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Hordelord (Alternate Class)

The hordelord sends forth groups of undead to do her nefarious bidding.

Class Features

As a hordelord, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per hordelord level
Hit Points at 1st Level : 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per general level after 1st.

Proficiencies

Armor: light and medium armor, shields
Weapons: simple and martial weapons
Tools: none
Saving Throws: Charisma, Constitution
Skills: Choose three from Insight, Investigation, Perception, Religion and Stealth. Choose one of either Intimidation or Persuasion.

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) studded leather armor or (b) leather armor
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
  • two simple melee weapons
Table 8-4: Hordelord Class Features
Level Proficiency Bonus Special
1st +2 Ravenous death, zombie horde
2nd +2 Fell tactic, path of depravity
3rd +2  
4th +2 Fell tactic
5th +3  
6th +3 Fell tactic
7th +3  
8th +3 Fell tactic
9th +4 Path of depravity
10th +4 Fell tactic
11th +4  
12th +4 Fell tactic
13th +5  
14th +5 Fell tactic
15th +5 Arise
16th +5 Fell tactic, path of depravity
17th +6  
18th +6 Fell tactic
19th +6  
20th +6 Master of undeath, fell tactic

The Zombie Horde

At 1st level, the hordelord gains a zombie horde consisting of 6 humanoid zombies of the same original race as the hordelord. The horde acts in aggregate, with no single member more important than the rest. The statistics of the hordelord’s horde follow a set guideline and advance as she levels up. These can be found in Table 8-3. During combat, the squad acts in aggregate, with no single member more important than the rest. The statistics of the general’s squad follow a set guideline and advance as she levels up. These can be found in Table 8-3.

The horde is something of an abstraction, in that the component creatures that make up the horde are mostly irrelevant; only the horde as a whole matters for the purposes of combat. Hordes are generally assumed to be composed of similar members of the same race, and a hordelord typically commands members of her own race. Even if there are a few members of other races, the horde is considered a member of the hordelord’s race and gains the same racial abilities as the hordelord does. If it fits the hordelord’s backstory, with the permission of the GM, the hordelord can choose another race instead.

Reducing the horde to 0 hit points or fewer causes it to disperse, effectively destroying the horde, though the damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack.

The horde has a single pool of Hit Dice and hit points, a single initiative modifier, a single speed, and a single armor class. The horde makes saving throws as a single creature. The horde initially occupies 3 squares, though the actual size category of the horde is the same as that of the component creatures. The area occupied by the squad is completely shape-able, though the horde must remain in contiguous squares at all times, even during movement, to accurately reflect a zombie horde. The horde has a reach equal to that of the component creatures, based on size. The horde can move through squares occupied by creatures and vice versa without impediment, although the horde provokes an opportunity attack if it does so. The horde can move through any area large enough for its component creatures. The exact number of a horde’s component creatures varies based on the level of the hordelord and some other factors but is generally equal to 2 or 3 times the numbers of squares the horde takes up.

The horde is never reduced to a dying state by damage; it simply disperses instead.

The horde cannot be moved involuntarily, except by area effects that do so (like an avalanche, or thunderwave). However, a squad can grapple an opponent, and this does cause the horde to gain the grappled condition.

Hordes are immune to single target spells (such as invisibility). To be affected by multiple target spells, the spell must have a sufficient number of targets to affect all the members of the horde, and the horde uses up a number of targets equal to the number of zombies in the horde. At the GM’s discretion, the horde may be partially hindered by a spell that targets a high number of its members; for instance, if the horde fails a saving throw against an effect that would paralyze most of the zombies in the horde, the GM might rule that part of the horde is affected by the spell.

The horde is weak to spells or effects that affect an area, taking +50% damage as usual. When the horde reaches 0 hp, they are dispersed; the horde consists of 0 zombies if this happens.

So long as the horde has at least the minimum number of zombies in it equal to the minimum number in the zombies column for the hordelord’s level, the horde takes no penalties. If the horde has less zombies than the minimum number, the horde loses all benefits of fell tactics until its numbers are replenished. If the horde has fewer zombies in it than 1-1/2 times the number of squares the horde occupies, it is treated as dispersed until the hordelord replenishes the number of zombies in the horde.

  • Horde Attack. Melee Weapon Attack: Reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d8) bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (choose one type each round). The horde’s attack counts as a two-handed weapon. The horde can use any actions a PC could normally use. If the hordelord has selected a fell tactic that gives a new option for the horde attack, the horde can change between types of horde attacks as a bonus action.

Some abilities of the hordelord allow her to sacrifice members of her horde. When this happens, she selects one zombie within her horde and severs the necrotic energy that was allowing it un-life. The selected body turns to dust instantly, and it reduces the number of zombies in the horde by 1.

The hordelord replenishes the zombies in her horde through a specialized ritual that is like animate dead.

This ritual takes 1 minute to perform and requires the body to be reanimated and an onyx gem worth 25 gp.

Upon completion, the zombie rises and joins the horde as a member. Regardless of the size and shape of the original corpse, the zombie arises as a humanoid zombie. At GM’s discretion, larger sized corpses could arise as multiple zombies. If her horde of zombies is at the maximum allowed amount, the hordelord cannot use the ritual until there is room in the horde.

When the hordelord gains a level where the minimum number of zombies in her horde increases, she gains those additional zombies for free, so long as there are corpses that can be used.

Ravenous Death

At 1st level, once per turn when the hordelord or the horde reduces a creature to 0 hit points, the horde regains 4 times the creature’s challenge rating hit points.

Fell Tactics

The hordelord gains the extraordinary tactic ability of the general, except as listed below. The extraordinary tactics are not tactics, but instead are behaviors that the hordelord infused her zombies with, granting special power that mimics the capabilities of normal extraordinary tactics. The hordelord cannot select the following extraordinary tactics: fluid tactics, hunter tactics, long spear tactics, or skilled tactics. The hordelord can select from the following additional fell tactics.

  • Fearful presence tactics: The hordelord modifies her zombie horde to be more fearsome to those within range of the horde. Creatures with the frightened condition also treat the horde as the source of its fear for purposes of movement.
  • Necrophage tactic: The necrophage fell tactic infects the horde with a ravenous appetite for flesh. As a full-round action, the horde can devour a corpse that is in a square it occupies. This gives the horde +2 strength until the next time the hordelord rests. This bonus does not stack with itself.
  • Essence conduit tactic: The negative energy conduit fell tactic infuses the horde with a bit of the hordelord’s necrotic energy. When the horde would gain hit points from its ravenous death ability, the hordelord may gain the benefit of that healing instead.

Spellcasting

The hordelord can cast spells, as described below. Their spell list includes all wizard spells of up to 6th level in the Necromancy school.

Cantrips: You know one cantrip from the hordelord spell list.

Spell Slots: The Hordelord table below shows how many spell slots you have to cast spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended slots when you finish a long rest.

Spells Known of 1st level and Higher: You know two 1st level spells of your choice from the hordelord list. The Spells Known column on the table shows when you learn more hordelord spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

In addition, whenever you gain a level in this class, you may choose one of the hordelord spells you know and replace it with another hordelord spell, which must also be of a level for which you have slots.

Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your casting ability for hordelord spells. Your magic comes from the innate ability you have to magically commune with the dead.

When a spell refers to your spellcasting ability, you use Charisma . In addition, you use your Charisma to determine the save DC of any hordelord spell which requires one, and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Ritual Casting: You may cast any hordelord spell you know as a ritual if it has the ritual tag. A spell cast as a ritual takes an additional 10 minutes to cast but does not require you to expend a spell slot.

Table 8-5: Hordelord Spells Per Day
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st 1
2nd 2
3rd 3
4th 3 1
5th 4 1
6th 4 2
7th 4 2 1
8th 4 2 2
9th 4 3 2
10th 4 3 2 1
11th 4 3 3 1
12th 4 3 3 2
13th 4 3 3 2 1
14th 4 3 3 2 2
15th 4 3 3 3 2
16th 4 3 3 3 2 1
17th 4 3 3 3 2 1
18th 4 3 3 3 3 1
19th 4 3 3 3 3 2
20th 4 3 3 3 3 2
Table 8-6: Hordelord Spells Known
Level Spells
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 4
4th 5
5th 6
6th 6
7th 7
8th 7
9th 8
10th 8
11th 9
12th 9
13th 10
14th 10
15th 11
16th 11
17th 12
18th 12
19th 12
20th 12

Horde Command

At 1st level, a hordelord gains the ability to command her horde to greater effect. As an action, she can issue an attack command. This functions as the Help action when attacking an opponent, but the hordelord does not need to be within 5 feet of either the horde or the opponent.

At 3rd level, she can instead issue a swarm command as an action. When she issues this command, the horde can attack wildly in all directions as its action, dealing damage equal to the general’s class level to all creatures and unattended objects within its reach.

At 6th level, she can instead issue a support command as a bonus action. When she issues this command, the squad focuses on supporting the hordelord. This functions as the Help action, except the hordelord receives advantage on all attack rolls, not only the first, against that foe.

Path of Depravity

There are many paths to mastery of undeath, and each hordelord follows one best suited for her individual goals. At 2nd level, the hordelord chooses a single path of depravity. This path grants her a number of special abilities as she gains levels. See page 309 for the list of Paths of Depravity.

Arise

At 15th level, the hordelord is able to weave her own necrotic energy with the animating principles of the reanimation spells. If a creature would die while affected by one of the hordelord’s spells, she may use her reaction to cause it to rise as a zombie and join her horde.

Master of Undeath

The hordelord’s mastery is complete. At 20th level, the hordelord may bolster his horde’s necrotic essence as an action. They are immediately restored to full hit points, and any negative conditions on them are removed. Once the hordelord uses this ability, she must complete a long rest before using it again.

Zombie Horde Statistics

Starting Statistics

Speed: 20 ft., Ability Scores: Strength 15, Dexterity 13, Constitution 14, Intelligence 3, Wisdom 12, Charisma 14

Class Level: This is the character’s hordelord level. Only levels in the hordelord class count for the purposes of the horde’s abilities.

HD: This is the total number of eight sided (d8) Hit Dice the horde possesses, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal.

Proficiency Bonus: This is the horde’s proficiency bonus.

Armor Bonus: The horde has an armor bonus to AC equal to the number in this column.

Str/Con Bonus: Add this modifier to the horde’s Strength and Constitution scores.

Squares: This is the maximum number of squares the horde can occupy.

Zombies: This is the range of number of zombies in the horde.

Chaos of Combat: Starting at 1st level, spellcasting or concentrating on spells within the reach of a horde or within its reach requires a concentration check (DC 8 + proficiency bonus).

Table 8-7: Zombie Horde Base Statistics
Class Level HD Proficiency Bonus Armor Bonus Str/Con Bonus Squares Zombies
1st 1 +2 +2 +1 3 6–9
2nd 2 +2 +2 +1 3 6–9
3rd 3 +2 +3 +1 3 6–9
4th 4 +2 +3 +1 3 6–9
5th 5 +3 +3 +2 4 8–12
6th 6 +3 +4 +2 4 8–12
7th 7 +3 +4 +2 4 8–12
8th 8 +3 +4 +2 4 8–12
9th 9 +4 +5 +3 4 8–12
10th 10 +4 +5 +3 5 10–15
11th 11 +4 +5 +3 5 10–15
12th 12 +4 +6 +3 5 10–15
13th 13 +5 +6 +4 5 10–15
14th 14 +5 +6 +4 5 10–15
15th 15 +5 +7 +4 6 12–18
16th 16 +5 +7 +4 6 12–18
17th 17 +6 +7 +5 6 12–18
18th 18 +6 +8 +5 6 12–18
19th 19 +6 +8 +5 6 12–18
20th 20 +6 +8 +5 6 12–18

Paths of Depravity

Path of the Master

Hordelords on the path of the master desire the means to drown their enemies in seas of undeath. Their abilities focus on enhancing their horde to cause their foes to tremble in fear.

True Horde

At 2nd level, the maximum size of the hordelord’s zombie horde increases by 2 zombies and 1 square.

Heedless Rush

At 9th level, the zombie horde gains the ability to use the Dash action as a bonus action.

Replenishing Horde

At 16th level, twice per day the hordelord can use the ritual to add a new basic zombie to her horde as an action, without the need for an onyx gem.

Path of the Night

Hordelords of the night focus on the necromatic effects they can inflict upon others, fascinated with the myriad possibilities.

Necrotic Magic

At 2nd level, the hordelord can sacrifice a member of her zombie horde to modify her spells. Select one Sorcerer metamagic option. Whenever the zombie horde is within 30 feet of the hordelord and she casts a spell, she can apply this metamagic to her spell by sacrificing a number of zombies equal to twice the sorcery points the metamagic would cost. This destroys the selected zombies.

Fellsurge

At 9th level, the hordelord can use her latent necrotic energy in such a way as to bolster her horde. As a reaction action, she can expend a spell slot to add damage to her horde’s attack, as Divine Smite, except the damage is necrotic.

Frightful Magic

Whenever the hordelord casts a necromancy spell against a single target currently within her horde’s chaos of combat, she can choose to cause the target to be frightened unless they succeed at a Wisdom saving throw whose DC is equal to DC of the spell she cast. This effect occurs after the spell is resolved.

Path of the Reaper

Hordelords that follow the path of the reaper feast upon the fleeting souls.

Reaping

The hordelord gains proficiency with martial weapons.

Deadly Juggernaut

At 9th level, when the hordelord’s zombie horde reduces an enemy to 0 hit points, they may immediately make another attack against any enemy in reach.

…What You’ve Sown

The hordelord’s zombie horde becomes a tool of vengeful might. At 16th level, when an enemy attacks and misses the zombie horde, the horde may make an opportunity attack against that enemy.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Ultimate Kingdoms (5E) © 2020, Legendary Games; Lead Designer: Jason Nelson. Authors: Ben Walklate, Mark Seifter, Linda Zayas-Palmer, Will McCardell