Grixis is a world of death, darkness, undead, hatred, envy, and a lot of other bad things. It is dominated by demons, horrors, necromancers and other forms of undead. Due to the predominance of undeath, it is possible to find undead versions of Bant’s leotaus and Jund’s viashinos in Grixis.
The still living beings on Grixis are called Vitals, and the life-force of those beings is called Vis. It manifests as a gas-like material. Vis empowers Demons and fuels all of the magic on Grixis. Necromancers actively hunt down Human and Ogre encampments to take slaves to obtain this Vis through arcane rituals. They hunt for the ultimate power to conquer all others. Demons have the power to drain a vital of its vis at will. A Human or Ogre whose life force has been drained is still considered alive. These Damned oftentimes aren’t distinguishable from the real living. Besides the necromancers there is group of humans called the Vithians that actively hunt the undead. They uphold the ways of a lost kingdom.
Incurables are the Ogres on Grixis, inflicted by a terrible form altering curse that happened when the shards split. Dreg Reavers are huge undead designed to lay waste to other armies or necropolises in times of war. Banewasps are insects that feed on carrion and are used by necromancers as a weak source of Vis.
“If alive, someone can crush you. If dead, someone can command you.”
For your campaign
The undead of Grixis live in a hellish landscape. They regenerate and rot to death, then rise again. Vis suffuses all tissues and bodily fluids of living creatures, but is not itself a physical material. Despite its intangibility, vis is the most important resource in Grixis, as it can be used to power necromancy and doing so, extend life and unlife.
New sorcerous origin: Vis Ascendancy
Your innate magic comes from powerful Death magic wielded by your ancestors when their life was dwindling. Death is a powerful force, and necromancers harness it to fuel their magic. Death only occurs to the living, however, so most necromancers are -ironically- in constant need of sources of life in order to work their spells. And in some rare occasions, when they give life, they also give death. Where there is vis, there is both life and death.
- Lethemancy: You can add any Enchantment or Necromancy spell to your known spells as if they were in the sorcerer spell list.
- Vis Manipulation: Beginning at 1st level, you continously live in the threshold of death. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction and use one sorcery point to instead drop to 1 hit point.
- Vis Harvesting: Also at 1st level, you gain the ability to reap life energy from creatures you have affected or kill with your spells. Once per turn when you kill one or more creatures with an active condition imposed by you with a spell of 1st level or higher, you regain sorcery points equal to the the spell’s level. You don’t gain this benefit for killing constructs or undead.
- Fleshcraft: Starting at 6th level, you can create bizarre implements from flesh and bone. When using such implements as arcane focus, you can have any spell of 1st level or higher deal necrotic damage instead of its original type. If you do so, you can spend 1 sorcery point per die of damage to negate the target’s resistance to necrotic damage.
- Fear and Loathing: Beginning at 14th level, you can steal vis througn the thoughts and memories of living beings, inflicting negative emotions in the process. When you cast a spell that imposes a condition into the target, it also deals half its level in d6’s of necrotic damage and becomes frightened until the end of its next turn.
- One with Death: Starting at 18th level, you gain some undead traits as you start your lichdom. You are immune to necrotic and poison damage and resistant to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks. You can no longer be charmed, frightened, paralyzed or poisoned. If you cast a spell that imposes the frightened condition, the target becomes paralyzed instead.
- Phylactery: If you decide to craft a phylactery, whenever you get to 0 hit points or less, you can use a reaction to cast teleport to your phylactery. If you get destroyed, you gain a new body in 1d10 days which appears within 5 feet of the phylactery.
I guess every DM has used a necromancer once as the mastermind villain, but not many of us have had players with the same “appetites”. Are you a DM? Have you had a necromancer player? Are you a player? Do you want to try this one? Let us know in the comments!