Death Knight (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||There is no horror you have seen that can prepare you for what I am about to reveal.||”|
Those who take up the Black Banner of the Death Knights in the name of powerful evil gods are unnaturally cruel men. A Death Knight's sword lusts for the blood of the innocent and their evil influence draws undead to serve them.
Becoming a Death Knight
Warriors that take the path of the Death Knight seek the power that this class commands. Some goodly warriors cursed with undeath by an evil god, have their mind twisted by their abominable nature. The unwilling Death Knight will have to deal with their own unholy powers.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5|
|Skills:||Knowledge (Religion) 5|
|Special:||Must have had contact with an Evil Outsider or an Evil Deity.|
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Sword of Death, Aura of Evil, Aura of Desecration|
|2nd||+2||+0||+0||+3||Unwilling Conscripts, Necromancy|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
The Death Knight's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Religion) & (Nobility) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis)
All of the following are class features of the Death Knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The Death Knight gains no new proficiency with armor or weapons.
Life and Death: A Death Knight can transform himself into a Vampire, Ghoul, Revenant, or Sword Wraith if he chooses either upon becoming a Death Knight or at some later date. Rules for being these undead creatures are found in the Tome of Necromancy (DnD Other). In addition, a Death Knight may qualify for and use Necromantic Feats using his Base Attack Bonus instead of a caster level.
Sword of Death (Su): A Death Knight can transform his blade into a black instrument of destruction. His melee attacks inflict 2d6 of Unholy damage against living creatures.
Army of the Dead (Su):A 2nd level Death Knight may raise undead as per animate dead or create undead with a caster level equal to his hit dice. Spheres: At 3rd level, a Death Knight gains the Sphere of Bone. At 5th level, he gains the Sphere of Carnage, Frostbite, or Fire sphere.
Bonus Feat: At 4th level, the Death Knight gains a [Combat] or [Fiend] feat he meets the prerequisites for. Campaign Information
Death Knights are natural antagonists for an adventure or even a campaign. One can also make a great tortured hero in the event of being an unwilling Death Knight. Players wishing to be Death Knights should beware the social implications that this class entails.
Playing a Death Knight
Combat: A Death Knight can expect to be in melee, but his spell-like abilities gained from their Spheres add some versatility to his options. If one has the stomach for it, he can animate corpses and build himself a useful group of undead minions to have in combat. The Sphere of Fire also gives him the ability to scorch the earth. However, all of the spell-like abilities granted by their spheres are only useable once a day (unless the Death Knight takes a Fiend class and picks up the Spheres again).
Advancement: A Death Knight would do well to maintain their Good BAB progression. Since they now qualify to take Necromantic Feats, it would be useful for one to do so (because those minions sure are handy). They may also branch into a Fiendish class of some sort to also gain more Fiend abilities—particularly Spheres. Non-evil Death Knights will probably go into a martial class, possibly the same one they were before they became a Death Knight.
Death Knights in the World
|“||I am a reasonable undead man. How about you stop running away, so I can kill you faster?||”|
|—Galich Lonzer, Lord Lodosk, undead human Death Knight.|
Whether they are the ruthless generals of undead armies or afflicted heroes who strive to have the curse broken, Death Knights are, first and foremost, individuals. Death Knights as a whole have no formal organization, but it's possible for some to work together—particularly those who have military ambitions. Of course, the evil army-building Death Knights are the ones who get remembered, and the popular perception of a Death Knight is an evil warlord leading his undead hordes across the land.
NPC Reactions: Most people fear the undead. They fear those who can command them even moreso. That being said, it all comes down to the Death Knight himself. It is very possible for one to earn respect and tolerance if he's didn't seek his position and continually shows that he is, well, not a bad guy.
Death Knight Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Religion) can research Death Knights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Death Knights are warriors with powers over death. They can raise corpses and are naturally suited to lead groups of undead.|
|16||Death knights gain more magic as they get stronger. Their powers seem to be over undeath and fire.|
|21||Not all Death Knights are evil. Some are actually noble people who have run afoul of evil deities.|
Death Knights in the Game
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