Death Mage

Death mages....

Role: ...

Alignment: Any nongood.

Hit Dice: d8.

Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The deathmage’s class abilities are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Death Mage

Attack Bonus
Fort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialSpells Per Day
1st+0+2+0+2Cantrips, charnel touch 1d8, darkvision1
2nd+1+3+0+3Dark tendrils 1/day2
3rd+2+3+1+3Channel energy (1d6), command undead3
4th+3+4+1+4Charnel touch (fear)31
5th+3+4+1+4Dark tendrils (2 tendrils), fearless42
6th+4+5+2+5Channel energy (2d6)43
7th+5+5+2+5Charnel touch (bleed), DR 1/—431
8th+6/+1+6+2+6Charnel touch 2d8, dark tendrils 2/day442
9th+6/+1+6+3+6Channel energy (3d6), life sight543
10th+7/+2+7+3+7Charnel touch (pain), DR 2/—5431
11th+8/+3+7+3+7Dark tendrils (3 tendrils)5442
12th+9/+4+8+4+8Channel energy (4d6)5543
13th+9/+4+8+4+8Charnel touch (exhaustion), DR 3/—, steal body55431
14th+10/+5+9+4+9Dark tendrils 3/day55442
15th+11/+6/+1+9+5+9Channel energy (5d6), charnel touch 3d855543
16th+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Charnel touch (suffocation), DR 4/—555431
17th+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Dark tendrils (4 tendrils), timeless body555442
18th+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Channel energy (6d6)555543
19th+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Charnel touch (death), DR 5/—555554
20th+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Dark tendrils 4/day, master over death555555

Table: Deathmage Spells Known
LevelSpells Known

Class Features 

The following are class features of the deathmage.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

The death mage is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the cat-o-nine-tails, kukri, and scorpion whip. A death mage is proficient with light armor, but not with shields. She can cast death mage spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a death mage wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass death mage still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.


A death mage casts arcane spells drawn from the death mage spell list. The death mage can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, an death mage must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The difficulty class for a saving throw against an death mage’s spell is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the death mage’s Charisma modifier.

A death mage cannot use spell completion or spell trigger magic items of spells of 7th level or higher (without a successful Use Magic Device check). Her alignment may restrict her from casting certain spells opposed to her moral or ethical beliefs; see Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells.

Like other spellcasters, an death mage can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on the table above. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score.

The death mage’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A death mage begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of her choice. At each new death mage level, she learns one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Death Mage Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a death mage knows is not affected by her Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Death Mage Spells Known above are fixed.

At 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter, an death mage can learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the death mage loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A death mage can swap only a single spell at any given level, and she must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level. She cannot swap any cure or inflict spells. 

Unlike a wizard, an death mage need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level.

Cantrips: Death mages learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume spell slots and can be cast again. 

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A death mage can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own. Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions.

Charnel Touch (Su)

At 1st level, a death mage becomes the embodiment of death and becomes infused with the energies from the negative energy plane. Whenever a death mage can make a melee attack, she can use her charnel touch instead. Charnel touch is a melee touch attack that deals 1d8 points of damage + 1 point for every two death mage levels she possesses. She can use this ability at will, but only once per round. The damage die of her charnel touch increases to 2d8 at 8th level and 3d8 at 15th level. 

As the death mage gains experience, she can infuse her charnel touch with the following additional effects as a swift action. Some effects expend uses of her channel energy ability. The DC save for these additional effects is equal to 10 + 1/2 the death mage’s level + her Charisma modifier.

Fear: At 4th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, the affected creature becomes frightened for 1 round per level of the death mage. If the subject succeeds on a Will save, it is shaken for 1 round instead. 

Bleed: At 7th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, any existing wounds that the target possesses bleed profusely. If the creature’s current total hit points are less than its maximum, this effect causes the creature to take 1 point of bleed damage 1 round per death mage level and become exhausted until the bleeding stops. A successful DC 15 Heal check or any spell that cures hit point damage negates the bleed effect.

Pain: At 10th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, she can expend 1 use of her channel negative energy ability to wrack the target’s mind and body are wracked with agonizing pain that imposes a –4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. This effect lasts for 1 round per three death mage levels. A successful Will save reduces the duration to 1 round.

Exhaustion: At 13th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, she can expend 2 uses of her channel negative energy ability to cause the subject to become immediately exhausted for 1 round per death mage level. A successful Fortitude save means the creature is only fatigued. A creature that is already fatigued instead becomes exhausted. This has no effect on a creature that is already exhausted. Unlike normal exhaustion or fatigue, it ends as soon as the effect expires.

Suffocation: At 16th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, she can expend 3 uses of her channel negative energy ability to extract the air from the target’s lungs, causing swift suffocation.The target can attempt to resist this effect with a Fortitude save. If successful, the target is merely staggered for 1 round as he gasps for breath. If the target fails, he immediately begins to suffocate. On the target’s next turn, he falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points. One round later, the target drops to -1 hit points and is dying. One round after that, the target dies. Each round, the target can delay that round’s effects from occurring by making a successful Fortitude save, but the effect continues for 3 rounds, and each time a target fails his Fortitude save, he moves one step further along the track to suffocation. This effect only affects living creatures that must breathe. It is impossible to defeat this effect by simply holding one’s breath-if the victim fails the initial Saving Throw, the air in his lungs is extracted.

Death: At 19th level, whenever a death mage makes a successful charnel touch attack, she can expend 4 uses of her channel negative energy ability to attempt to slay the target of her charnel touch. The target takes 12d6 points of damage + 1 point per death mage level. If the target’s Fortitude saving throw succeeds, it instead takes 3d6 points of damage + 1 point per death mage level. 

Darkvision (Ex)

At 1st level, a death mage gains darkvision up to 60 feet. If the death mage already has darkvision, it increases by 30 feet. 

Dark Tendrils (Su)

Starting at 2nd level, a death mage can use her dark powers to draw life energy from living creatures to heal herself. As a move action, a death mage can cause a single shadowy translucent tendril to burst from her body and attempt to attach itself to any creature of her choice within 10 feet. The target must succeed on a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 the death mage’s level + the death mage’s Charisma modifier) to avoid a tendril. If the target fails, the tendril attaches itself to the chosen target for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the death mage’s level. 

While a tendril is attached, 1 hit point of damage per round is transferred from the target to the death mage as if he had gained fast healing 1. A dark tendril dissipates immediately upon a successful save, or at the end of the effect’s duration. The death mage can create one additional dark tendril at 5th level, and every six levels thereafter to a maximum of four tendrils at 17th level. Each successfully attached dark tendril grants the death mage fast healing 1, but only one tendril can be attached to a single target. The fast healing effects of this ability stack. For example, a 17th level death mage can create up to 4 dark tendrils and attaching them to four separate targets. Each tendril grants fast healing 1, with the combined potential to grant a total of fast healing 4 for the duration of the ability’s effect. 

A death mage can use this ability once per day, plus an additional time per day at 8th level and every six levels thereafter, to a maximum of four times per day at 20th level. This ability functions only while the death mage is conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.

Channel Negative Energy (Su)

Regardless of alignment, a death mage can release a wave of negative energy by channeling his power through his own body. Starting at 3rd level, the death mage can use this energy to cause damage to living creatures or heal undead creatures. Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot radius centered on the death mage. The amount of damage dealt or healed is equal to 1d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points of damage for every two death mage levels beyond 3rd (2d6 at 6th, 3d6 at 9th, and so on), to a maximum of 6d6 at 18th level. Creatures that take damage from channeled energy receive a Will save to halve the damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the death mage’s level + the death mage’s Charisma modifier. Creatures healed by channel negative energy cannot exceed their maximum hit point total—all excess healing is lost. A death mage may channel negative energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. This is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. A death mage can choose to heal himself with this effect, regardless of how he uses it.

Command Undead

At 3rd level, a death mage gains Command Undead as a bonus feat.

Fearless (Su)

At 5th level, a death mage is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 10 feet of the death mage gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects. This ability functions only while the death mage is conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.

Life Sight (Su)

At 9th level, a death mage gains blindsight to a range of 10 feet for a number of rounds per day equal to her death mage level. This ability only allows the death mage to detect living creatures and undead creatures. This sight also tells her whether a creature is living or undead. Constructs and other creatures that are neither living nor undead cannot be seen with this ability. The range of this ability increases by 10 feet at 12th level, and by an additional 10 feet for every three levels beyond 12th. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Steal Body (Sp)

At 13th level, a death mage can, once per day, attempt to possess the body of an unwilling creature. This ability otherwise functions as the possession spell. 

Timeless Body (Ex)

At 17th level, a death mage no longer takes ability score penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any penalties she may have already incurred, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the death mage still dies of old age when her time is up.

Master Over Death (Ex)

Upon reaching 20th level, a death mage gains the ability to can escape the inevitability of death by swapping souls with another creature. Whenever a death mage is disabled, helpless (but must be conscious), or is forced to make a Fortitude save from a coup de grace, she can, as a standard action, transfer her soul into the body of another creature within 100 feet to avoid death. The target must make a successful Will save to negate this effect. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the death mage’s level + the death mage’s Charisma modifier. Once a creature has been the target of the master over death ability, regardless of whether or not the save is made, that creature is immune to that death mage’s master over death ability for 24 hours. Creatures that are immune to magic jar, soul bind, trap the soul, or other similar magic are also immune to this ability.


1st Level Death Mage Spellsbane, carrion compass, cause fear, chill touch, deathwatch, decompose corpse, detect chaos/good/law, detect demon, detect undead, diagnose disease, doom, grasping corpse, infernal healing, inflict light wounds, interrogation, mask dweomer, protection from chaos/good/law, ray of enfeeblement, ray of sickening, repair corpse, restore corpse, sanctify corpse, sculpt corpse, sleep, touch of blindness, touch of bloodletting, undetectable alignment, unseen servant.

2nd Level Death Mage Spellsancestral communion, animate dead (lesser), blindness/deafness, blood blaze, blood of the martyr, boiling blood, bone fists, boneshaker, brow gasher, death candle, death knell, defending bone, desecrate, diminish resistance, disfiguring touch, dread bolt, dress corpse, enemy’s heart, enthrall, fleshcurdle, gentle repose, ghostbane dirge, ghoul touch, instrument of agony, life channel, life pact, inflict moderate wounds, martyr’s bargain, protection from chaos (communal), protection from good (communal), protection from law (communal), protective penumbra, savage maw, scare, sentry skull, skinsend, unliving rage, unshakable chill.

3rd Level Death Mage Spellsagonizing rebuke, agonize, animate dead, aura of cannibalism, bleed for your master, blood biography, blood scent, cackling skull, contagion, cup of dust, eldritch fever, flesh puppet, gloomblind bolts, halt undead, howling agony, infernal challenger, inflict serious wounds, loathsome veil, magic circle against chaos/good/law, penumbral disguise, ray of exhaustion, screaming flames, shield of darkness, skeleton crew, speak with dead, stinking cloud, symbol of exsanguination, undead anatomy I, vampiric touch, vision of hell, waters of maddening.

4th Level Death Mage Spellsage resistance (lesser), aggravate affliction, anti-incorporeal shell, aura of doom, blackspot, blight, bloatbomb, bloody arrows, boneshatter, crushing despair, deadman’s contingency, death ward, detonate, enervation, fear, flesh puppet horde, fleshworm infestation, ghostbane dirge (mass), hunger for flesh, infernal healing (greater), inflict critical wounds, overwhelming grief, phantasmal asphyxiation, phantasmal killer, plague carrier, rigor mortis, shadow barbs, shadow step, speak with haunt, terrible remorse, transplant visage, umbral infusion, undead anatomy II, wall of bone, waves of fatigue.

5th Level Death Mage Spellsage resistance, caustic blood, contagion (greater), create undead, daywalker, dispel chaos/good/law, feast on fear, ghoul army, hungry earth, hungry pit, inflict light wounds (mass), insect plague, magic jar, nightmare, pain strike (mass), profane nimbus, rest eternal, shadow walk, slay living, slough, suffocation, summon infernal host, symbol of pain, symbol of striking, torpid reanimation, umbral strike, undead anatomy III, unhallow, vampiric shadow shield. 

6th Level Death Mage Spellsage resistance (greater), antilife shell, banshee blast, circle of death, contingency, control undead, create greater undead, death clutch, decapitate, energy drain, eyebite, finger of death, flesh wall, harm, hellfire ray, hunger for flesh (mass), inflict moderate wounds (mass), night terrors, phantasmal putrefaction, plague storm, repulsion, spellstaff, symbol of death, umbral infusion (mass), undead anatomy IV, unwilling shield, vengeful outrage, wave of exhaustion, wither limb.