Undead lords are extremely dangerous opponents. They are stronger, tougher, and more intelligent than the ones they command. As such, they are rarely encountered by chance (and rarely encountered alone). Most maintain a lair far away from civilization where they plot and plan, sending their minions on missions to further their goals.
Undead lords appear as normal undead of their type, though there seems to be a strong aura of evil and power resonating about them.
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Creating an Undead Lord
“Undead Lord” is an inherited template that can be applied to any undead creature (referred to hereafter as the “base creature”). The creature’s type does not change, and it uses all of the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as the base creature +2. If the base creature was advanced to 5 HD (see Hit Dice section), its CR is increased an additional +1.
Aura: Undead lords gain the following aura in addition to any auras possessed by the base creature:
Aura of Desecration (Su)
Undead lords constantly project an aura in a 20–foot radius that functions as a permanent desecrate spell. The DC to resist negative channeled energy within this area gains a +3 profane bonus. Undead within the area (including the undead lord) gain a +1 profane bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves. Summoned or created undead that appear in the area gain +1 hit points per HD.
Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor bonus increases by +4. If the base creature is incorporeal, it does not gain this bonus. Hit Dice: An undead lord’s HD is equal to 5 or the base creature’s HD (including class levels), whichever is greater.
Saves: Same as the base creature. If the base creature had less than 5 HD and was advanced (as above, under Hit Dice), recalculate its saves based on its new Hit Dice. Undead have good Will saves.
Defensive Abilities: An undead lord has the following defensive abilities in addition to those possessed by the base creature:
Damage Reduction (Ex)
Undead lords with 5 to 7 HD gain DR 5/magic; undead lords with 8 or more HD gain damage reduction 10/magic. If the base creature already has damage reduction/magic, use it or the one above, whichever is better. If the base creature has another type of damage reduction (bludgeoning, piercing, and so on) its type modifiers stack. For example, a base creature with 5 HD and damage reduction 5/piercing that becomes an undead lord now has damage reduction 5/magic and piercing.
Channel Resistance (Ex)
Undead lords gain channel resistance +4. If the base creature already has channel resistance, use this one or the base creature’s, whichever is higher.
Attacks: The undead lord retains all the attacks of the base creature. Recalculate its base attack bonus based on its new HD and any ability modifiers or use the base creature’s base attack bonus (adjusted for any ability score changes), whichever is higher.
Special Attacks: An undead lord retains all the special attacks of the base creature and also gains those listed below.
Command Undead (Su)
Undead lords command or rebuke undead creatures of the same type as itself as a cleric with the Command Undead feat equal to its current Hit Dice. If the base creature can already command or rebuke undead, this ability stacks.
Create Spawn (Su)
A creature slain by an undead lord rises in 1d4 minutes as an undead creature of the same type as the undead lord. Spawn are under control of the undead lord. This replaces any other create spawn ability the base creature possesses.
Summon Undead (Sp)
Once per day, an undead lord can summon a total number of HD worth of undead (of the same type as the undead lord) equal to its HD x 1.5. Undead lords cannot summon an undead creature that has more HD than it does.
Spell-like Abilities: 1/day—darkness, fear. Caster level is equal to the undead lord’s HD. Saves have a DC of 10 + spell level + the undead lord’s Charisma modifier.
Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +4 (unless incorporeal), Dex +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. Undead lords have an Intelligence of at least 10, so mindless undead such as zombies and skeletons gain an Intelligence score of 10. Incorporeal creatures do not gain the Strength bonus (since they have no Strength), but instead gain an additional +2 bonus to their Dexterity score.
Feats: Same as the base creature (including bonus feats). If the base creature had less than 5 HD and was advanced (as above, under Hit Dice), recalculate its number of feats based on its new HD.
Skills: Same as the base creature. Mindless undead that gain an Intelligence score gain a number of skill points equal to (4 + Intelligence modifier) x HD.
Languages: Undead lords speak any languages they spoke before applying this template. Mindless undead gain an Intelligence score of 10 and speak Common.
SQ: An undead lord retains all the special qualities of the base creature and also gains those listed below.
Undead Telepathy (Su)
Undead lords can communicate telepathically with any other undead within 100 feet, including mindless undead such as zombies and skeletons.
Environment: Same as base creature.
Organization: Solitary or troupe (undead lord plus 1–4 undead creatures of the same type as the base creature)
Treasure: Same as base creature.