Dreadknight (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Do you fear me now, worm?||”|
|—Ghorr Ora-ok, Orc Dreadknight|
The dreadknights are the champion of the Chaotic Neutral, enemy of freedom and free thinking they assault their enemies with fear and blight. Selected as the elite of the elite of the Order of the Hand, their mastery of dark powers is astonishing. The weak cower in fear before them, their ultimate goal is to enslave the peoples of Ascyria and bring a new empire under the Chaotic Neutral reign.
Becoming a Dreadknight
The Dreadknight isn't as good in melee as a fighter or a barbarian. They gain however a good deal of abilities, the most prominent being the Aura of Fear and Soulblade. Dreadknight needs charisma and physical ability but the requirements make sure they have what they need.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+6|
|Abilities:||Charisma equal or above 14.|
|Skills:||Knowledge (Religion) 5 Ranks, Intimidate 5 Ranks.|
|Patron:||Any Evil entity.|
|Special:||Must swear a Dark oath.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||+0||Aura of Fear, Dark Oath, Soulblade +1d6|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||+1||Dread Master, Dark Halo|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||+1||Aura of Terror|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||+2||Enslaved by Fear|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||+2||Aura of Horror|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+5||+3||Paragon of Evil|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+7||+5||Damnation, Soulblade +2d6|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
The Dreadknight gains a profane bonus to his AC depending on his class level as seen above in the Dreadknight Table. below:
- If the Target fails his DC he becomes Shaken for the rest of the encounter.
- If the DC is failed by 10 or more: the Target is Frightened for 5 rounds plus the Dreadknight's Charisma modifier. After see above.
- If the Target fails his DC by 15 or more he becomes panicked for 5 rounds plus the Dreadknight's Charisma modifier. After he takes the effect just above (frightened) and after he become Shaken as above.
Aura of Terror: The aura extends to 30ft and creatures with lower HD than the Dreadknight automatically become shaken.
Aura of Horror: In addition to the previous aura effects, creatures with the same (or lower) HD than the Dreadknight receive -4 to the Aura DC. Additionally creatures whose result are natural 1 to 4 must succede a DC 10 + HD + Charisma modifier Will Save or Die.
Creatures that beat the DC become immune to the Dreadknight's aura for 2d4 rounds, after those rounds they have the beat the DC again as soon as they re-enter the aura or are still present in the aura's range. Creatures immune to fear are also immune to the Dreadknight's aura. The Dreadknight may resume and suppress this ability at will.
Dread Master (Su): Beginning at level 2, the saving DC against all your auras, spells and spell-like abilities with "fear" or "intimidate" descriptor is increased by +2. In addition, your mastery of dread is so potent you can affect and therefore, demoralize, intimidate and cause fear, to individuals normally immune to fear effects, such as paladins, although the subjects still gain saving throws.
Soulblade (Su): With his attacks, the Dreadknight deals 1d6 unholy damage. Unholy damage does not heal undead. At every 10th level thereafter the dreadknight adds another d6 die to his melee attack. Despite it's name the ability applies to all melee weapons, ranged weapons, natural attacks and unarmed attacks.
Dark Halo (Su): The Dreadknight may add his Charisma Modifier to all his saving throws. Also, the power of a dreadknight’s aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to his HD. The Dreadknight's aura power is equivalent to that radiated by a Cleric.
Paragon of Evil: The dreadknight become a true evil incarnate. He gains therefore the following benefits and penalties:
- The Dreadknight's natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- The Dreadknight may use morality undone and spread of savagery (Book of the Vile Darkness) with caster level equal to the Dreadknight's HD as supernatural abilities without the need of any material component, 3 times + Charisma modifier per day.
- The Dreadknight may add his Dreadknight class level to all his Charisma based checks against Evil aligned creatures.
- The Dreadknight takes a penalty to all his Diplomacy and Bluff based checks against Good aligned creatures.
- The power of a Dreadknight’s aura of evil now equals the double of his HD. The Dreadknight's aura power is equivalent to that radiated by a Cleric.
Enslaved by Fear (Su): The Dreadknight, using it's domain over fear, may attempt to command any creature who is shaken, frightened or panicked, as a swift action, once per round; this ability is treated as a spell-like ability and is NOT language dependent. He may utter only single-word commands, which the creature obeys to the best of its ability at its earliest opportunity; the effects may vary since they are dependent from the DM's discretion (for example the "Die" command could just make the creature faint for one round or sleep...). Be aware that this spell-like ability is different from the cleric's "command" spell in the sense that the creature does not have to understand the language used by the Dreadknight, as he is using fear to control the body, and it leaves space for immagination as it is not limited to only a few options but only by the fact that it can be only "one-word" (of which the effects are decided by the DM). The creature must succeed a DC 15 + HD + Charisma modifier Will Save to negate, although, creatures who have failed the fear-related effect Will Save by 10 or more do not get the chance of a Will Save. The command can last up to a maximum of 3 turns, during every turn the creature gets the chance of attempting a save throw (only if they did not fail the against the fear-related effect Will Save by 10 or more).
Oblivion Rise (Su): Once a year, if the Dreadknight is slain, he may return from death as per true resurrection. Upon death his body catches on fire and all his gear (and body) is consumed by the magical fire (cannot be extinguished even underwater) in a few seconds. As a result he return from death naked at the nearest possible place near the place he died 1d4 weeks later. If the Dreadknight dies when this ability was used in the same year he really dies and may not rise with this ability (he must be alive for this ability to restore.) Note the day the dreadknight became a dreadknight, this birthday is the only point for the once a year (upon the day of his birthday the ability is restored even if he died a day before).
Damnation: The Dreadknight is forevermore treated as a Native Chaotic Neutral Outsider, and he gains these benefits:
- +2 to Strength, Constitution, and +4 Charisma
- Darkvision out to 60 feet, if you already had it, the range is increased to 120 feet.
- The Dreadknight may recruit a Chaotic Neutral Outsider as a Cohort (Tiranny).
- May use utterdark and stop heart (Book of the Vile Darkness) with caster level equal to the Dreadknight's HD as supernatural abilities without the need of any material component, 3 times + Charisma modifier per day.
- The Dreadknight evil aura is now three times his HD. The Dreadknight's aura power is equivalent to that radiated by a Cleric.
The dark oath is something taken when the squire become a Dreadknight. The oath limits the dreadknight behaviour, but not like a paladin's code does for the paladin. The dreadknight oath is one of domination and loyalty. The dreadknight code is lawful, it forbids chaotic behaviour. Good behaviour is almost ignored in the code, as long as it respects the last goal, the domination of good and the pacification of chaos. Finally the dark oath is one against individual liberty, freedom and other chaotic thinking. Supporting an empire and corrupting it from inside is an ideal goal, but bringing a nation to anarchy is a mediocre act as best. The dreadknights always have a chance to explain themselves. Any action (to a certain limit) that brings advancement to the Dreadknight cause can be forgiven.
A Dreadknight violates his oath if:
- He attacks/steals from/murders a member of the order.
- He ceases to be Lawful Evil.
- He freely commits a chaotic, act.
- He commits a good act out of pure generosity.
Exception for those rules:
- The member was a traitor or is a thorn in the foot of the organization (decided by superior).
- No exception (see below).
- Except for the advancement of the Lawful Evil cause.
- Said it all.
If a Dreadknight violate his oath, he is exiled and lose all of his supernatural abilities and AC bonus.
Fall From Grace: If a Ex-Dreadknight violate his code and fail to explain himself he is exiled temporary (except for truly hideous act).
Dreadknight once, dreadknight forever: The ex-dreadknight is alway taken into consideration, especially dreadknight who turn to good. The order will try to corrupt their members back into the order. If he return to Lawful Evil the order will give them a quest, if they succeed they are taken back in the order.
Redemption: A redeemed dreadknight may change his dreadknight level against paladin level, however he will be hunted down to death by the order. It is possible to reverse redemption, retaking the Dreadknight level but only with the help of an evil deity.
Playing a Dreadknight
Combat: The Dreadknight's best place is on the front line, with his excellent defence and aura as well as very potable offensives thank to soulblade. Their d8 dice however isn't much, they must not be reckless or their hitpoints will drop faster than they thought.
Advancement: Dreadknights are mostly Witch-Knights or other melee classes. Many were spellcasting classes and some were divine warriors like paladins (fallen paladins or their evil counter part). Many Dreadknight's multiclass in Blackguard for the benefit the two class gain.
Resources: All Dreadknights belong to the Order of the Hand (Order of Dreadknights), the Dreadknights are the elite of the order and supply them with material and human resources. Dreadknights, being bound by an honour code to each other, will and must help other dreadknight in need.
Dreadknights in the World
|“||Trust me, it's going to be worse than your worst nightmare.||”|
|—Sin, Egoist Dreadknight|
Race: Most dreadknights come from evil races. Humans (Ebon) and Fallen Elves make most of the dreadknights. Some other races like Orcs may be Dreadknights if they manage to overcome the chaoticness of their behaviour. Only The 13 Dreadknights from Ascyria may exist at any time, if one another can take the place (killing another Dreadknight is a expulsion of the order).
NPC Reactions: NPC who know about Dreadknight (met one before) fears them, in the eyes of the people they are oppressor and despot. Lawful evil races gladly welcome Dreadknights like good people welcome paladins....
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Religion) can research Dreadknights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Dreadknights are all members of a special order called the Order of the Hand.|
|16||Dreadknights are the champions of Lawful Evil in the war of the Five.|
|21||Dreadknight radiate a deadly fear aura that makes opponents tremble before their might.|
|26||Powerful Dreadknights are able to cheat death once in a year.|
Dreadknights in the Game
Adaptation: Dreadknights fit well in any campaign.
Sample Encounter: A Dreadknight challenges the PCs during their travels. He is in company of 3 other warriors (not dreadknights themselves). He tells the PCs they are in his territory.
EL whatever: <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter->