Compendium Class: Necromancer

Compendium Class: Necromancer

Compendium Class: Necromancer

(New to DW; seeking any & all constructive feedback. Others have written several versions of a Necromancer base class; this alternate take is a compendium class to reflect a regular spellcaster who has chosen to specialize in Animate Dead, a la D&D 3e.)

When you animate the dead and pay a steep price (e.g., being cast out of your holy order, or forsaking part of your soul to dark forces), the next time you level up you may choose this move:

☐ Adept of Undeath

When you cast Animate Dead, on a 10+ you have the option of choosing one or more effects from the 7-9 list. If you do, you may choose to grant the same number of additional traits to the animated dead (up to the usual maximum of four). You may choose this option after rolling to determine how many traits the animated dead would normally receive.

If you are an adept of undeath, these count as class moves for you; you can choose from them when you level up:

☐ Shambling Horde

You ignore the penalties to cast spells from ongoing animated dead. 

☐ Legion of Horror

Requires: Shambling Horde

When you cast Animate Dead, you may animate a number of bodies up to your level.

☐ Graverobber

The corpses you animate need not be recently dead. However, if you animate a body that has has already significantly decayed, it will always be obviously dead.

☐ Rebuke Undead 

Requires: Turn Undead

When you turn undead, on a 10+ you gain ongoing control over mindless undead instead of causing them to flee. 

7 thoughts on “Compendium Class: Necromancer”

  1. I love the idea of a Necromancer as prestige class, but since Animate Dead is only available to Clerics in DW (usually) I would like to see another way to get this so other classes could access it.

    As for feedback…please keep in ind I am trying to help,so here goes:

    Animate Dead shows you clearly do not understand that Cast a Spell is the move and Animate Dead is the spell effect.

    When I roll a 10 to cast animate dead I get to choose something form the 7-9 list? List of what? I think you have confused the options of the spell with the choice you get based on the die roll to cast the spell in the 79- range.

    I can clearly see what you are TRYING to do, but it is not worded clearly and will not mesh well with the game mechanics.

    Does that make sense? I hope I’ve explained the difference well enough so you understand the mistake. Hope it helps!


    In an effort to clarify: The spell Animate Dead does not have a 7-9 result, the Cast A Spell move does. The spell (not the move) has a list of options and you can choose 1d4 of them. Your move has those two confused.

  2. Or are you saying you can “swap” a result from the 7-9 result of the move for a added affect from the spells effect list?

    Looking back I can see that as an interpretation as well, come to think of it.

  3. Thanks for the feedback! Glad you like the concept.

    You are correct that Clerics have the best access to Animate Dead; however, Wizards can add it to their spell list through the human racial feature or through Expanded Spellbook. So (just like in D&D) Clerics make better necromancers but Wizards can do it as well.

    As for the distinction between the Cast a Spell move and the Animate Dead spell itself… the intention is that by choosing one or more negative effects from the Cast a Spell move, the PC can choose the same number of positive traits to apply to the undead from the Animate Dead list (in addition to the usual 1d4). How can I express this more clearly in the write-up?

  4. Yeah I was misreading your move. Sorry! Still as the opening move for a prestige class it’s lackluster. You would roll 3 or 4 half the time in terms of options so you’d only really use it sometimes…maybe.

    Might I suggest:

    NECROMASTER: You have mastered the necromantic arts. Animate Dead is longer counts against your daily spell limit and you roll 1d3+1 for number of attributes the corpse has.

    A bit more appealing, imho.

  5. I like it – it’s definitely a bit more potent. At first I considered simply increasing increasing the number of traits the undead would receive but then I figured it would be mechanically richer, and more in keeping with DW’s design philosophy, to present the PC with a choice to trade a negative effect for a positive effect. But not counting Animate Dead against the spell limit adds extra value and fits in perfectly with the rest of the class.

  6. I chose to err on the side of simplicity because I’m having a hard time figuring whether the moves are overall too weak or too powerful. They are nearly all focused on simple boosts to a single spell, but if a character decides to invest in most or all of the necromancer moves then they’ll be able to create a rather large army of undead. This is intentional but I’m not sure if it’s overpowered or not.

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