Shadowknight, Tirr (3.5e Class)
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"Tough... Don't blame us. Blame yourself, or your god."
The Shadowknight is supposed to be the divine agent and justiciar; the sword-arm of their deity, focused on smiting its enemies with imbued power from the heavenly host. Unfortunately, this role often falls to the more universal cleric, whose divine abilities far outshine and easily encompass the role of the Shadowknight, whose own abilities are less than appealing or effective for extended periods of time. The Tirran Shadowknight, however, has benefited from a much greater font of power, granted by his deity, and truly is a force to be reckoned with.
In Tirr, Shadowknights often work alongside Clergy of the same faith, and often with similarly aligned groups or individuals of other faiths, provided they have common goals and aren't wholly incompatible, morally speaking. They are often found establishing various orders, serving the people and the state alike, furthering both their deity's cause, and influence, at once.
As it appears, Shadowknights are effectively the counterparts of Paladins, serving evil deities instead of good ones. Cut from the same cloth, it is not uncommon for these two classes to clash, often; That said, in rare cases, they can also cooperate well, together, so long as their deities are particularly opposed to such a union.
Making a Shadowknight
As a Shadowknight, your first and foremost duty is to your deity. You are not swayed to obey any law, or any moral compunction, outside of that which your deity designates as necessary or unacceptable. Outside of this, you're a mortal weapon wielded in the service of your deity; You defeat its enemies, defend its people, and smite evil that dares to show its face in your presence. While not every act of evil requires your blade, you still admonish those who stray toward the dark path, and guide those who seek the light.
You'll need strength, of course, because you want each strike of your weapon to bite deep into your dark foes. You'll also need a solid constitution to weather whatever trials may come your way, and finally, you'll need charisma, because you are a symbol; your faith is the beacon that provides hope to those you protect, fear to those who creep in the dark, and divine power to your capable hands.
Races: Any race can be a Shadowknight. Your birthright is not what defines you; Your faith does.
Alignment: Any (must be within one step of their deity's alignment)
Starting Gold: As Paladin.
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Aura of Evil, Code of Conduct, Detect Good, Smite Good 1/encounter||1 (Least)|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Dark Blessing, Dark Lay on Hands||1 (Least)|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Villain's Resolve, Aura of Fear, Dark Fortitude||1 (Least)|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Rebuke Undead||2 (Least)|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Smite Good 2/encounter, Special Mount||2 (Least)|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+5||Plague Touch||3 (Lesser)|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+6||Aura of Malice||4 (Lesser)|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+6||Cursed Touch||4 (Lesser)|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+7||Smite Good 3/encounter||5 (Lesser)|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+8||Debilitating Touch||6 (Greater)|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+8||Aura of Weakness||6 (Greater)|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+9||Smite Good 4/encounter||7 (Greater)|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Death Touch||8 (Sacred)|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Constant Vigilance||8 (Sacred)|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Aura of Doubt||9 (Sacred)|
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+11||Enervating Touch||9 (Sacred)|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Smite Good 5/encounter, A Villain Never Dies||10 (Sacred)|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Shadowknight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadowknights are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields). Furthermore, he is also proficient in his chosen deity's favored weapon, if any (if a deity has more than one, choose one).
Invocations (Sp): A Shadowknight does not prepare or cast spells as other wielders of magic do. Instead, he possesses a repertoire of attacks, defenses, and abilities known as invocations that require him to focus the divine energy he channels through his soul. A Shadowknight can use any invocation he knows at will, with the following qualifications:
A Shadowknight's invocations are spell-like abilities; using an invocation is therefore a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. An invocation can be disrupted, just as a spell can be ruined during casting. A Shadowknight is entitled to a Concentration check to successfully use an invocation if he is hit by an attack while invoking, just as a spellcaster would be. A Shadowknight can choose to use an invocation defensively, by making a successful Concentration check, to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity. A Shadowknight's invocations are subject to spell resistance unless an invocation's description specifically states otherwise. A Shadowknight's caster level with his invocations is equal to his Shadowknight level.
The save DC for an invocation (if it allows a save) is 10 + equivalent spell level + the Shadowknight's Charisma modifier. Since spell-like abilities are not actually spells, a Shadowknight cannot benefit from the Spell Focus feat. He can, however, benefit from the Ability Focus feat, as well as from feats that emulate metamagic effects for spell-like abilities, such as Quicken Spell-Like Ability and Empower Spell-Like Ability.
The four grades of invocations, in order of their relative power, are least, lesser, greater, and sacred. A Shadowknight begins with knowledge of one invocation, which must be of the lowest grade (least). As a Shadowknight gains levels, he learns new invocations, as summarized on the advancement table and described below. A list of available invocations can be found following this class description.
At any level when a Shadowknight learns a new invocation, he can also replace an invocation he already knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade. At 6th level, a Shadowknight can replace a least invocation he knows with a different least invocation (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be either least or lesser). At 11th level, a Shadowknight can replace a least or lesser invocation he knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be least, lesser, or greater). At 16th level, a Shadowknight can replace a least, lesser, or greater invocation he knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be least, lesser, greater, or sacred).
Shadowknights can qualify for some prestige classes usually intended for spellcasters; they have the same functional restrictions as a Warlock, except that the Shadowknight's invocations count as an ability to cast divine spells for the purposes of qualifying for prestige classes, with his invocations being compared to levels of spells (Least and 1st, Lesser and 2nd, Greater and 3rd, and Sacred and 4th). She still does not benefit from any bonuses to spells per day granted by any prestige class.
The Shadowknight's list of possible invocations is as follows:
Code of Conduct: A Shadowknight operates as a direct agent and instrument of their deity's will, and as a symbol unto their cause. Because of this relationship with their deity and the significance of religion in their lives and abilities, they must abide by a certain code of conduct, and are restricted from certain acts or states.
- A Shadowknight serves the whims and ideals of her deity; this is prioritized above all other facets of her code, and no other portion of the code overrides it.
- A Shadowknight must respect legitimate authority within the confines of her religious sect, and always work toward the betterment of her god's ideals.
- While she may adventure with allies, a Shadowknight often avoids working with enemies of her god, sect, or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under uncommon circumstances, a Shadowknight can ally with such associates, but only in pursuit what she believes to be a greater objective. A Shadowknight should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is no longer beneficial. A Shadowknight may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are of non-good alignments.
- A Shadowknight who takes a level in any other class may not continue to progress in the Shadowknight class, unless the class is approved of by her order and chosen deity.
If a Shadowknight denounces her patron deity, is rejected by his deity for acting against it's whims, or grossly violates her code of conduct, she loses all class features of the Shadowknight class, as well as the ability to take anymore levels in the class. This can be undone by the atonement spell, if the deity is willing to receive them back, or may be entirely at the whim of the deity, if not.
Smite Good (Su): Once per encounter as a swift action, a Shadowknight may charge her next melee attack with profane power. She adds her Charisma modifier as a bonus on attack and damage. If the smite hits and the target is good, it takes additional damage equal to the Shadowknight's class level.
At 5th level, and at every five levels thereafter, the Shadowknight may smite good one additional time per encounter, to a maximum of five times per encounter at 20th level.
Dark Lay on Hands (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, a Shadowknight with a Charisma score of 12 or higher can inflict wounds by touch. She gains a pool of negative energy, which allows her to inflict a total number of hit points of damage equal to her Shadowknight level × her Charisma bonus. A Shadowknight may choose to divide her damage among multiple recipients, and she doesn’t have to use it all at once. A Shadowknight may fill this pool with a full minute (10 rounds) of concentration and prayer. Refreshing the pool brings the Shadowknight's pool of negative energy back up to the maximum (Shadowknight level × Charisma Bonus). She may fill her negative energy pool a number of times per day equal to 1 + half her Charisma modifier (rounded down). Using dark lay on hands in this way requires a successful melee touch attack and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. The target may make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Shadowknight Level + Charisma modifier) to negate the damage.
Alternatively, a Shadowknight can use any or all of this negative energy power to heal damage of undead creatures, or any other creature healed by negative energy. The Shadowknight decides how many of her daily allotment of points to use as damage after successfully touching an undead creature.
The Shadowknight's Dark Lay on Hands gains additional capabilities as she progresses in level as a Shadowknight. The Shadowknight may use all additional effects in conjunction with damage, as long as she spends enough points.
Villain's Resolve (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a Shadowknight is immune to fear (magical or otherwise).
Auras: All auras except Aura of Evil are switchable as a move action. You may have only one aura other than Aura of Evil active at a given time. These auras function while the Shadowknight is conscious, but not while the Shadowknight is unconscious or dead. The Shadowknight's auras only affect her allies, and not the Shadowknight herself.
- Aura of Fear (Ex): At 3rd level, the Shadowknight may exude an aura of fear that terrifies her foes. Each enemy within 30 feet of her must make a Will save (DC 10 + Shadowknight Level), or be shaken as long as they remain in the aura. Aura of Fear's bonuses scale by level. At level 8, any foe that fails the save by a value greater than 5 becomes frightened, instead. At level 13, the DC increases by the value of the Shadowknight's charisma modifier. At level 18, foes who fail the save by 10 or more become panicked.
- Aura of Malice (Ex): Upon reaching 8th level, the Shadowknight may exude an Aura of Malice. While this ability is active, the Shadowknight causes all enemies within 30 feet to take a -1 morale penalty to AC. At level 13, this penalty increases to -2. At level 18, this penalty increases to -3. This is a switchable aura.
- Aura of Weakness (Ex): Beginning at 13th level, the Shadowknight may exude an Aura of Misfortune. While this ability is active, the Shadowknight may force any foe within 30 feet to reroll one fortitude save, every round. The decision to cause a reroll must be made after the roll is made but before the result is declared. This is a switchable Aura.
- Aura of Doubt (Ex): At 18th level, the Shadowknight may exude an Aura of Doubt. While this ability is active, the Shadowknight may force any foe within 30 feet to reroll one will save, every round. The decision to cause a reroll must be made after the roll is made but before the result is declared. This is a switchable Aura.
Rebuke Undead (Su): When a Shadowknight reaches 4th level, she gains the supernatural ability to rebuke undead. She may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 2 + her Charisma modifier. She rebukes undead as a cleric of her level would.
Special Mount (Sp): Upon reaching 5th level, a Shadowknight gains the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve her in her efforts for her deity's favor (see below). This mount is usually a heavy warhorse (for a Medium Shadowknight) or a warpony (for a Small Shadowknight).
Once per day, as a full-round action, a Shadowknight may magically call her mount from the abyssal or infernal realms in which it resides. This ability is the equivalent of a spell of a level equal to one-third the Shadowknight’s level. The mount immediately appears adjacent to the Shadowknight and remains for 2 hours per Shadowknight level; it may be dismissed at any time as a free action. The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the Shadowknight may release a particular mount from service.
Each time the mount is called, it appears in full health, regardless of any damage it may have taken previously. The mount also appears wearing or carrying any gear it had when it was last dismissed. Calling a mount is a conjuration (calling) effect.
Should the Shadowknight’s mount die, it immediately disappears, leaving behind any equipment it was carrying. The Shadowknight may not summon another mount for thirty days or until she gains a Shadowknight level, whichever comes first, even if the mount is somehow returned from the dead. During this thirty-day period, the Shadowknight takes a –1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls.
Plague Touch (Su): At 6th level, whenever a Shadowknight expends at least 10 points of damage from her dark lay on hands, she may cause sickness and infection in any creature she touches, as the contagion spell. This is in addition to hit point damage inflicted.
Cursed Touch (Su): Beginning at 9th level, The Shadowknight can use her Dark Lay on Hands ability to curse any creature she touches, as the bestow curse spell, whenever she expends at least 5 points of damage. This is in addition to hit points damage.
Vigilance (Su): Upon reaching 11th level, the Shadowknight's ability to detect good increases. When she uses her Detect Good ability, the area of effect is a 60-foot radius centered on the Shadowknight, rather than a 60-foot cone.
Debilitating Touch (Su): Beginning at 12th level, Shadowknight can inflict exhaustion, fatigue, sickness, or nausea with a touch whenever she spends at least 10 points from her dark lay on hands pool. She must choose which condition to inflict prior to attempting to touch the foe. This is in addition to hit point damage inflicted.
Death Touch (Su): Beginning at 16th level, the Shadowknight can attempt to outright kill an opponent with a touch whenever she expends at least 40 points of damage from her dark lay on hands ability. The target is entitled to a fortitude save (DC 10 + Shadowknight's charisma modifier) to avoid death. This is in addition to hit point damage inflicted.
Constant Vigilance (Su): Upon reaching 17th level, the Shadowknight is always vigilant for any signs of good, and her eyes begin to glow with an inner darkness. Her Detect Good no longer requires any concentration to maintain, and has an unlimited duration.
Enervating Touch (Su): Beginning at 19th level, Shadowknight may bestow negative levels to a target whenever she spends at least 15 points from her dark lay on hands pool, as the enervation spell. This is in addition to hit point damage inflicted.
A Villain Never Dies (Ex): At 20th level, the Shadowknight's sheer strength of will drives her on when death would claim lesser men. Once per day when a Shadowknight would be reduced to 0 or less hit points or otherwise killed (such as by a death effect), she instead is reduced to 1 hit point. If the Shadowknight would be killed by having an ability score reduced to zero, that score is instead reduced to 1.
The Shadowknight's Mount
The Shadowknight’s mount is superior to a normal mount of its kind and has special powers, as described below. The standard mount for a Medium Shadowknight is a heavy warhorse, and the standard mount for a Small Shadowknight is a warpony. Another kind of mount, such as a riding dog (for a halfling Shadowknight) or a Large shark (for a Shadowknight in an aquatic campaign) may be allowed as well.
A Shadowknight’s mount is treated as a magical beast, not an animal, for the purpose of all effects that depend on its type (though it retains an animal’s HD, base attack bonus, saves, skill points, and feats).
|5th–7th||+2||+4||+1||6||Empathic Link, Improved Evasion, Share Spells, Share Saving Throws|
|11th–14th||+6||+8||+3||8||Command Creatures of Its Kind|
Shadowknight’s Mount Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the mount’s kind, but make changes to take into account the attributes and characteristics summarized on the table and described below.
Bonus HD: Extra eight-sided (d8) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Consitution modifier, as normal. Extra Hit Dice improve the mount’s base attack and base save bonuses. A special mount’s base attack bonus is equal to that of a cleric of a level equal to the mount’s HD. A mount has good Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the animal’s HD). The mount gains additional skill points or feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice.
Natural Armor Adj.: The number on the table is an improvement to the mount’s existing natural armor bonus.
Str Adj.: Add this figure to the mount’s Strength score.
Int: The mount’s Intelligence score.
Empathic Link (Su): The Shadowknight has an empathic link with her mount out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The Shadowknight cannot see through the mount’s eyes, but they can communicate empathically.
Note that even intelligent mounts see the world differently from humans, so misunderstandings are always possible.
Because of this empathic link, the Shadowknight has the same connection to an item or place that her mount does, just as with a master and his familiar (see Familiars).
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.
Share Spells: At the Shadowknight’s option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts on herself also affect her mount.
The mount must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the mount if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the mount again even if it returns to the Shadowknight before the duration expires. Additionally, the Shadowknight may cast a spell with a target of “You” on her mount (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself. A Shadowknight and her mount can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the mount’s type (magical beast).
Share Saving Throws: For each of its saving throws, the mount uses its own base save bonus or the Shadowknight’s, whichever is higher. The mount applies its own ability modifiers to saves, and it doesn’t share any other bonuses on saves that the master might have.
Improved Speed (Ex): The mount’s speed increases by 10 feet.
Command (Sp): Once per day per two Shadowknight levels of its master, a mount can use this ability to command other any normal animal of approximately the same kind as itself (for warhorses and warponies, this category includes donkeys, mules, and ponies), as long as the target creature has fewer Hit Dice than the mount. This ability functions like the command spell, but the mount must make a DC 21 Concentration check to succeed if it’s being ridden at the time. If the check fails, the ability does not work that time, but it still counts against the mount’s daily uses. Each target may attempt a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Shadowknight’s level + Shadowknight’s Cha modifier) to negate the effect.
Spell Resistance (Ex): A mount’s spell resistance equals its master’s Shadowknight level + 5. To affect the mount with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the mount’s spell resistance.
Playing a Shadowknight
Religion: Shadowknights are employed by almost all religions dedicated to evil deities in the world of Tirr, and largely are used as agents of their collective will. Organized into orders that specialize in training strong, militant forces, these orders are given a token amount of power by their deities in order to further their will and ideals. Unlike Fell Knights, the binding to their deity is less than personal and therefore less powerful, although they are still governed by strict codes of conduct
Other Classes: Shadowknights, as expected, are generally most accepted and accepting of other divine classes of their own religion; Clerics, Shadowknights, Favored Souls, and all others tend to share in a sense of camaraderie within the same religion. Outside of the divine classes, Knights and Samurai are respected by Shadowknights due to their disciplined and noble ways, if different ideologies.
Combat: The Shadowknight is a front-line fighter who does especially well against the good and sacred. While she isn't as versatile as the Fighter or as brutally efficient as the Barbarian, she serves as a helpful, capable fighter in most encounters. When not smiting angels, archons, and the forces of good, she debilitates her enemies with her auras, or destroys them with her Dark Lay on Hands ability.
Advancement: Shadowknights in Tirr are not as restricted as in other campaigns; They typically have the freedom to multi-class so long as they continue serving their deity's ambitions or goals. While this means they can easily jump from class to class, they typically only delve into other classes that help bolster their abilities in service of their deity, or further attain their deity's ideals. For example, Shadowknights who multi-class into wizards are fairly common among those that worship Mana, the goddess of magic.
Those who perform well and long can go on to become Fell Knights in service of evil deities, furthering their divine connection with their chosen god.
Shadowknights in the World
|“||You have all these rules and you think they'll save you... but they won't. Macha beckons, and I'm answering the call.||”|
|—Valm, Tiefling Shadowknight|
These are the profane warriors of their respective deities, living among their brothers or moving about the world on a pilgrimage. They often are recognized for what they are, as Shadowknights tend to wear their profane symbols with pride, often in place of their own heraldry, even if they have noble heritage.
Daily Life: The Shadowknight spends her days fending for herself, fighting for profit and sport, teaching the self-righteous a lesson in humility in the most straight-forward way possible. While Shadowknights may not always be evil, they do tend to have uncooperative or less-than-generous attitudes toward the plights of others. They are typically very devoted to a regimen on self-improvement, striving to be a better tool for their chosen god. They often work together in communal orders dedicated to their goals.
Notables: Shadowknights are decidedly less well-known than their Paladin counterparts. This is more because of the fact that they are less likely to be helpful and involved in the community around them, outside of shadowy manipulations and turf wars that might make them more akin to thugs and gangs than anything else. Even so, legends and tales abound of major conflicts that the Shadowknights are involved in, and everyone knows to stay out of the way when a battalion makes its way onto the streets, on the warpath.
NPC Reactions: Shadowknights receive a variety of reactions from others - the most common difference is a matter of religion, but typically, most commoners of neutral alignment find Shadowknights to be fearsome and an ill omen, and likely attempt to stay out of their way, or outright flee. Those of higher station, such as lords, may find Shadowknights to be a potential threat, although some are intrigued by the power of the Shadowknight, and many attempt to hire them as personal bodyguards.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Religion) can research Shadowknights in regards to the region to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Shadowknights are militants in service of their deity - Divine champions, if you will.|
|10||Shadowknights have several different orders, creeds, and codes, depending entirely on the god they serve.|
|15||Shadowknights have the ability to directly channel divine power, acting as a conduit between their god and the world.|
|20||The Rosen Order serves as the elite guard of the arch-druid of Volare, and often take on special or secret missions for the state.|