All Hallow’s Eve Fest IV: Profane Rites of Necromancy

As a final installment of this All Hallow’s Eve Fest, I leave you with a handful of new necromantic rites for your Witch Hunter game.

Expanded Necromancy Rites

Basic Necromantic Rites

Mastery: 3
Time: 1 minute/1 round
Duration: 1 hour
Strain: 2
Damnation: 0/0
Description: This rite allows the necromancer to locate any corpse (or corpses) within 2 Areas from the sorcerer.  The rite serves two fuctions.  First, it may reveal the location specific corpse of a subject known to the necromancer, either personally or through study, even mixed within a mass grave.  Alternatively, the rite will identify one or more corpses that are most useful to the necromancer’s purposes (say, for a Slumbering Death rite).

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to expand the range of the rite by 2 Areas.
  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase the duration by 1 hour.

Mastery: 3
Time: 1 hour/1 round
Duration: 1 day
Strain: 2
Damnation: 1/1
Description: With this rite, the necromancer animates the severed hand of a corpse.  The link forged between the sorcerer and the hand allows the creation to be directed from as far as 10 miles for each rank of Necromancy the sorcerer possesses.  By remaining motionless and closing his eyes, the necromancer can “see” the hand’s surroundings.  The energy animating the hand persists for a day or until released by the necromancer, at which point the hand quickly rots into nothing more than black, bubbling ichor.

Creeping Hand
Threat Rating: 2
Hell’s Favor: 1
Pace: 4
Special Attack: Claw (+1/+2)
Talents: Burst of Speed, Grab and Run
Fundamental Power/Price: Jumping/Restriction (Cannot cross holy ground)
Skills: Acrobatics 6d, Athletics (Jump) 6d, Notice 4d, Stealth 8d

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase Threat Rating by 1.
  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase duration by 1 day.

Greater Necromancy

Mastery: 4
Time: 10 minutes/1 minute
Duration: 1 day
Strain: 4
Damnation: 1/4
Description: By means of this rite, the necromancer disguises the violation and defilement of an Area or Item so as to be almost undetectable.  While in effect, the power of this rite will conceal and mask the presence of evil spirits, creatures, and beings that would otherwise be restricted from crossing onto holy consecrated ground.  Only a priest of the same faith and sect (ie. a Christian Catholic, a Sunni Muslim, etc.) that laid the original consecration is able pierce the veal and see the truth for what it is.  Otherwise, a suspicious witch hunter may attempt to see through the disguise with a successful True Faith + Concentration roll, the difficulty being the mastery of the rite.

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase the duration by 1 day.
  • Boost: Increase the Mastery by 2 to increase the radius of the Location use by 1 Area.

Mastery: 6
Time: 10 minutes/1 round (2 hours)
Duration: 1 day per rank in Necromancy
Strain: 4
Damnation: 3/6
Description: With this rite, the necromancer calls into being a reeking heap of remains, including putrid flesh, bone, and offal that will, within two hours, attract, feed, and otherwise entertain a number of GHUL bands equal to the necromancer’s skill roll.  Each band will consist of up to 5 ghuls (1d5).  The ghouls will remain for the duration of the rite, feasting upon the foul banquet provided, not wandering beyond the Area indicated by the necromancer.  The location must be amicable to ghuls (ie. a dank, gloomy deserted building, an underground catacomb).  Under the effects of the rite, the ghuls will attack any living creatures that approach within 1 Area of the feast, and will obey the basic commands of the necromancer if he remains within close proximity. 

It must be stressed that while the ghuls under the influence of this rite will not attack the necromancer, he is under no special protection from them either (unless other precautions are taken).  If the present necromancer suffers a wound level in damage (Nicked) or more, he must immediately make a Concentrate (Will) roll or be set upon by these fiends.  The difficulty of the roll is D1 per band of ghuls present.  For example, if 3 bands of ghuls are present when the necromancer is wounded, the difficulty of the Concentration roll would be D3.  The number of ghuls per band is immaterial.

Once the duration of the rite has passed, the ghuls will wander away of their own accord.  Ghuls killed under the influence of the rite are not replaced.

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase the duration by 1 day.

Mastery: 4
Time: 1 round/1 round
Duration: 1 day per level of Mastery
Strain: 2
Damnation: 1/3
Description: By laying a hand on the intended target (Touch Attack, +2d to Melee attack), the necromancer profanes the spirit.  For the duration of the rite, the target is unable to heal, naturally or otherwise.  Wounds will continue to weep and fester despite all efforts.  The target of the rite does not take any additional damage, but cannot recover any health until the duration is passed. 

The spiritual impurities caused by this rite may be removed magically by either of these rites: Crystal Purge Devotion (Animism), Purging Fire (Prayer).

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase the duration by 1 day.

Requirement: Slumbering Death
Mastery: 10
Time: None/10 minutes
Duration: special
Strain: 0
Damnation: 1/6
Description: This special necromantic rite has no direct effect of its own.  Rather, its purpose is to increase the potency of the zombie reanimated via the Slumbering Death rite (Witch Hunter Core Rulebook, pg. 178).  The ritual acts as extended preparation for that rite, involving additional and exacting profane sigils and glyphs scrawled upon the corpse.  Upon completion, the necromancer must immediately begin formal preparation of the Slumber Death rite.  This rite MUST be preformed before the performance of Slumbering Death.  Once a zombie has been animated, it may no longer be enhanced.

This rite allows the necromancer to make numerous enhancements to the reanimated zombie.  Only one enhancement may be prepared with each employment of this rite. The necromancer may perform this rite numerous times prior to enacting the Slumbering Death rite.  However, the corpse may only be given a number of enhancements equal to the Necromancer’s skill rank.  Additionally, an enhanced zombie counts as 2 against the necromancer’s Damnation score, reducing the total number of undead the sorcerer can safely control.

With each performance of this rite, the necromancer may choose one from the following list of enhancements:

  • Cunning: Normally mindless undead, this enhancement instills the zombie with a supernatural cunning.  It becomes specialized in Stealth, gains the Resolve skill equal to it’s Hell’s Favor, and receives the Sneaky Talent.
  • Resilience: The zombie’s hardened flesh is reinforced with supernatural energies.  It gains +1 to its Armor protection and its Fortitude defense.
  • Speed: The zombie’s Pace is increased by 2.
  • Strength: Already possessed of unnatural strength, the zombie’s gains the Attack Focus (Claw) and Brutal Charge Talents.

Mastery: 4
Time: —/1 round
Duration: 1 hour
Strain: 2
Damnation: 2/3
Description: This rite calls into being a swarm of terrible, disgusting pale worm-like vermin within 2 Areas distant that will attack all living targets within that Area (excluding the necromancer, if he or she is within the designated area as well).  The worms themselves are minuscule, little more than an inch in length, but appear by the thousands in a writing mass that bite with lamprey-like jaws.  Their size always them to bypass any worn armor.  Individuals are smashed easily enough, but in death release a foul poison into the wounds of those attacked.  Due to the long duration of the rite, necromancers will often summon these masses and leave to deal with pursuing witch hunters.  The mass will remain stationary, moving to attack any living creature that approaches within 1 Area of it.

Murder of Charnelworms*
Threat Rating: 2
Hell’s Favor: 3
Pace: 1
Special Attacks: Bite +2/+1
Talents: Swarm
Fundamental Powers/Prices: Debilitative Poison/Avoidance (Salt)
Skills: Notice 4d

* Murders are described in the Grand Tome of Adversaries, 2nd edition, pg. 128-29.

Villainous Necromantic Rites

Mastery: 6
Time: 1 round/1 round
Defense: Fortitude/Endurance (Toughness)
Duration: Special
Strain: 2
Damnation: 2/4
Description: Enacting this particularly vile rite, the necromancer designates a single target within 1 Area from his position.  A roll against the Target’s Fortitude defense is required, regardless of the rite’s Mastery requirements.  If successful, the target’s guts fill with hungry, writhing maggots.  Each round thereafter, the target suffers DM equal to the Rite’s Mastery.  The target may make an Endurance (Toughness) roll each round, with each success negating 1 damage die.  If all of the damage for a given round is negated thus, the rite ends.

If the target dies under the effects of the rite, his guts begin to swell.  After a round, the corpse bursts open, releasing a swarm of black biting flies that fill the Area.

Murder of Charnel Flies*
Threat Rating: 2
Hell’s Favor: 3
Pace: 1
Special Attacks: Bite +2/+2
Talents: Swarm
Fundamental Powers/Prices: Swarm/Vulnerability (Fire)
Flight/Restriction (Holy Ground)
Skills: None

  • Boost: Increase Mastery by 1 to increase the DM of the rite by 1.

* Murders are described in the Grand Tome of Adversaries, 2nd edition, pg. 128-29.

Mastery: 8
Time: 3 days/1 round
Defense: True Faith (Resolve)
Duration: Indefinite
Strain: 3
Damnation: 3/6
Description: By means of this rite, the necromancer rips the soul from a target and imprisons it in a specially prepared vessel.  Preparing the vessel (typically an urn, jar, or gem) requires three days of exacting work.  The vessel must be within the Area when the rite is completed, though need not be on the necromancer’s person or even in a prominent position.  To complete the rite, the necromancer recites the name of the victim and makes a successful touch attack (+2d melee attack), at which time the target must make a True Faith + Resolve roll vs half of the Mastery of the Rite.  If the roll fails, the target’s soul is ripped from her body and trapped within the vessel.

Deprived of its soul, the target slumps into a lifeless, comatose state, kept alive only by instinct.  Each day this condition persists, the target must make a D1 Will roll (no skill bonus) or lose a rank of Toughness.  If Toughness is reduced to 0, the target dies. 

The target’s soul is bound into the vessel until it is destroyed or opened, at which point the soul is released.  Only one soul may be held in a vessel.

  • Boost: By inscribing the name of the target on the vessel during the preparation stage, and including small remnants of the target (a fingernail, a lock of hair, etc.) within, the necromancer reduces the effective Mastery by 2 ranks.  This reduction does not apply to the target’s defense roll.

Mastery: 6
Time: —/1 round
Duration: Instantaneous
Strain: 3
Damnation: 2/4
Description: Calling upon the most forbidden knowledge, the necromancer utters an ancient, eldritch profanity so foul, God’s creation trembles at its utterance.  Even whispered, the word reverberates through an Area.  All targets within the Area with a True Faith score higher than their Damnation are wracked with spiritual pain, and suffer DM equal to the Mastery of the Rite.  Those with a Hell’s Favor score (including Minions) are unaffected by the word.


  • Find Corpse, Conceal Desecration, Red Feast and Wormsplague are adapted from Dangerous Journeys: Mythus.
  • Helping Hand was inspired by a similar power from The Savage World of Solomon Kane.
  • Infestation of Worms was adapted from Shadows of the Demon Lord.
  • Soul Cage was adapted from the Heroes of Horror sourcebook for Dungeons and Dragons (3.5 edition).

Other All Hallow’s Eve Fest (2015) Articles:

5 thoughts on “All Hallow’s Eve Fest IV: Profane Rites of Necromancy

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