College of Necromancy

Subclass of: Bard

In the diverse world of bardic colleges, where music and magic intertwine to create wonders, the College of Necromancy stands apart, a unique and curious institution that blends the whimsical art of bardic performance with the enigmatic powers of necromancy. This college offers a path less traveled, where bards learn to extend their influence beyond the realm of the living, harmonizing with the echoes of the past and the whispers of the departed.

The bards of this college are a merry band of mirth-makers and soul-shakers. They don't see a graveyard as a place of sorrow but as a gathering of potential audience members and performers. Their performances are a curious blend of haunting melodies and hearty laughter, where a ghostly apparition might play a duet with a living minstrel, or a skeleton might tap its toes to the rhythm of a drum.

In this extraordinary college, the bards become masters of a unique craft, where they learn to tickle the funny bone (both metaphorically and literally) and to find the light in the darkness. They become storytellers who bridge the world of the living and the dead, turning every performance into a celebration of life, death, and everything in between.

The College of Necromancy offers a peculiar twist on the bard's traditional role. Members of this college see the act of raising the dead not as a grim or morbid practice, but as an opportunity to extend their audience and companionship beyond the usual bounds of life and death. These bards weave their magic to animate the deceased, turning them into loyal, if somewhat unconventional, allies.

At the heart of this college's philosophy is the belief that every soul deserves a chance to continue their story, even if in a somewhat different form. Bards of this college often find themselves accompanied by a motley crew of undead, each with its own eccentric personality and role in the bard's performances.

The College of Necromancy's teachings emphasize utility and support. Their undead minions serve as both protectors and performers, capable of taking blows meant for their living allies or distracting enemies with their absurd antics. Through their art, these bards create a harmonious blend of life and undeath, proving that even in death, there's room for a little song and dance.

As students progress through the ranks of the College of Necromancy, they learn to control multiple undead at once, making them formidable conductors of a macabre orchestra. Their final performances are often spectacular, with their undead ensemble going out in a literal burst of necrotic energy, leaving audiences both terrified and thoroughly entertained.

This subclass is perfect for players who wish to explore the lighter side of necromancy, combining the bard's natural charm and performance skills with a touch of the undead. The College of Necromancy bards bring a unique flavor to any adventuring party, proving that humor can be found in even the darkest of arts.

Additional Necromancy Spells for College of Necromancy Bard

3rd Level Spells
Animate Dead: A staple for any necromancer, allowing the bard to raise and control skeletons and zombies.
Speak with Dead: Fits the theme of communicating with the deceased, providing utility in gathering information.

5th Level Spells
Danse Macabre: Enables the bard to animate multiple corpses, enhancing their ability to create an undead ensemble.
Revivify: A supportive spell to bring back fallen allies, showing the bard's mastery over life and death.

7th Level Spells
Blight: A powerful spell dealing necrotic damage, representing the destructive aspect of necromancy.
Guardian of Faith: To summon a spectral guardian, blending the bard's protective nature with a touch of the supernatural.

9th Level Spells
Raise Dead: Allows the bard to bring back the dead, further emphasizing their control over life and death.
Negative Energy Flood: A high-level offensive spell that can create a zombie under the bard's control if it kills a creature.

Mushroom Homebrew

Undead Minstrels

3rd-level College of Necromancy feature

As an action, you can expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration to animate a dead humanoid within 30 feet, creating a zombie or skeleton of CR 1/4 or lower (your choice). It obeys your verbal commands, and you can use a bonus action on your turn to mentally command any creature you animated with this feature. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself. This feature can't be used again until you finish a short or long rest.

Your undead creations exhibit quirky, humorous behaviors (singing off-key, attempting to dance, etc.), which can be used to distract or amuse foes and allies alike. This can provide advantage on Charisma (Performance) checks in appropriate situations.

Undead Minstrel Stat Block

Base Creature: Use the base stat block of a skeleton or zombie from the Monster Manual.


Challenge Rating: 1/4 or lower.
Quirky Behavior: Include a description of their humorous behavior, like singing off-key or attempting to dance. This has no mechanical effect but is key for roleplaying.
Special Abilities:

Bardic Undead: The undead can be used as a focus for the Bard's spells and abilities that require a target within a certain range of the Bard, as long as the undead creature is within direct eyesight of the Bard.
Final Performance: Upon being reduced to 0 hit points, the undead minstrel collapses in a comical, dramatic fashion, which can be used to distract nearby enemies. This grants advantage on the next attack roll or skill check made by an ally within 5 feet of the fallen minstrel.

Performance of Creation

As a reaction when you or an ally within 30 feet takes damage, you can command one of your undead minions to interpose, reducing the damage by an amount equal to your Charisma modifier + half your bard level. The undead minion immediately runs to the ally to protect them, exhausting their movement and reaction as well. The undead minion takes the mitigated damage in place of the ally.

Eerie Duet

You can cast "Speak with Dead" at will, without expending a spell slot, but only on corpses you have animated. Conversations often take a humorous or nonsensical turn.

Necrotic Conductor

As a seasoned performer in the macabre arts of necromancy, your mastery over the undead reaches new heights. You become a true conductor of necrotic energy, harmonizing the lifeless with a wave of your hand. This ability enhances your "Undead Minstrels" feature, allowing you to animate not just one, but a chorus of corpses in a symphony of the undead. 

Expanded Mechanics:

Final Curtain Call

When an undead minion you control is destroyed, it explodes in a burst of necrotic energy. Each creature within 5 feet of it must make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC, taking necrotic damage equal to your Bardic Inspiration die on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.