Supernatural abilities are, by default, standard actions. Thus, since the text does not specify what kind of action it is, the Dread Necromancer's charnel touch is a standard action to use. This means it cannot be combined with other touch attacks unless those touch attacks are swift or free actions to initiate, or the Dread Necromancer casts the spell on a prior round and holds the charge.
A Dread Necromancer who takes the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat, or who is otherwise healed by negative energy, may not use his charnel touch power to heal himself.
CustServ has ruled that the Dread Necromancer does not, in fact, gain the Lich template at level 20. This ruling is hereby overruled. The ability should read:
- "When a Dread Necromancer attains 20th level, she undergoes a hideous transformation and becomes a lich. She gains the lich template, and all associated benefits. These benefits supersede any similar benefits provided by her other class abilities (such as the damage reduction from the Lich Body class feature). She no longer has a Constitution score, all her Hit Dice become d12s, and she must reroll her hit points or take the average. A Dread Necromancer need not pay experience points or gold to create her phylactery. A Dread Necromancer who is not humanoid does not gain this class feature."