General Prestige Class : Pale Master
Necromancy is usually a poor choice for arcane spellcasters - those who really want to master the deathless arts almost always pursue divine means. However, an alternative exists for those who desire power over undead but refuse to give up their arcane craft completely. Enter the pale master, who draws on a font of special lore that provides a macabre power all its own.
Many pale masters still end up supplementing their arcane power with levels of divine magic. The mixture of "pale lore" and clerical abilities to sway, create, command, and destroy undead can be a potent one.
NPC pale masters head special strike groups comprising lesser undead, supplemented as needed with more powerful, summoned undead. Sometimes they serve or act in collusion with powerful evil characters, such as true necromancers or divine spellcasters with Death as one of their domains. Wherever pale masters go, undead follow. Often it is difficult to tell a pale master from the undead that he surrounds himself with.
To qualify to become a Pale Master, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any non-good.
- Skills: Knowledge (Religion) 8 ranks.
- Feats: Skill Focus (Knowledge [religion]).
- Able to cast command undead and vampiric touch as arcane spells.
- Special: The candidate must have spent three or more days locked in a tomb with animate undead. This contact may be peaceful or violent. A character who is slain by the undead and later raised still meets the requirement, although the resulting level loss may delay compliance with other prerequisites.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Pale masters gain proficiency with light and medium armor. They gain no proficiency with any weapons or shields.
Spells per Day/Spells Known: Beginning at 2nd level, a pale master gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or destroying undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). If he had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a pale master, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.
Animate Dead (Sp): Starting at 2nd level, a pale master begins to exercise control over the undead. Once per day, he can use animate dead, as the spell, without need of a material component. Use the pale master's highest arcane caster level as the caster level for this effect. All other level restrictions of animate dead still apply. For example, a 6th-level sorcerer/3rd-level pale master can animate up to 16 HD of undead with a single use of this ability. Likewise, he can control up to 32 HD of undead created using this ability, the animate dead spell, or both.
Darkvision (Ex): At 3rd level, the dark begins to lose its mysteries to a pale master, who gains darkvision out to 60 feet. If he already has darkvision, its effective distance increases by 60 feet.
Undead Armor Affinity (Ex): A pale master has an instinctive feel for undead armor. At 4th level and higher, he treats the undead armor as if its arcane spell failure chance were 10% less. At 8th level, this reduction improves to 20%.
Control Undead (Sp): Once per day, a pale master of 5th level or higher can gain control over an undead creature (with Hit Dice equal to or less than his highest arcane caster level) by making a successful touch attack against it. The undead creature receives no saving throw to resist this effect. The control lasts for 1 round per class level. When the duration expires, the undead creature returns to its former allegiance, if any. The newly controlled undead can still be turned or rebuked as normal. This effect is otherwise identical to the control undead spell. This ability is in addition to the number of undead a pale master can control using his animate dead ability.
Deathless Vigor (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, a pale master's body becomes more akin to the undying flesh of his undead associates. The character gains a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves except against effects that also work on objects.
Undead Graft (Su): At 6th level, a pale master gives in to terrible necrophiliac urges. He cuts off his arm and replaces it with an undead prosthetic, which may be skeletal in form or preserved flesh stitched in place like that of a flesh golem. Regardless of its composition, the graft grants a +4 inherent bonus to the character's Strength score.
Additionally, the undead graft allows him to deliver horrible touch attacks. A pale master can use this ability once per day at 6th level, twice per day at 8th level, and three times per day at 10th level. The character must declare that he is using this ability before making the attack roll; a failed attack roll still expends that use of the ability. Each time he makes a touch attack using this ability, the pale master can select from any of the effect described below for which he meets the prerequisite class level. The save DC for the pale master's touch attacks is 10 + his pale master class level + his Cha modifier.
Paralyzing Touch: Any living foe except for an elf that is hit by a pale master's touch attack must succeed on a Fortitude save a be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Prerequisite: Class level 6th.
Weakening Touch: A living foe hit by a pale master's touch attack takes 1d6 points of Strength damage (no save). A creature reduced to Strength 0 dies. Prerequisite: Class level 7th.
Degenerative Touch: A living foe hit by a pale master's touch attack receives one negative level (no save), and must make a Fortitude save 24 hours later to avoid losing the level permanently. Prerequisite: Class level 8th.
Destructive Touch: A living foe hit by a pale master's touch attack must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution drain. Prerequisite: Class level 9th.
Deathless Master's Touch: A living foe of up to one size category larger than a pale master hit by the pale master's touch attack must succeed on a Fortitude save or die. A slain creature automatically animates 1 round later as a zombie and is under the pale master's control as if he had animated it. Undead created using this power do not count against a pale master's HD total for controlling undead. Prerequisite: Class level 10th.
Tough as Bone (Ex): On reaching 7th level, a pale master takes on even more of the qualities of an undead creature. He becomes immune to disease, nonlethal damage, and stunning.
Undead Cohort: A 9th-level pale master gains the service of a loyal undead cohort. The cohort follows the rules for undead cohorts described under the Undead Leadership feat (see page 31, Libris Mortis). The pale master does not gain any followers from this ability, only a single cohort. The cohort's effective character level is determined by the pale master's Leadership score and character level exactly as if the cohort had been gained by means of the Undead Leadership feat.
Deathless Mastery (Ex): On reaching 10th level, a pale master gains the virtues of his deathless arts. His body becomes partly mummified (though he is not truly undead), and he becomes immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, death effects, critical hits, ability drain, and energy drain, as well as damage to his physical ability scores (Str, Dex, and Con). He still needs to breathe, eat, and sleep as normal for his type, and he still ages normally.
|Pale Master||Hit Die: d4|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per day|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Animate dead||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Darkvision||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Undead armor affinity (10%)||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Control undead, deathless vigor||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Undead graft, paralyzing touch||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Tough as bone, weakening touch||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Undead armor affinity (20%), degenerative touch||1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Undead cohort, destructive touch||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Deathless mastery, deathless master's touch||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|