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Undead Beware the Gravedigger’s Wrath: The Gravedigger Rogue Archetype

I have a long history with the concept of playing a gravedigger. I played one for over a decade at a larp in the Atlanta area. I rather think he may have been the most interesting character I have ever played. For all his sneaky abilities (he was a rogue) he was also noble in thought and action. He was tremendously creepy and people expected him to be evil, but he wasn’t. He was just not socially adjusted. That lead to some amazing role play sessions and I kind of miss playing the guy.

Anyway, I always liked the vision of champions of death that are not evil. With that in mind, here is my take on Gravediggers as a rogue archetype in 5th edition. In keeping with their semi-divine devotion to caring for the dead, I set them up with paladin spells. I am interested in some feedback on this. It is not too unlike the Avenger class in 4th edition. I don’t think it is over powered, but others might disagree. Tell me what you think.


The Gravediggers are a secret group of rogues with a unified purpose. No matter their background, or where are from, they all believe in the sanctity of death. This is not to say they necessarily seek to die or kill people. They instead believe that death gives life meaning. They believe that those who died deserve an untroubled rest, and that undeath is high crime against the world.  Given their fervor and nearly religious devotion to their cause, they can be seen as “creepy,” but that is not always the case. Many are just a gregarious as anyone.

They are sometimes associated with priesthoods of death gods, but only if those followers do not promote undeath in any way. Many a would be necromancer has found his plans thwarted by a shovel in the dark.

Gravediggers tend to be unassuming and often slip through society without notice. Most people do not even know the  Order of Gravediggers even exists. The gravediggers are ubiquitous and unseen in most societies, so they often are recruited as spies. So long as it does not detract from their duties, there is nothing in the order’s rules that prevents it. Others join adventuring groups as guides through tombs. They will use this an excuse to repair the tomb, and reconsecrate the disturbed graves.




Divine caster

The order of Gravediggers revere death and the grave. You have a divine and almost religious connection to them. As a result, you are granted power. You gain the ability to cast divine spells from the Paladin list of spells.

You prepare the list of Gravedigger spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the paladin spell list. When you do so, choose a number of paladin spells equal to your Charisma modifier + half your rogue level, rounded down (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Character level 1st level slots 2nd level slots 3rd level slots 4th level slots 5th level slot
3rd 2
4th 2
5th 3
6th 3 1
7th 3 2
8th 3 2
9th 4 3
10th 4 3 1
11th 4 3 1
12th 4 3 2
13th 4 4 2
14th 4 4 3 1
15th 4 4 3 1
16th 4 4 3 2
17th 4 4 4 2
18th 4 4 4 3 1
19th 4 4 4 3 2
20th 4 4 4 3 2


Shovels are considered to be a normal weapons for a Gravedigger and you are proficient in its use.  In your hands the shovel is  considered to be 1d8 slashing weapon, with the Versatile(1d10) attribute. Additionally, it can be used as blunt, and do 1d6 bashing damage. This weapon can be used with Sneak Attack.



You can choose either of the following features at 9th level.

Granting Rest

You are able to prevent the dead from rising. You expend a spell slot, touch the body, and render a dead incapable being able to be raised as undead, reincarnated, revived, resurrected, or any other effect that might make them live or animate again. This has no effect on the living, and will not harm an already animated undead. An undead with regeneration can have their regeneration stopped in this way if they are reduced to 0 hit points first.

Home in the Graves

The graves and the tombs of the world are your domain. Your connection to graves and death is so profound that you just have a sense about them that others do not share. This connection confers the following benefits.

  • When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to graves and tombs, such as a Perception check to look for traps in the tomb, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that you’re proficient in.
  • You are not slowed by any terrain features found in a grave or tomb.
  • You can move stealthily at a normal pace in a graveyard or tomb.
  • You can sense if undead are present after a minute of concentration. This does not give location or numbers.
  • You are immune to surprise in a graveyard or tomb.



Undead Bane

The you have achieved such a knowledge of their foe that they can seem almost unstoppable. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your undead, as well as on Intelligence Checks to recall information about them. You also gain advantage automatically on one attack per turn when fighting undead. Also, once per short rest you may expend a spell slot and grant advantage to all attacks against all undead target for one round.


Champion of the Dead

You are infused with power and purpose while fighting undead. While fighting undead you gain immunity to the following conditions; Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Poisoned. You also gain 5 temporary it points per turn, and and resistance to necrotic damage.


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  1. […] is obviously directly tied the Gravedigger archetype I already wrote up. Is this guild for every rogue? Nope. It does give a nice mix of adventure hook […]

  2. […] gravedigger in a larp for around a decade, and I have been a fan of them ever since. I have written D&D stuff around them before. I am also a fan of Death as being seen as a good thing. Too often we treat death like a villain […]

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