Dark Necromancy

The most common path of the necromantic arts is the dark path. Dark path necromages, or simply dark necromages, seek to become one with the powers of unlife that they employ. While these foul practitioners rarely begin their arcane careers in darkness, their evil desires for power often allow the taint of the grave to infect their souls. Whether it is controlling or creating undead, the powers of death dwell within the dark path necromage and infuse his every action.

Alignment: Any nongood.

Bonus Spells: chill touch (3rd), ray of enfeeblement (6th), contagion (9th), enervation (12th), inflict critical wounds (15th), control undead (18th).

Path Abilities: A dark path necromage can call upon the foul powers of the afterlife. The more he draws upon them, the closer he comes to becoming one of the fallen undead.

Command Undead (Su): At 2nd level, a dark path necromage gains Command Undead as a bonus feat. The necromage can channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier, but only to use the Command Undead feat. A dark path necromage can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Extra Channel and Improved Channel, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Elemental Channel and Alignment Channel. The DC to save against these feats is equal to 10 + 1/2 the necromage’s level + the necromage’s Charisma modifier. At 20th level, undead cannot add their channel resistance to the save against this ability.

Necrotic Transfer (Su): At 6th level, a dark path necromage can transfer some of his life essence to another undead creature. As a standard action, when a dark necromage touches an undead creature, he can sacrifice hit points equal to 10 + his Constitution score + his necromage level and transfer those hit points to the creature touched. These hit points heal the undead creature as if an inflict wounds spell was used, but cannot raise the subject’s hit points higher than its normal hit point total.

Bolster (Sp): At 10th level, a dark path necromage can, as a standard action, touch an undead creature and infuse it with negative energy. It gains a +2 profane bonus on all attack rolls and saving throws, as well as 1 temporary hit point per Hit Die and a +2 bonus to its turn resistance. The bonus on attack rolls and saving throws increases by +1 for every 5 necromage levels after 9th, to a maximum of +4 at 19th level. These bonuses last for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 the necromage’s level (minimum 1 round). The bonuses and temporary hit points are immediately dispelled if the creature is within the area of a consecrate (or desecrate if infused by a white necromage) spell. The necromage can use this ability once per day at 9th level, and an additional time per day every 3 levels thereafter, to a maximum of four times per day at 19th level.

Undead Mastery (Ex): At 14th level, whenever a dark path necromage channels energy to control undead, he adds twice his level when determining the maximum number of Hit Dice of undead he can control with the Command Undead feat, and spells like animate dead. This ability does not factor into how many undead the necromage can create. Thus, a 14th level necromage would be able to control 28 Hit Dice worth of undead with animate dead or the Command Undead feat.

Dread Touch (Su): At 18th level, a dark path necromage can touch a living creature to drain its life essence, transforming it into negative energy to rejuvenate his own. Once per day as a standard action, the dark path necromage can make a melee touch attack against a living creature. If successful, his touch deals 1d6 points of damage per necromage level (maximum 20d6). The dark path necromage is healed for a number of hit points equal to the damage he deals, up to his maximum total number of hit points. A dark path necromage can also use his dread touch to drain negative energy from an undead creature, but doing so transfers only 2 hit points per necromage level from the target. Regardless of the source, any hit points that exceed the necromage’s total maximum are gained as temporary hit points. The necromage cannot gain or be healed for more than the target’s current hit points + the target's Constitutionscore (Charisma score if undead), which is enough to kill or destroy the target. Any temporary hit points disappear 1 hour later.