Black Knight (5e Class)
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In the beginning, a being of shadow and metal lumbered out of the abyss. Human warriors, an unknown order of knights, rode to slay the beast. The fight cost many lives, but the beast fell to its knees at last, a smattering of knights remaining. As they tried to strike the killing blow, the beast exploded, covering the knights in its essence, trapping the knights in their armor as their bodies were transformed into the metal of the beast. And so they remained, cursed, immortal sets of armor. Any who put them on die instantaneously, their bodies becoming the new host and their memories added to the ever growing list. These are the Black knights, cursed magic wielding warriors.
Creating a Black Knight
|By Sanha Kim|
- Quick Build
You can make a Black Knight quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by Wisdom and Strength.
As a Black Knight you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Heavy, shields
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Pick two from Intimidation, Deception, History, Insight, Persuasion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- Black Armor
|Features||Cantrips||Spell Known||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Class Limitations, Antimagic Susceptibility, Living Armor||1||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||Runic Adaptation, Excess to Excalibur||1||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement, Sanguine Metal||1||5||3||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+3||Extra Attack, Noctem Armis||2||6||4||2||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Shards to Spare||2||7||4||2||—||—||—|
|7th||+3||Subclass Feature, Excalibur Mastery||2||8||4||3||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||2||9||4||3||—||—||—|
|9th||+4||Noctem Armis, Bolstering Metallurgy||2||10||4||3||2||—||—|
|10th||+4||Metal to Mana||3||11||4||3||2||—||—|
|11th||+4||Extra Attack, Black Mind||3||12||4||3||3||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement, Sanguine Metal||3||12||4||3||3||—||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||3||14||4||3||3||2||—|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement, Sanguine Metal||3||15||4||3||3||3||2|
You draw power from the runes inscribed on the walls of your armor, invoking the magical essence of the beast that cursed you.
- Cantrips. At 1st level you know two cantrips of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. You learn additional sorcerer cantrips of your choice at higher levels as shown in the Cantrips column on the Black Knight table above.
- Spell Slots. The Black Knight table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
- Learning Spells of 1st level and Higher. Each time you gain a Black Knight level you can inscribe additional spells of your choice from the sorcerer spell list onto your armor, as shown on the Spells Known column of the Black Knight table above. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Black Knight level.
- Spellcasting Ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your spells. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
- Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
- Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
- Spellcasting Focus. The Armor is the Black Knight's focus, and each spell it knows is inscribed into runes on the inside of the armor. Thus, spells, once learned, cannot be forgotten or overwritten.
The Black Knight is unable to wield equipment not made of its own self. You may equip rings, capes, clothes, but weapons and shields must be forged from your shards (Excess to Excalibur). Other equipment repels itself from you, much like magnets, making it impossible to use.
The body inside is essentially braindead. If your character dies, the body inside decays into dust. You cannot be resurrected- technically, you have not died. In order to function once more, you need a new body. You retain all skills, but use the stats of the new body. It is possible to resurrect the original host and control them again, but this method would require a new body- it would require the use of a True Resurrection or Wish spell.
Your hit points are connected to your armor class. If you fall below half hp, you suffer a penalty of 2 AC. If you fall below 1/4 hit points, your AC drops by an additional 2, to a total of -4. Your starting AC is 10 + Con Mod + Wis Mod.
Also, some class features require you to expend or loose AC to power them. This lose is treated as a penalty to your AC before any benefits granted from spells or other effects. For example, if you spend AC while under the effects of Shield of Faith, your AC drops by a total of 3 after the spell ends, or 1 less than what it was before the spell was cast on you
You are incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, you must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.
As a frontline spellcaster, you realize that it's not the smartest idea to cast ranged spells up close all the time. Knowing as much, you’ve inscribed runes in your gauntlets to aid your close-range aim.
At 2nd level, you no longer suffer disadvantage when casting a ranged spell at close range. In addition, if you can lay your hands on the target, you may cast ranged spells as a touch spell, and changing from a roll-to-hit to a Dexterity DC save. If the target succeeds the save, they avoid all damage.
Excess to Excalibur
Even a living set of armor continuously grows and changes. Shards of old, worn metal are dispelled from your shell as you maintain your steel.
Starting at 2nd level, as a bonus action, you may morph this shard of metal into a melee weapon of your choice. This weapon is considered magical for the purpose of ignoring resistances & immunities, and does 1d8 damage (half slashing, half necrotic). This weapon has the Versatile(2d6), Finesse, and Thrown(20,60) properties. Once you do this, you can't do it again until you finish a long rest.
Others may wield this weapon, but you can consciously choose for it to grow spikes and damage the user for 2d4 piercing per turn. You are immune to this damage.
You may choose to discharge another shard to forge another weapon at the cost of 1 AC per use. AC resets after a long rest.
As long as it is on the same plane as you, you also know its precise location at all times. The excess shards decay during a long rest, when your AC resets.
At 3rd level, the Black Knight may choose between two different archetypes in which to develop its power- Runic Armor or Adamantite Titan, which are detailed at the bottom of the page. These subclasses grant bonuses at 3rd, 7th, 13th, and 18th levels.
Ability Score Increase
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th, 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.
You are morphing... adapting. Changing, getting stronger. Starting at 4th level, you gain an additional +1 to AC. This increases to +2 at 12th, and +3 at 19th.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. You can attack three times at level 11.
You may look just like a set of dark armor, but you're reinforced by the hidden runes and innate magic in your core.
Additionally, if you have a Dexterity stat of at least 17, you do not suffer disadvantage on stealth rolls.
Your AC resets after a long rest.
Your armor is starting to grow more rapidly, and is becoming more dense. While this doesn’t increase your protective capabilities, it does mean you have a lot of metal to spare
You gain a pool of ‘shards’, equal to 1+ half your Black Knight level, rounded down. These shards can be used to either remove a single -1 to your AC per shard, or be used instead of taking a penalty for abilities that require you to loose AC.
You regain all shards at the end of a long rest.
After much practice, you learn to master your excess shards and the shapes they may take.
At 7th, you gain +1 to all hit and damage rolls made using your self-made weapons. Also, you may replicate any weapon that you've held with your Excess to Excalibur, mirroring its properties and damage die. This does not reproduce any magical effects the original weapon might have had.
At 15th, the bonus increases to +3. Additionally, should you copy a unique weapon with magical effects or properties, it is reflected in your self-made weapon, unless the effect is a bonus to attack and damage rolls less than 3, in which case it is ignored. If the original weapon functions on a charge basis, so will the copy. You may only replicate unique weapons once per day.
At 9th level, you gain +1 to Constitution, and +1 to Strength, Dexterity, or Wisdom. Your ability scores cannot increase past 20 though this method.
At 17th, +2 to a ability score of your choice. Again, your scores cannot increase past 20.
Metal to Mana
You learn to harness the innate runic power of your self, and can transfer some of its power to your spells.
At 10th level, you may use an action to spend AC to recharge a spell slot. The AC cost is equivalent to the level of the spell slot you choose to recharge.
(Example: A 1st level slot costs 1 AC, and a 5th level slot costs 5 AC.)
You not only are morphing physically, but also mentally. If you even have a mind.
At 11th level, you gain proficiency with wisdom saving throws. You also have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, frightened, or any effect that aims to alter your mind.
You may also, as a reaction, spend 1 AC to forcefully succeed on a Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom saving throw.
Your AC resets after a long rest.
Your shell warps as it experiences combat, evolving to absorb blows. Even when the flesh inside you is on the verge of collapse, your armor forcefully maintains your function.
At 20th, you gain resistance to all damage. In addition, should you drop to zero hitpoints, you instead drop to 1 hitpoint. You can use this ability up to your constitution modifier, regaining all uses at the end of a long rest.
At 3rd level, for all offensive damage spells, you may add your proficiency to the damage rolls.
- Runic Empowerment
At 7th level, you may choose one type of magical damage. On spells pertaining to this type, you may add your proficiency again to the hit roll. For DC check spells, you may add your proficiency to the DC check again.
- Mana-based Armor
At 13th, when using Metal to Mana, the AC cost is reduced by half, rounded up. Additionally, the magic type chosen with Runic Empowerment bypasses resistances.
- Oppressive Silhouette
At 18th, if an enemy would have succeeded on a spell DC check or save, you can force them to fail. This bypasses legendary resistances. You may use this ability an amount of times equal to half your Wisdom modifier, rounded down. Uses are restored after a short rest.
At 3rd level, you may use your Excess to Excalibur to form a shield as well. This shield grants +2 AC. This bonus is separate and may not be spent on class features. You may not equip more than one Excess to Excalibur shield.
- Tower of Power
Starting at 7th level, you may choose to form a Tower Shield with your Excess to Excalibur. While equipped, the Tower Shield grants +2 AC, imposes disadvantage on stealth checks and attack rolls, and grants half cover to you and allies directly behind you.
You can spend an amount of movement equal to half your speed to gain three-quarters cover until the start of your next turn. If you do this, then when you are an obstacle to a target. Allies are also granted three-quarters cover.
- Hostile Barrier
You might not be the heaviest hitter, but ignoring you isn’t a wise decision. At 13th level whenever an enemy steps into your Attack range, you may take an opportunity attack against them with advantage.
- Anti-Magic Master
All your time dealing first-hand with the brunt of magic has taught you just how to deal with it to minimize its effects. At 20th level, you have advantage on all spell-caused saving throws.
You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.
In order to multiclass as a Black Knight, you must find a set of Black Knight armor. Your character retains existing class levels, ability scores, and proficiencies, but you may not take any more levels in the class you had before multi classing, or any other class once taking Black Knight levels.