Welcome to Zombie Week, an entire week devoted to one of the most underappreciated undead in all of gaming! You may be thinking that zombies are overdone, and already receive too much attention, but if you look more closely, I think you’ll find that the majority of the public love of zombies is reserved for modern zombies, with their disease-like infection and penchant for being hacked up by chainsaws, while the tried-and-true hardworking fantasy zombies, powered by fell energies and serving tirelessly to support their necromancer masters, are left without any love of their own. We think that’s sad. And that’s why we devoted an entire week to putting these hard-working, low-level adventurer-fodder in the limelight.
Today’s archetype isn’t explicitly about zombies, and can serve just as well for lovers of skeletons, and to a lesser extent, other undead, but if you’re thinking about picking up a zombie horde in your game, believe me, you could do worse than to go down this path.
New Sorcerer Bloodline
Dark Necromancer Bloodline
One of your ancestors was a powerful necromancer. While other sorcerers’ lineage might allow them to better emulate undead creatures, your heritage is above such things. You do not share your bloodline with the undead themselves, who are but slaves beneath your feet, but rather with those who serve as the masters of undeath. You find it simple to exert control over the undead, and know that it is your place to serve as their ruler.
Class Skill: Knowledge (religion).
Bonus Spells: sculpt corpseAPG (3rd), command undead (5th), gentle repose (7th), animate dead (9th), plague carrierUM (11th), create undead (13th), control undead (15th), create greater undead (17th), cursed earthUM (19th).
Bonus Feats: Command Undead, Extra Channel, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Selective Channeling, Skill Focus (Knowledge [religion]), Spell Focus, Thanatopic SpellUM.
Bloodline Arcana: For any effect that allows you to control a certain number of Hit Dice worth of undead creatures (including animate dead and the Command Undead feat), you can control twice as many Hit Dice worth of undead as you would otherwise be able to.
Bloodline Powers: You can call upon the dark powers of dread necromancy. The more that you tap into this dark well of magical might, the more that it calls out to you, beckoning you to drink deeper from its inky depths.
Channel Negative Energy (Su): You gain a limited ability to channel negative energy. This functions as the cleric class feature of the same name, except that you can only choose to channel negative energy, and the amount of damage dealt or healed by the ability is equal to 1d4 points of damage plus 1d4 points of damage for every three sorcerer levels beyond 1st (2d4 at 4th, 3d4 at 7th, and so on). You may channel energy a number of times per day equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. This ability also allows you to qualify for feats which require the channel energy class feature as a prerequisite.
Artisan of Undeath (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, you become a master of creating undead creatures. Whenever you create an undead creature (such as with animate dead, or similar effects), that creature has maximum possible hit points for its Hit Die. Additionally, such creatures gain a number of bonus hit points equal to your sorcerer level.
Negative Energy Overload (Su): Beginning at 9th level, you gain the ability to channel negative energy more effectively. Whenever you use the channel negative energy class feature to heal undead creatures, any creature that is healed by your channel negative energy ability gains a +1 profane bonus on attack and damage rolls for a number of rounds equal to your sorcerer level. At 14th level, this bonus increases to +2, and at 19th level, it increases to +3.
Necromiser (Su): Beginning at 15th level, whenever you cast a spell that both creates one or more undead creatures and has a costly material component (such as animate dead, create undead, and create greater undead), you may ignore some or all of the costly material component. This ability allows you to ignore up to 100 gp per sorcerer level of material components for any individual spell affected by this ability.
Master of the Shambling Hordes (Su): At 20th level, whenever you channel negative energy to harm living creatures or heal undead creatures, you may choose to have it do both, instead. Additionally, at 20th level, when determining the number of Hit Dice worth of undead you can control with effects like animate dead or the Command Undead feat, any undead creature with 4 or fewer Hit Dice does not count towards this total (allowing you to control any number of such creatures). Finally, mindless undead creatures do not willingly attack you or attempt to harm you. Intelligent undead creatures, as well as mindless undead creatures that have been specifically ordered to attack you, must succeed on a Will save (DC 20 + your Charisma modifier) or be unable to harm you, as the spell sanctuary. If you take a hostile action towards an undead creature, that creature becomes immune to this effect, but other undead creatures continue to be affected by it.