want goggles that use wizard eyes to see 360 degrees (and in several new colours)? Sure! Use the items below to calibrate your invention's power and utility. If you don't have a specific project when you level up, roll randomly.

1. The Memory Pipe
An elaborate hookah pipe connected to a cloth tube and a sharp steel needle. Stab it into the forehead of a corpse and smoke its memories. For [# of Inventor Necromancer templates] hours, you gain all the skills, languages, and memories of the corpse. You do not gain any spells or supernatural abilities. If the creature was magical or particularly strong-willed, Save or gain some aspect of the creature's personality for the duration. If the creature was over 100 years old, Save or take 1d6 Wisdom damage. The corpse must be fresh (within 2 hours of death unless preserved) to gain the full benefit. If you smoke an old corpse, you gain a few random glimpses or skills, but nothing immediately useful.

2. Ectoplasma Cannon
A large tube of metal with a crossbow grip. Aim at a ghost and make a range attack roll. If you succeed, deal 1d6 damage. If the ghost is reduced to [# of Inventor Necromancer templates]+1d6 HP or less, you also suck it into your cannon. You can unleash all the ghosts from the cannon to deal 1d6 damage to anything between the cannon and a point up to 200' away. At the point, it deals [# of ghosts]x1d6 damage in a 20' radius, spreading around corners as a fireball. The cannon can hold a maximum of 4 ghosts. Particularly powerful spirits may count as multiple ghosts.

3. Undead Gladiator
A skeleton clad in iron with chainsaw hands. A zombie in shrieking iron, crude and vicious. A six-legged beast with toothed hands and cruel spikes. Whatever you've created, it's deadly, hardy, and single-minded. Tell it to follow you and it follows. It can climb but not swim.
HD: 1 (8 [# of Inventor Necromancer templates] HP)
Wants: to smash the living. Only the living.
Armor: as plate
Move: normal
Morale: 12
Damage: 1d8+1. Damage type varies depending on how you've built your monster.

4. Artificial Life Engine
A gold insect with hooked limbs. You can create up to [# of Inventor Necromancer templates] implants. If placed on a dying creature (any number of Fatal Wounds), the Artificial Life Engine restores them to their maximum HP. The creature returns to a gray half-life. They lose 1d6 from all stats (roll individually). 1 pint of blood or one small living creature, like a bird or a rat, must be placed into the Artificial Life Engine per day or it ceases to function, killing the creature it supported. Creatures supported by the Artificial Life Engine do not age. They heal 1 point of damage per day.

5. Flesh Sculpting Ray
A metal box full of gears, wires, and bubbling alchemical flasks. Insert a scrap of flesh, fresh or ancient, then aim the box at a living creature. The target must be restrained,  helpless, or unconscious. The box will reshape the target's body to match the scrap of flesh. Ideally, you should target the same species. You can bring back dead friends (in the flesh only; the mind will not change) or the bloodline of ancient kings. If used on two creatures of different species, monsters, deformed abominations, and messy explosions of steaming blood and flesh may result. The process takes 1 hour and is agonizing beyond belief. If the target is conscious they permanently lose 1d6 Wisdom

6. Soul Transfer Helmets
Two silver skullcap-sized  helmets connected by 6' of dense cables and tubes. If placed on the head of two living creatures, the creatures must Save or swap souls. Use the highest Save value. If they Save, both creatures take 1d6 damage. The soul carries most memories with it, but some may remain behind to plague a body's new inhabitant. If the difference in HD between the two creatures is more than 4, the creature of lower HD must also Save or explode. Creatures cannot be smaller than a cat or larger than an ogre.

7. Emergency Phylactery
A gold pendant. Give it to someone. If you die while they are wearing it, Save with a bonus equal to the number of Inventor Necromancer templates you possess and a penalty equal to the person or creature's HD. If you pass, you take over their body, no matter where it is. If you fail, you die. 

8. Unliving Armour
A suit of bone, sinew, and flesh. Step inside, seal it around you. The suit has armour as chain and 10 HP. You can spend 6 hours to fully repair it. While wearing the suit, your Strength is 18. When not in use, the suit lumbers or slithers behind you.

9. Obedient Servants
Create a number of obedient undead servants equal to the number of Inventor Necromancer templates you possess. All servants must be of the same type (though you can retrofit them to a new type with 100gp in components, at least corpse, and 24 hrs of work). Servants have a skill related to their type. Examples: dancing skeletons, scout skeletons, philosopher zombies, warrior constructs, lab assistants.
HD: 1 (5 HP)
Wants: to fulfill their function.
Armor: none
Move: normal
Morale: 12
Damage: 1d6 (if Warrior servants), 0 otherwise.

10. Unnatural Healing Oils
Made from essential salts, vital fluids, alchemically reduced marrow and powdered memories. You can create 3 doses from a humanoid corpse and can only carry 3 doses at any given time. Each dose heals [# of Inventor Necromancer templates]x1d4 HP. Flesh healed appears grey and bloodless. Wounds are sealed with wire and crude staples. Healing by this method does not make a creature undead, but it does make them something close to it. 

Masterwork Upgrade
Choose a Masterwork Invention you already own. Work with the GM to increase its effects. Examples: your Ectoplasma Cannon can draw the souls from low-level undead as well. Your Soul Transfer Helmets can be used to extract intelligence from helpless targets. Your Unliving Armour can fire a bone projectile.

Sebastian Kowoll

Mechanical Notes on the Inventor Necromancer


It's a fairly odd class with fairly odd tools. Safer than a Necromancer but more limited. Multiclassing (either from Necromancer or into Necromancer) is definitely viable. Rules for new inventions are left deliberately vague. I want players to meddle with forces beyond their comprehension. I want them to hoard pickled dragon brains and the long bones of dead wizards and strange untested potions. Seems like a good time.

Or combine your arts with the Cannoneer's to make truly diabolical magic cannons.

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