Shadow Knight (5e Class)

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Shadow Knight[edit]

A figure clad in black armor swoops down from the night sky, lashing about in the darkness, slaying an entire band of travellers in moments. Observing the carnage around him, the man slowly fades from view and disappears, his body pulsing with dark energy.

A hulking black Dragonborn stands in the road, surrounded by a group of town guards. As they release a volley of arrows his cloak seems to take on a mind of its own, dancing around him, absorbing the projectiles as they fly. A low chuckle emanates from him as he charges into the fray.

By the dark of night, a lonely Drow watches over a campsite. Muttering to herself, she suddenly convulses, black flame leaping from her mouth and eyes, streaking out to slay the sentries posted to keep someone just like herself away.

These are all Shadow Knights. Changed forever by darkness, these warriors have been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to manipulate the shadows and dark forces of this world to their whim. Some use this power for conquest, others for survival. But all Shadow Knights have one thing in common. They're exceedingly dangerous. That, and they really like the color black. They are generally bound to violence, be it by the will of the entity that created them, or through the lack of understanding of their own unholy power. Paladins beware!

An Exile From Weakness[edit]

Most all Shadow Knights derive their power from an unholy or corrupt source. This has led the townsfolk and villagers of their local provinces to reject these powerful warriors from living a life anywhere near the realm of normalcy. However, instead of weakening them, this adversity serves only to strengthen their resolve and lead them to the realization that their power may be a blessing, rather than the curse they may have originally thought. Their forced isolation generally makes Shadow Knights tough, gruff, and unforgiving to those they view as beneath their power. Hardened and honed by years of fighting off enterprising Paladins and goody-two-shoes adventurer types, the only thing more deadly than one of these dark warriors blades is his shadow.

Possessed to Power[edit]

The source of a Shadow Knights power could be many things. An evil deity meddling in mortal affairs, a demon set on the loose. a downtrodden warrior, turned to dark magic seeking power. All of these have been responsible for creating Shadow Knights in the past. And though these supernatural forces grant great power to those who wield them, there's always the possibility that the darkness is wielding the warrior. Every day is a struggle for the Shadow Knight to maintain control over his own mind and body, as the forces of shadow and darkness fight to lay claim to what they believe to be rightfully theirs. Every dip into the wellspring of hellish power within them brings the Shadow Knight closer to greatness. And to oblivion.

Creating a Shadow Knight[edit]

The most important aspect of a Shadow Knight character is the nature of his or her dark curse/blessing. Are you a lost and confused young villager, just discovering the power bestowed upon them after being forced out of your home by your very own loved ones? Are you a dark warlord, a stalwart conqueror for the forces of evil, crushing all those who dare stand in the way of your terrible might? Or are you a wanderer, having left your home long ago to seek out the source of this strange power that allows you to survive, and help others do the same? Appendix B in the Player's Handbook lists many dark deities that could have given your Shadow Knight their powers (such as Erythnul, Hextor, Iul,Vecna, Takhisis, Chemosh, Hiddukel, Morgion, Sargonnas, Zebuim, Nuitari,and 'especially' The Shadow) and Appendix C of the same lists the planes from which they may draw their energy (such as Acheron, Hades, The Abyss, The Astral Plane, The Negative Plane, and 'especially' The Shadowfell.

How did you gain these great and terrible powers? Did whispers from an unseen god or demon creep into your mind until you finally succumbed to their wishes? Did a passing mage kidnap and experiment on you to further his own dark goals? Or did you one day detonate with power, destroying those you love and forcing you out of your home forever? Perhaps you wandered into an occult ceremony and were tainted from that day forth. Or maybe you knew from as long ago as you can remember that you were different, that everyone else was beneath you and all took was the unlocking of a dark power that was within you all along.

As agents of shadow and darkness, very few shadow knights are of a good alignment. Most walk their own path and make their own rules, shaped only by the past they once left behind. Consider how your curse would color your view of the world and the way you interact with its inhabitants. You may be in control of your powers for now, but will the slow bubbling of insanity eventually boil over and claim you?

Quick Build[edit]

You can make a Shadow Knight quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength or Dexterity should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the Cursed background.

Class Features

As a Shadow Knight you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Shadow Knight level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Shadow Knight level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: All Armor Classes.
Weapons: Weapons and Bows of simple and martial List.
Tools: None.
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution.
Skills: Choose three from Athletics, Performance, Persuasion, Intimidation, Deception, Stealth.

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Shadow Knight

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Cantrips Known Features —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +2 3 Shadow Sense, Fighting Style
2nd +2 3 Shadow Servant, Shadow Smite, Spellcasting 2
3rd +2 3 Sustaining Shadows 3
4th +2 3 Ability Score Improvement 3
5th +3 3 Extra Attack 4 2
6th +3 4 Shadow Servant (2), Shadow Suffocate 4 2
7th +3 4 Shadow Sleep 4 3
8th +3 4 Ability Score Improvement 4 3
9th +4 4 Shadow Weapon 4 3 2
10th +4 5 Shadow Servant (3) 4 3 2
11th +4 5 Improved Shadow Smite 4 3 3
12th +4 5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3
13th +5 5 Death's Wings 4 3 3 1
14th +5 6 Shade Purge 4 3 3 1
15th +5 6 Crypt Keeper, Shadow Servant (4) 4 3 3 2
16th +5 6 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 2
17th +6 6 Shadow Servant (5) 4 3 3 3 1
18th +6 7 Diabolic Umbrae 4 3 3 3 1
19th +6 7 Ability Score Improvement, Cursed Upgrade 4 3 3 3 2
20th +6 8 Army of Shadows, Shadow Servant (6) 4 3 3 3 2

All spells are from 5e Mysteries, Class Features are unique, or taken from the Player Handbook

Shadow Sense[edit]

The presence of strong darkness registers on your senses like a cool breeze, and powerful good shines like an unforgiving sun on your brow. As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces. Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity (the vampire Count Strad von Zarovich, for instance). Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell. You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Dexterity modifier. When you finish a long or short rest, you regain all expended uses.

Fighting Style[edit]

At 1st level, you adopt a style of fighting as your speciality. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

Archery

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls you make with ranged weapons.

Defense

While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Dueling

When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Great Weapon Fighting

When you roll a 1, or a 2 on a damage die of an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can re-roll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you engage in Two-Weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack, and you can use any one-handed weapons, provided they do not have the heavy feature.

Spellcasting[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, you have learned to draw on the Shadow Plane to cast spells. See chapter 10 of the Player's Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting and the included spell list (at the bottom of this page) for the list of available spells. The Shadow Knight also uses some modified spells from the Paladin spell list that will be listed here.

Preparing and Casting Spells[edit]

The Shadow Knight table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells. To cast one of your Shadow Knight spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. You prepare the list of Shadow Knight spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Shadow Knight spell list. When you do so, choose a number of Shadow Knight spells equal to your Charisma modifier + half your Shadow Knight level, rounded down (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For example, if you are a 5th-level Shadow Knight, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Charisma of 14, your list of prepared spells can include four spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell Life Fades, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn't remove it from your list of prepared spells. You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of Shadow Knight spells requires time spent in meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Shadow Servant[edit]

At 2nd level, the Shadow Knight summons and binds a small shadow elemental into their service. If the Shadow Knight has an existing familiar, interaction with the plane of shadow caused by binding takes and twists familiar into shadow elemental instead. The Shadow Knight cannot gain familiar anymore afterwards. The Shadow Servant cannot move beyond 100 ft. from the Shadow Knight. If it is forcefully brought beyond this distance, it is immediately destroyed. Destroyed shadow servant reforms from Master’s shadow after 24 hours. The Shadow Knight can use an action to dismiss Shadow Servant, in which case it withdraws into Master’s shadow and cannot be detected or targeted until summoned as an action. The Shadow Servant is an unquestionably loyal companion and will always obey the Shadow Knight's commands. It can be ordered to move in the area around it's Shadow Knight and communicate to them telepathically as a free action, but any other task requires the use of Master’s Bidding. Shadow Servant uses the Shadow Knight's proficiency bonus in place of its own. The Shadow Servant must be a creature of Small size and may not be of celestial or fey origin.

Master’s Bidding

At 2nd level, once per round, by focusing on their bond with the Shadow Servant as a bonus action, a Shadow Knight can bid their servant to take an action in the physical world. Possible commands include:

  • Spell Delivery. A Shadow Knight may take an action to transfer any known spell to their Shadow Servant for use.
  • Attacking Indicated Target. Shadow Servant attacks the Shadow Knight's target with the weapons of its base species.
  • Interacting With Corporeal Objects. Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the Shadow Servant to move up to 15 feet and interact with an object. The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending, folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command, the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command. If you command the servant to perform a task that would move it more than 100 feet away from you, the spell ends.
  • Shadow Heal. Spend a spell slot so that the Shadow Servant regains a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on any creature besides the Shadow Servant. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
Deathly Shadow

At 6th level, the Shadow Knight's bond with their servant grows, as two beings begin to fuse partially together. Shadow Knight becomes resistant to necrotic damage. The Shadow Servant can move up to 110 ft. from Shadow Knight. Upon reaching 15th level, necrotic resistance improves to immunity.

Greater Shadow

At 10th level, by feeding on the Shadow Knight's own shadows, the servant has grown stronger. Shadow servant grows into medium shadow elemental with HP of 20 (4d8). Shadow servant can move up to 120 ft. from the Shadow Knight, and Master’s Bidding may be used as an Action or bonus action.

Rapid Shadow

At 17th level, the Shadow Knight's bond with their servant grows ever further, until both are almost one entity. If the Shadow Servant is destroyed, it reforms in the Knight's shadow after 10 minutes. The Shadow Servant can move up to 150 ft. away from the Shadow Knight and Master’s Bidding may be used as an Action, Bonus Action, or Reaction.

Master Shadow

At 20th level, the Shadow servant becomes large and +2 on all actions

Shadow Smite[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal necrotic damage to the target, in addition to the weapon's damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell-level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is not undead or a fiend.

Sustaining Shadows[edit]

At 3rd level, you begin to draw sustenance directly from the Plane of Shadow. You now need to eat only one meal per week. Additionally, due to your body now existing fractionally in the Plane of Shadow, you are immune to poison, and the poisoned condition.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack[edit]

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the attack action on your turn.

Shadow Suffocate[edit]

At 6th level, you can use shadows to suffocate your opponent. You can grapple any creature with shadows. They must succeed on a DC Constitution saving throw equal to your spell save DC or take 3d10 force damage. If they succeed, the effect ends. While in this effect, they can only take an action on their turn to try to escape, and they can't take a reaction. If they escape, they may take a bonus action. If they fail three saving throws in a row, they die from suffocation. Even if the target doesn't need air, they can still be killed from this. You may use this once per long rest. At level 12, you may use this twice per long rest. At 19th level, you can kill anyone caught in this on two failed saving throws.

Shadow Sleep[edit]

At 7th level you draw stamina from the Plane of Shadow, now requiring only 4 hours of sleep per day.

Shadow Weapon[edit]

Starting at the 9th level you may mystically bind yourself with one weapon that you are proficient with. To do so, you must take a short rest to become one with the weapon. When you do so, the weapon takes on a shadowy appearance whenever you wield it. Whenever you make an attack with your shadow weapon add 1d6 Necrotic damage. If any other creature tries to use this weapon they have a disadvantage with it. This can only be done with 1 weapon at a time. When the 2 weapon fighting style is chosen you may bond with 2 weapons as one. When you attack with both weapons you only add the damage once.

Improved Shadow Smite[edit]

By 11th level, shadows and darkness have so consumed you that your melee weapon strikes carry dark power with them. Whenever you hit a creature with a melee weapon, the creature takes an extra 1d8 necrotic damage. If you also use your Shadow Smite with an attack, you add this damage to the extra damage of your Shadow Smite.

Death's Wings[edit]

Your body is so used to the effects of the Shadow Plane that it has begun to visibly modify. You now grow wings starting from 13 level. During the day, you may fly at half your speed, and at night, you may fly twice your speed. These wings are black as night. (You may choose either a draconic or avian appearance and function for the wings.)

Shade Purge[edit]

At 14th level your connection grants you immunity to all disease, poisons, and the poisoned condition.

Crypt Keeper[edit]

Starting at 15th level, after you have completed a long or short rest, you gain advantage on three Strength checks and saving throws in the next hour.

Diabolic Umbrae[edit]

Finally, at 18th level you draw nearly all of your biological needs directly from the Plane of Shadow, eliminating entirely the need to eat, sleep, or breath.

Cursed Upgrade[edit]

At 19th level, you can improve the ability scores for Charisma and either Strength or Dexterity by 3.

Army of Shadows[edit]

You now have absolute control over shadows themselves. Starting at 20th level, by expending 5 spell slots, you may summon an army of shadows for yourself. The casting time for this spell is two turns. From a 100 foot radius, raise every living creature's shadow to form exact shadow like clones of those creatures with the exception of the health total for every shadow clone is 5 Hitpoints. They all attack at the will of the Shadow Knight only on the shadow knight's turn. This spell lasts until every clone is killed or the caster is incapacitated. You may not use this spell again on creatures whose shadows have already been affected by this spell once, and you may not cast it again if there are still shadows under your control.

Shadow Knight Spell List[edit]

Cantrips

caul of shadow, liquid night, umbral hand, mystic reflections, arrow of dusk, black candle, shadow hood

1st-Level

steel shadows, carpet of shadow, bend perspective, mesmerising shade, command, life fades, thunderous smite, sapping smite, metaphysical smite

2nd-Level

darkness, sight eclipsed, shadow skin, magic weapon, black fire, flesh fails, thought of shadow, blindness/deafness

3rd-Level

sharp shadows, clinging darkness, flicker, umbral touch, afraid of the dark, dancing shadows, killing shadows, blinding smite

4th-Level

aura of shade, bolster, banishment, dimension door, staggering smite

5th-Level

hold monster, raise dead, circle of power, banishing smite, desctructive wave

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Shadow Knight class, you must meet these prerequisites: Strength 13, Charisma 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Shadow Knight class, you gain the following proficiencies: light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons


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