Death Master

Death Master

Death Masters are a very rare type of necromantic wizard. They are extremely evil wizards driven by the desire to gain knowledge over death. They will know much about history in general, and magical history in particular. Death Masters will almost always work alone, except for a few armed servants and undead. They will always have a good deal of wealth hidden in their grave/lairs, with many deadly magic items.


Death Masters are found in ruined graves or catacombs, pursuing their studies of the mastery of death. Universally reviled, they surround themselves with the dead and undead. These studies tend to give them a deep knowledge of local and regional history, especially of wars, plagues and other calamities dealing with death.

In game terms, Death Masters are deadly opponents, with a vast knowledge of dangerous spells–and the abilities to cast them. They will also have a number of disagreeable followers that help protect them and their lairs. Death Masters are obsessive in their pursuit of knowledge of death, and will viciously fight anyone who threatens that pursuit.


Here are the normal stats for a Death Master. Note that they will have many power gems to cast more spells than their listed strength would imply.

ST 12-16
DX 13-15
IQ 18+

Talents & Spells

Here are some common talents and spells:

Common Talents: Literacy, Alchemy

Common Spells:
Reveal Magic
Detect Life
Dark Vision
Detect Enemies
Analyze Magic
Mage Sight
Open Tunnel
Summon Lesser/Greater Demon
Astral Projection
Death Spell
The Little Death
Death Vision
Summon Death
Summon Spirit
Skull Spirit
Soul Jar
Steal ST
Beast Soother
Poison Food
See Secrets
Death Touch
Exchange Bodies
Curse Missile
Any Mind Reading spell
Any Darkness spell
Any Water spell
Any Earth spell
NO Fire spells!


Many of these spells are not in the original AW spell list. They will be adapted from GURPS in the future.

This definition is based on an article originally found in Dragon Magazine and adapted for TFT.

Marko ∞


  1. Hey Mark, glad to see you making the effort here.

    I, too, am returning to RPGs after many, many (… many, many, many …) years. TFT was always my preferred combat system, even when playing white book D&D or CoC back in the day.

    At any rate, I hope you were serious about converting some of those GURPS spells to TFT. I don’t have the source books (yet) but I’d be happy to pitch in if you need help.


  2. Hey–thanks, Jack! I agree, too: I loved TFT even though my gaming groups preferred D&D.

    Yes, I am serious. Im just a serious procrastinator. I plan to get some of those spells converted in the next 3 months or so… promise!

  3. When I first read the title of this article I thought of the old school concept of the DM and the players being enemies. While is was never explicitly stated in the rules most of the D&D/AD&D games I played in through the 80s I rarely found a DM who wasn’t out to kill the characters.

    One thing I have seen is that so many ‘magic types’ are not supported in TFT. Necromancy is probably the least supported, with only one real necromancy spell…

  4. I’m thinking that had a lot to do with Howard Thompson’s atheism. Bringing dead people back to life sort of implies there’s some place a “soul” or “spirit” goes after death and that therefore they can be returned from it. Once you open that can of worms, you have to start considering all sorts of fundamentally anathema things, if you’re an atheist. HT always struck me (at least from his writings) as a seriously un-humorous guy, who wasn’t actually very flexible in his personal philosophy. It’s the same reason you don’t see any real religion in TFT — a couple of talents that actually have almost no meaning in game terms (you might as well take “butcher” or “candlemaker”), and the Demon thing, which was treated as an alien extra-planar being; not some well-spring of “evil.”

    In short, the entire universe of religion was never really enabled in TFT; despite the fact that whatever your personal beliefs are, religion played (and still plays) a gigantic role in human history. Personally, I was always disappointed that TFT chose to ignore it. In effect, “religion” in TFT became a cloak, if you will, for tawdry political machinations and not much else. Which really deprives the subject of about 80% of its utility in the Fantasy roleplaying genre…

    Metagaming was just starting to stumble in that direction (you can read discussion about a possible “religion supplement” being proposed if anyone wants to take a stab at it, in the last couple of Interplays) when the whole bubble burst and Metagaming closed its doors forever. Now that Steve has the rights back, it will be very interesting to see if he does anything with religion (of any kind — paganism, monotheism, shamanism, whatever) in the new version he’ll be publishing.

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