Pathfinder 1E Necromancer Help


Hi everyone, hope yall are all having a good day.

I've been curious about building a necromancer for a while but I have some questions.
This is the build I think I like, but I can't decide upon a few things

Wizard 5/ Agent of the Grave 5/ Then back to wizard forever
Specialization School (Necromancy- Undead)
Opposition Schools (Enchantment + ???)
Human Feat (Spell Focus Necromancy)
L1- Extend Spell
L3- Craft Wondrous or Undead Master (I like the idea of becoming a lich, but they're so strong I don't think any DM would allow it unless we give everyone a template)
L5- Prestigious Spellcaster
L7- Heighten Spell
L9- Prefered Spell (Emergency Force Sphere)
L11- Quicken Spell
L13- Quick Channel
L15- Spell Perfection
L17- ???
L19- ???

I have a few questions beyond what yall think of the build and what yall would change.
#1- Here is my dilemma when it comes to picking opposition classes. Evocation gives emergency force shield, wall of force, contingency, and other spells I feel would be very useful. Illusion has stuff like blur, mirror image and other fun stuff like magic aura in case I need to hide a phylactery. Transmutation has stuff like haste, fly, slow, and could be very useful in making a lich fort. Abjuration is wonderful in protecting that fort and making sure to keep everyone in the party safe. Conjuration has stuff like glitterdust and black tentacles which I have seen completely neuter encounters before. Divination helps so much in gathering information about and also keeping yourself safe that I don't really want to cut it...... so I really don't know what to pick.

#2- Is this a good class to choose? I have been told many times over that cleric is the best necromancer because they have the earliest access to almost all of the necessary spells, they can heal their horde through channels as well as get the command undead feat, and they're a high tier class. I might also be biased towards wizards after playing alongside one and seeing the brutal effectiveness of spells like glitterdust, black tentacles, emergency force shield, greater invisibility and so much more.

#3- People say the undead master feat is a trap because it doesn't actually change the number of HD you can control. I say that's not true at all because it doubles the duration of the command undead spell. That spell alone drastically increases the number of HD controllable, just in a different way. The command undead spell is a no save domination effect for all the mindless undead you create. So for example you could raise a 20HD Pit Fiend's bloody skeleton, intentionally not control it, then cast this spell on it and have it be under your control for up to 3 days/lvl if you stack it with extend spell. There is no HD limit on what command undead can control, so you can repeat this for as many big bads as you want and end up with dozens (or hundreds if you're feeling silly) of them controlled in this way. That's absolutely insane to me

#4- What kind of spells would you pick up off of Agent of the Grave's Secrets of Death ability? I like explosion of rot, but don't know much else from other classes. Also on that note, do each of these spells have to be from the same class list? If not how does it work spell level wise, seeing as slay living for example is a antipaladin 4, cleirc 5, etc.

That's all I've got for now, but I'd really like to hear from yall and talk more about this stuff.
Have a good one yall

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Hi ya.

So, I'm late to the party on this but I did recently have to come up with some wizardly necromancer NPCs so I have some thoughts.

I should say, I'm not familiar with Agent of the Grave and a few of the feats but I notice Quickened Channel in there so I'm assuming Agent of the Grave gets you channeling. Also I've not run any necromancer beyond 8th-ish level. Those caveats accepted:

I know you've mentioned people have said this already but, a wizardly necromancer isn't doing too well on minions. The minion creation spells are... kinda sub-par in terms of what they get you for your level. By which I mean if your 15th level necromancer is creating level 8 or 9 minions (I'm spit-balling, I cannot recall exactly what level monster you get for Create Greater Undead.) Anything with that big a level discrepancy is only good for providing flavour, flanking bonuses, and sucking up an area of effect attack or 2. As for 20HD Pit Fiend skeletons... sure they're okay if you have some means of providing a continual supply but, I'm gonna be honest here, that ain't likely. I mean, certainly your necromancer ain't gonna be killing Pit Fiends... Sorry but true. Also, they only have BAB equal to half their HD. +10 isn't great at 20th level.

So as far as the "master of minions" thing is concerned - it's good if you want an army of mooks to threaten the Land of the Good People, but it will not slow down an equal, or even slightly lower level bunch of PCs/NPCs.

Regards opposition schools, I think I can offer some good advice. The most important piece of advice is: opposition schools doesn't mean your character cannot cast those spells, they just need more spell slots. How to exploit this? Scrolls and wands of your favourite opposition school spells. Scrolls for the big spells you need to work at caster level, wands for anything you might want to spam. Also, a lot of important stuff can be done in the background, off camera as it were. In theory your character is burning through spell slots on the days they need to recast opposition school spells, so you know, do it judiciously. Not when the local chapter of paladins of Sarenrae are knocking down your door. Also if you eschew having a familiar and have a spell focus item you can cast any spell from your books once per day.

Schools I like: Abjuration, Transmutation (I'm a big fan of buffing), and Conjuration. As you note Illusion is also great for keeping wizards alive (or you know, whatever passes for that for a necromancer.) Walls of force are nice if you're in need of a quick rest and recovery. All very combat useful. Divinations are things that can be cast on quiet days so that's my number one choice for your second opposition school.

No idea what spells to pull from other lists... there's so many. Cause Wounds spells to heal your minions, Planar Ally spells because they are so very abusable. So many...

I hope the above helps you with some of your decisions.

Can I offer some off the wall ideas?

If you do want to have mooks, see if your GM allows Summon Monster spells to summon undead. I mean, there's no reason they can't. If so then I can strongly recommend summoning shadows. Yeah, protection from evil is a real PITA for summoners but there's no perfect plan. But think of the combination of summoned shadows and black tentacles. All those poor grappled people getting strength drained. :cool:

Leadership but your cohort and followers are undead. Again, GM permission required but there's no good reason they can't be undead.

The bolster undead ability (alternative school feature that replaces grave touch) is good for buffing your undead cohort. Well it's good for buffing any undead obviously.

Or completely forgo minions and just be a combat necromancer, spamming things like Ghoul and Vampiric touch.


Undead master is very powerful, but most people cannot read. The animate dead spell allows you to control all the undead you can create from a single cast, with any hit dice over your normal controlling limit from previous castings going out of control.

If you cast animate dead and raise 50 hd, and your limit is 50, you keep them all.
If you make 150 more with your next cast, you gain control of all 150 and now have 200 HD under control which is over the limit so you must discard the 50hd you created with your first cast. You keep all the 150hd from your latest cast even though it is 3x more than your normal control limit.

Agent of the grave helps with control limits, which you don't care about. Desecrate and cruoromancer effect the amount you animate at once, which is all you care about. To properly be a minion type necromancer you must maximize your caster level for animating, which undead master does. Traits like gifted adept, feats like varisian tatoo, classes like cruoromancer, items like orange prism ioun stone, and spells like deathwine are your friend. Properly equipped and specialized you should quickly have caster level bonuses higher than your actual class based caster level.

Many of the bonuses i could find worked for all necromancy spells, or all evil spells, so by accident your save or die debuff magic and even your create undead and create greater undead spells will all also have an arbitrarily large bonus.

A cleric normally gains create undead as a 6th level spell at 11th level and uses their 11 effective caster levels to create 5th level juju zombies and skeletal champions. If they boost caster level they could be 11th level casting a 6th level create undead spell with an effective caster level of 25 or so raising level 20 juju zombies or skeletal champions, or morgs, or w/e.

They usually say the create undead spells are traps too, because even if you do create henchmen strong enough to wipe your entire party 15 levels early, you can't easily control them. Stacking casting stat, charisma, and spell dc, the things most casters are already doing, will help with this, but not completely remove it as a concern. Undead leadership and rolling diplomacy might be a superior alternative than the usual magical enslavement that intelligent undead (that remember and resent being bossed around) can challenge at basically every order.

You need 3 metamagics for spell perfection, which is an absolute must have feat. You could take whatever and just get metamagic rods for the rest, but there are some you want to consider for your build. Extend for command undead duration like you thought, and also heighten to raise the spell level of command undead to the highest you can for better dc. Persistent makes all your save or die magic twice as deadly, but also means you get two chances to snag sturdy undead with command. You can choose spell perfection on command rather than animate if you like, it boosts feat based DC bonuses from spell focus, greater spell focus, varisian tatoo, and such things to help if you want to try to command undead stuff with channel resist or intelligence.

The other big trap of minion master type necromancer is costs. Blood money, false focus, and making animate a spell like ability all aim to alleviate this. i would recommend the thematic blood money spell until deific obedience Urgathoa comes online. It gives +1 caster level to necromancy if you do an off screen daily ritual and at 12hd you get desecrate, animate, and inflict light as spell like ability options. Diverse obedience lowers the hd needed to get powers by 2 and allows you to pick from the sentinel and evangelist powers that normally take a prestige class.

I like to play necro wizard, but their channel pool is much more limited than a cleric. If you build cleric you could run conductive grayflame weapons with channel smite, shatter resolve, and channel force feats and do channel variant disease too. Weapon damage +channel damage +1d6 +1 per channel die +shaken +sickened + contagion +domain bad touch ends up being prettt nasty. But if you aren't cleric i wouldn't waste a slot on quick channel because the wizard can only use it to command.

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