A player in my campaign found a necromancer’s spell book and I wanted to reward them with some new necromantic…

A player in my campaign found a necromancer’s spell book and I wanted to reward them with some new necromantic…

A player in my campaign found a necromancer’s spell book and I wanted to reward them with some new necromantic spells. What do you think of this as a 1st level spell?

Spare the Dying

You can expend some of your own life energy in an attempt to pull someone else from the brink of Death. When someone nearby rolls 9 or less on a Last Breath, you can cast this spell. If you succeed, you suffer 1d10 damage (ignoring armor) but the dying creature gets to roll their Last Breath again.

16 thoughts on “A player in my campaign found a necromancer’s spell book and I wanted to reward them with some new necromantic…”

  1. Make it 6-. 7-9 on Last Breath is too interesting to take away from them.

    And maybe a debility, instead of, or in addition to, the damage? Something that marks the necromancer?

    And you can bet that Death will be very, very interested in meeting that particular spellcaster.

    Suggestion – if the spell has been cast in the past (time), then if the caster rolls for Last Breath, 7-9 counts as 6-.

    Or, each casting incurs a permanent, cumulative -1 on the caster’s next Last Breath roll.

  2. I’d go with a much simpler (and more broadly applicable) effect like:


    Lose 1d4 HP and name someone in your vicinity who is dying but not yet gone. They survive! They’re in a bad place, but stable for the moment at least.


    This way, it works on NPCs (who don’t roll Last Breath) as well as PCs.

    (edit: ninja’d)

  3. How’s this for an alternative:

    When you cast this spell on the corpse of one who has recently died, your eyes film over for a short time and you behold the Black Gates yourself, where you can intercede with Death on the departed’s behalf. Death will summon their spirit back and make you both an offer; if you both agree, their spirit returns to their body and they are stable.

    (So basically, it allows the necromancer to turn their friend’s 6- result into a 7-9 retroactively, except that the caster gets tangled up in the bargain with Death as well. It could even be used to help someone who rolled a 7-9 but turned down Death’s original offer, although the chances of them agreeing to the new deal seem low in that case.)

  4. Why wouldn’t a necromancer have that spell Stephen Gunnell? Necromancers are all about magic dealing with life, right?

    The bargain with death spell that Robert Rendell suggest sounds cool. It feels more powerful than a level 1 spell to me, though I can’t really say why.

  5. Chris Stone-Bush  No, Necromancers are all about magic dealing with death. Necro = death. That looks like a healers spell as does the one proposed by Robert Rendell.

    A Necromancer has no use for live people.

  6. I think it’s just a matter of flavor. Necromancers could be seen as giving life to zombies and skeletons when they animate them. And they drain life from others to regain health in a lot of games. Maybe it could be a spell involving them taking life from a nearby enemy and siphoning it into their companions corpse to achieve the effect you are wanting and still keep a necromancer feel to it?

  7. Stephen Gunnell you’re probably right, a classic necromancer wouldn’t be interested in making deals with Death – he’s trying to subvert the natural order of things and become the Master of Death, not Death’s lackey.

    I just thought “caster gets entangled in the deal” was more interesting than taking 1d10 damage, is all.

  8. That’s a very narrow view of necromancy. A broader view would say that it’s all about the interaction between life and death, which this easily meets.

  9. Fictional magic? Pretty long cultural tradition we are talking about here.

    Middle English nigromancie, via Old French from medieval Latin nigromantia, changed (by association with Latin niger, nigr- ‘black’) from late Latin necromantia, from Greek (see necro-, -mancy). The spelling was changed in the 16th century to conform with the late Latin form.

  10. I think this is moot. It all just depends on how your players build up necromancy in that specific setting they help create. So it all revolves around the fiction of your own specific setting.

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