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Master of Shrouds

(Defenders of the Faith: A Guidebook to Clerics and Paladins variant, p. 66)

The master of shrouds is an evil spellcaster who magically seizes incorporeal undead and sets them to do her bidding. Plucking vile creatures such as wraiths and shadows from their restless haunts, she summons them to her presence and commands them to work her will. Furious at their forced servitude, the wrathful undead spread fear and death in their wake.

Most masters of shrouds have experience as clerics. Paladins never become masters of shrouds, though ex-paladins may do so, particularly if they turn far enough from their lawful good roots to become blackguards. Multiclass clerics are also common followers of this path, including cleric/fighters and cleric/rogues. A small number of cleric/necromancer/mystic theurges take up the role of master of shrouds at their highest levels.

NPC masters of shrouds operate in secret, pursuing their evil plans under cover of darkness. They may work individually or in groups, depending on their assignment. They rarely stay in one place for long, and rarely work in groups larger than four, to avoid attracting too much attention from paladins and good clerics, not to mention hunters of the dead.


Alignment: Any nongood

Skills: Concentration 10 ranks , Spellcraft 10 ranks

Base Save Bonus: Will +5.

Spells: Ability to cast divine spells, and access to at least one of these domains: Death, Evil, Protection. A character who can cast at least one spell from a domain counts as having access for this purpose.

Special: Ability to channel negative energy.

Hit die


Skill points

2 + Int

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Masters of shrouds are proficient with all simple weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields.

Spells: A master of shrouds casts spells as a cleric (see Table 3—6: The Cleric, page 30 of the Player's Handbook) and has full access to the general cleric spell list. Master of shrouds levels are added to cleric levels to determine spells per day and spell effects. In addition, a master of shrouds gains access to the domains of Death, Evil, and Protection.

Spells per Day: A master of shrouds continues advancing in divine spellcasting ability as well as learning the skills of the masters of shrouds. Thus, when a new master of shrouds level is gained, the character gains new divine spells per day as if she had gained a level in the cleric class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, wild shape ability, and so on). This means that she adds the level of master of shrouds to the level of another divine spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day accordingly.

Extra Turning Feat: A master of shrouds gains Extra Turning as a bonus feat. This adds four to the number of turning attempts she can make in a day.

Summon Undead I (Sp): This spell-like ability works like the summon monster I spell, with the following exceptions: A master of shrouds may summon any combination of shadows and allips totaling no more than two creatures. At the instant the ability is used, the master of shrouds may set a shorter duration than the usual 1 round per master level. A master who can communicate with the summoned undead can direct them as per the summon monster spell. If the summoned creatures remain after the last enemy is gone, they will attack the master of shrouds unless she succeeds at a turning check for each creature every round until they disappear. The summon undead I ability can be used a number of times each day equal to three plus the master of shrouds' Charisma bonus (minimum once).

Summon Undead II (Sp): As summon undead I, but the master of shrouds may summon two wraiths, or any combination of shadows and allips totaling no more than four creatures.

Summon Undead III (Sp): As summon undead I, but the master of shrouds may summon two spectres, or any combination of wraiths, shadows, and allips totaling no more than four creatures.

Summon Undead IV (Sp): As summon undead I, but the master of shrouds may summon any combination of spectres, wraiths, shadows, and allips totaling no more than eight creatures.

Master of Shrouds Spell List

Masters of shrouds choose their divine spells from the following list:

1st—disrupt undead, chill touch, ray of enfeeblement.

2nd—ghoul touch, scare, spectral hand.

3rd—contagion, gentle repose, halt undead, vampiric touch.

4th—enervation, fear.

5th—magic jar.

Access to these spells does not increase the number of spells a master of shrouds can cast each day.

Ghosts and Vampires

The ability of the master of shrouds to summon ghosts and vampires is not linked to the progression of the summon undead spell-like abilities. Summoning them is counted as one use a undead summoning ability, whichever one the master of shroud chooses.

Summoning Undead

Once a master of shrouds summons undead creatures, only three outcomes are possible. The undead may be slain or driven off in combat. The undead may depart when the spell duration ends. The undead attack the master of shrouds when their no other enemies remain to be dealt with. In the last case, the master of shrouds must rely on other powers or allies to save her from the wrath of the summoned undead.


Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Extra Turning
2nd +2 +0 +0 +3
3rd +3 +1 +1 +3 Summon undead I
4th +4 +1 +1 +4
5th +5 +1 +1 +4 Summon undead II
6th +6 +2 +2 +5
7th +7 +2 +2 +5 Summon undead III
8th +8 +2 +2 +6
9th +9 +3 +3 +6 Summon undead IV
10th +10 +3 +3 +7

Class skills

Skill name Key ability Trained only Armor check penalty
Concentration CON no no
Craft INT no no
Diplomacy CHA no no
Knowledge (arcana) INT yes no
Knowledge (religion) INT yes no
Profession WIS yes no
Scry Int yes no
Spellcraft INT yes no

Also appears in

  1. Libris Mortis: The Book of the Dead
  2. Complete Divine

Spells for Master of Shrouds