Tombpunk: Arcana – The Necromancer

Tombpunk is my lo-fi, lightweightfantasy roleplaying game, published under license by Outland Entertainment. You can find it here on DriveThruRPG.

Tombpunk: Arcana is a series of articles written by me expanding content for the game with “playtest” material (I don’t think I can call it homebrew if I’m the official writer/creator!). 


While the three professions in Tombpunk cover the “trifecta” of classic fantasy roleplaying archetypes, there’s a lot of room for growth and excitement with other professions.

I’m on record as not being a big fan of evil characters or evil campaigns. I don’t find them fun. I don’t mind gutterscum, mercenaries and ne’er do wells, but outright evil? That’s not for me.

Today’s class is one we’ve used in playtesting sparingly, as it’s not something that immediately fits my design paradigm: The Necromancer

The Necromancer

Necromancers are often found in dungeons, selling their services as mystical mercenaries to forces of evil. Contrary to popular belief, necromancy isn’t inherently based in evil magicks (though one could be forgiven for thinking it is). Popular myths tell us that necromancers imbue the remains of those who’ve passed on with an unholy semblence of their former life and intelligence, cursing them to rise again as less than they were.

That’s not true in the world of Tombpunk. Instead, what necromancy does is bind the intelligences of spirits of nature to a biomechanical apparatus that grants them corporeal mobility where they would normally have fun. This binding takes place as a pact, a mutual consent where the nature spirit allows itself to be bound to the corporeal form. A necromancer views the remains they use as nothing more than a pre-assembled marionette, just waiting for something to start pulling on strings.

While it might be your best friend’s skeleton shambling towards you, rest assuring the intelligence blazing in those eyes is something even more inhuman.

Necromancers start with Lifeblood equal to Might+6, Courage 4, Coin 2, Will 4 and the Special Abilities Raise Dead, Curse, and Command the Dead.

Necromancer attacks do 1d4+Will damage.

RAISE DEAD: The necromancer can make a Will Test and chose one of the following effects:

  • Raise Skeleton: The necromancer raises a skeleton (page 63 in Tombpunk). If the necromancer sacrifices a point of will, they can apply a weapon quality to the skeleton. The necromancer must have access to a skeleton to use this effect.
  • Raise Zombie: The necromancer raises a zombie (see below.) The necromancer must have access to a corpse that has not fully decomposed into a skeleton for this.
  • Summon Ghost: The necromancer summons a ghost (see below.) The necromancer does not require any access to summon a ghost.

Once raised, a necromancer can’t simply dismiss undead. They must be destroyed. Raising Dead is magick, and should be treated as such.

CURSE: The necromancer can curse an enemy as an action. The next action the enemy takes has disadvantage. This is magick, and should be treated as such.

COMMAND THE DEAD: The necromancer raises undead, but the undead will do nothing if the necromancer doesn’t command them. As an action, the necromancer can issue one of the following commands to the undead they raise:

  • Attack: One of the dead the necromancer has raised will attack a single target. They will continue attacking until that target is dead.
  • Guard: Anytime the necromancer would take damage, an adjacent raised dead instead suffers the damage. Ghosts can’t do this command.
  • Work: The dead work towards a task the necromancer has set them. This must be mundane, physical labor and only skeletons and zombies can do it. They are incapable of finesse or artistic work, instead being suited only for the most brutish of labors.
  • Task: The dead moves to accomplish a single task (pick something up, push a button, etc.) that the necromancer has set them. Ghosts can’t do this command.
  • Move: Skeletons and zombies will simply stand there, unwavering until they decay to nothing unless commanded to move. Ghosts sort of hover, just looming until commanded. This command tells them where to move and they will make all reasonable haste to get there (they’re very slow…don’t expect much.)
  • Consult: This command can only be done with a Ghost. The ghost will do their best to answer a single question about a topic they might know (roll a d6, on a 5-6 they can answer it.)

Zombie

Lifeblood: 12
Attack: Standard
Damage: 1d4 (Claws/Bite)

Ghost

Lifeblood: 4
Attack: Standard
Damage:

Special: Ghosts can’t be harmed by weapons unless they are sanctified/holy, or the attacks are fully magickal (spells, etc.). However, ghosts cannot interact with the mortal/physical world either and can only haunt and wail, (which is disruptive in its own right.)

Special: As an action, a ghost can wail. All who can hear it must test Courage. If Courage is now 0, they must flee immediately or suffer disadvantage on their next two actions.


Tombpunk and the text above © 2020-2021 Alan Bahr. Tombpunk is a trademark of Alan Bahr.

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