Dark Knight, Variant (5e Class)

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Dark Knight, Variant[edit]

A tabaxi is leading the vanguard of a marching army against overzealous paladins. He charges forth, ready to strike deep into their core. Upon reaching the first paladin, he strikes and easily kills them. He leeches some of their blood as a ward against any damage. He continues the charge, and gets struck hard by a small group of paladins. Their strikes eradicate the ward made from blood. He readies to strike, and eradicates two of them before, due to his innate bloodlust, eliminates the strongest one with a single strike. He then forms some armor, and goes to face down the general of the paladins.

A tiefling is walking through a town when a human paladin sees her. The paladin berates her, calling her nothing but a devil needing to be killed. She warns him that what he’s doing to her is a terrible idea, but he doesn’t listen. She decides to teach him a lesson he won’t forget. She shows him a quick menacing glare, which frightens him. She commands him like an obedient servant, which he obeys out of fear. After a minute, he regains his senses and tries to escape into a crowded area. She simply speaks and waves her hands ever so slightly, and he becomes engulfed in madness, seeing all as enemies. She leaves as he starts attacking innocent bystanders.

A verdan notices a town that has been devastated after a battle. They look around for some corpses before imbuing them with foul mimicries of life with repeated casts of spells. Each skeleton and zombie has either some easily acquired items, such as armor, or a weapon. After acquiring some skeletons and zombies, they head on over to the town. They notice some survivors, and instruct their undead minions to help out the survivors. They spread out, and help locate survivors, remove rubble, and make sure all are tended to. After everyone has been rescued, they help aid with the process of rebuilding.

A kalashtar wearing half plate starts stalking her target, a dragonborn official who has helped out many people and is trying to avoid a war. Her quori spirit has given her a feeling that this is wrong, but she ignores it. Pay is pay, after all. She holds some ashes from a burned leaf of mistletoe and a sprig of spruce in her hands as she mutters an incantation. Soon after, she is cloaked in shadows that blend in with the environment and muffle her footsteps. She then continues to stalk the dragonborn until he is all by himself. With a few quick strikes and the element of surprise on her side, she eliminates the dragonborn quickly and quietly. She then escapes before anyone notices her presence.

Dark knights fight like paladins, but do not mistake them as such. They hate paladins, and utilize the powers of darkness to achieve their own desires, instead of swearing an oath. These desires can be wealth, protection, power, or chaos. They learn at schools in order to properly harness the darkness and prevent it from consuming them, turning them into purely selfish forces. Not all are fit for the harsh physical and mental training necessary to become a dark knight, and most fall out before finishing. Those that do make it through, however, are forever changed, and can never go back. The powers of darkness are theirs to command, forevermore. Never again shall they lack the strength to stand and fight for themselves, for now they have an ally that is interested in seeing where they go.

Paladins and dark knights rarely ever get along, due to their inherent hatred of each other. Paladins hate dark knights for using the powers of darkness, which they consider evil and an abomination, while dark knights hate paladins for being goody two-shoes that spend too much time worrying about whether or not they should sacrifice the lives of others in order to finish the mission.

Masters of Darkness[edit]

Dark knights utilize the power of darkness in order to serve their selfish desires, first and foremost. This leaves them with a certain trait, which can appear in many forms, such as a slight shadowy mist, or a lust for blood, wanting only to become the best in combat. No matter the trait, they always stem from the true desire of the wielder. The end result can be controlling others to become worshipped like a deity, to control blood in order to fight better, or even to utilize shadows in order to blend in with their surroundings. No matter the reason, they must learn at a school in order to not go wild with the darkness.

Mastering the power of darkness requires extremely harsh physical and mental training that certain schools provide. Those who refuse to go with a school either give up or are consumed by the darkness they so foolishly sought to control on their own. The schools are there to help keep dark knights in training on track so that they can fully master this power. The power grants them access to intense physical might and mastery over melee combat, along with mastery over a mixture of arcane and occult spells. The spells they can use are useful in winning fights quickly and effectively, though each school does teach different spells on top of what dark knights are already capable of.

Darkness isn’t Evil[edit]

Even though dark knights are masters of darkness, this does not mean they are evil by default. Some of them even learn how to control the dark powers in order to save lives, and fight evil on their own terms. They may have turned to darkness due to a number of reasons, such as being unable to become a paladin or not being chosen to become a cleric of a deity they worship. Some dark knights only obtained their powers in order to protect themselves. They see this as the closest thing that will achieve their desires, and decide to stick with it, despite the reputation they will obtain as they become one.

These selfless dark knights seek only to bring justice and to serve the people when nobody else will. They are more willing to work alongside paladins, but still have their doubts as to whether or not the paladins they work with are actually just in the end. The constant hatred, mockery, and distrust can cause some of them to stop saving others with their powers and to only seek vengeance against criminals who wrong the people. They start to be seen as vigilantes who eradicate whole crime syndicates before the guards even have a chance to show up. Rarely are they betrayed by the lone paladin who works with them to help eradicate the threats, but they always appreciate the help.

Creating a Dark Knight[edit]

As you create your dark knight, keep in mind their reason for going down this dark path. The reasons for one to become a dark knight are varied. Desperation to save a loved one, anger at another who betrayed or cruelly hurt them, and a lust for power are reasons people become dark knights. The reason heavily influences the school they follow to gain power. Many who go down this path tend to either give up due to a lack of dedication or die out of ignorance. Why did your character keep going, despite the harshness of their training? The reputation the dark knights have is not a pleasant one at all, and could even cause trouble in more paladin and cleric filled towns and cities.

What is the main thing that kept your character going? Was it solely for themselves, or was it to help others? What did your training leave you with? How does the darkness show itself with you? Are you personally okay with the dark trait you have acquired, or do you wish you had another? What sort of things are whispered into your head every now and then? Are they calming to you? Stressful? Depressing? How did you go about choosing your symbol? What does it represent? Why did you choose that image? Is it like a memento of your past? A desire you wish to fulfill later on? Who did you become rivals with? Why are you two rivals? Do you both absolutely hate each other and wish for the other to be killed by your hands? Or do you want to convince them to join your side, and bolster the ranks of the dark knights? Is your character fond of spellcasting, or do they wish to only rely on their martial skills?

Personalization[edit]

Let me know when you want the job done, and I’ll do my work.
—Aragoria, dark knight of domination.

Every dark knight is an embodiment of an aspect of darkness. Whether they use it for their own desires or to help others is decided by each dark knight. They can be cruel and heartless at times to those standing in their way, which heavily puts them at odds with others whenever they do team up with good-aligned creatures who want to protect lives. While a paladin might be tempted to back off due to a hostage situation, a dark knight, so long as the hostage isn’t a priority, will allow them to be killed to eradicate a bigger threat. Paladins see this as unnecessarily cruel and unjust, while dark knights see this as not wasting time and getting the job done.

Most dark knights, however, are indeed ones who seek only to satiate their own selfish desires, regardless of whether or not others get hurt because of it. They are the ones who will bribe, assault, murder, and con others to achieve their true desires. Nothing will stand between them and their goals. Dark knights who seek adventure, however, tend to learn very quickly that they need to limit such things in order to not be hunted down everywhere, due to a lack of a base and guards. They also tend to be the ones who help out others and become dark knights in order to help save others, no matter what.

It is a good idea to use the following sections when you are creating a dark knight. Dark knights do indeed have their own goals, but are not so foolish as to remain rigid in the path to achieving such goals. They are flexible when the situation calls for it, and even the most cruel can act out of kindness for a very personal reason.

Reason for becoming a Dark Knight

Each dark knight seeks to master the power of darkness for their own reasons. This reason is very near and dear to them. It is why they kept going, even through the harsh physical and mental training necessary for one to become a dark knight. This could be for vengeance against someone who wronged them, pure and unbridled blood lust, a desire to be worshiped like the gods, or to help protect those near and dear to them from evildoers. Consider your character’s reasons for sticking through the pain and coming out on the other side with the power they have now.

d6 Reasons
1 Worship. I am worthy of being worshiped, and I will make sure others see me as such.
2 Vengeance. I will kill everyone who betrayed me, no matter what it takes.
3 Bloodlust. All I want to do is kill. I don’t need any other reason than that.
4 Conquest. I will conquer these lands, and show them how much better of a ruler I am.
5 Protection. I went on this path to protect someone I deeply care for. I will let nobody harm them without facing my wrath.
6 Power. I seek power, and will do whatever it takes to get more.
Hint of Darkness

Your training has allowed the darkness to show itself in a slight way on your person. This is the darkness’s way of keeping tabs on your physical self. It always wants to make sure you are able to fight, but will not say anything if you are unable to. It always enjoys seeing you overcome challenges in your own way, whether it be alone, or with others. This little hint is something that you cannot end at all without losing your powers. Is your hint related to the manipulation of the weave itself? Or is it that a piece of you is darker than it used to be? Is there a sort of mist around your whole body, or is it only with certain movements? Do you enjoy showing it off to others, or do you try to keep it hidden?

d6 Hint of Darkness
1 Mist. You are surrounded by a dark, faint swirling mist.
2 Skin. Your skin is a tad bit darker than it normally should be.
3 Eyes. Your eyes are black, instead of whatever color they were before. (the blue or brown area is replaced with black)
4 Armor. Any armor you wear ends up slightly darker.
5 Trail. You leave behind a dark mist wherever you step.
6 Spells. The area around you grows slightly darker for a brief time whenever you cast a spell.
Dark Thoughts

The darkness also likes to mess with your mental state, to see if you can still be efficient with distractions. These tend to reflect a piece of you that you’d rather keep hidden. The darkness dredges up your insecurities and brings them forth so that you learn of them. They never go away, and cannot be silenced. You can choose to ignore them, letting them continue to plague you, embrace them and become lost, or learn from them. What part of you spawned such thoughts? What is the origin of these thoughts? Were you betrayed by someone close? Do you seek bloodshed due to what pacifism has done? Consider the reasons for these thoughts to appear, and take great care to not succumb to them.

d6 Dark Thoughts
1 Violent. You hear voices telling you to commit acts of arbitrary violence.
2 Paranoid. The voices tend to always put you on edge and worry about betrayal or things lurking in the shadows.
3 Harmful. These voices tend to hurt you a little whenever they appear and speak of how much pain you cause.
4 Depressing. These voices tend to be sad things you believe.
5 Pessimistic. These voices doubt you, and tell you that you can’t achieve your goal.
6 Envious. The voices tend to speak about how much better the people around you are at anything you are not good at.
Symbol of Darkness

Dark knights know that an easily recognized symbol can strike fear into the hearts of others. These symbols tend to embody the end goal of the knight in question. Some seek power, and will either seek to conquer a nation or start and grow a cult centered around themselves to gain power and influence. Some desire battles, either for the sake of them or for vengeance. Few seek to protect others and wish for justice. Some symbols are of creatures, such as dragons or mind flayers, while others utilize weaponry, such as battle axes and daggers. Some even have it be more abstract, such as hands reaching for something or over something.

Consider your character’s reasoning for their symbol and what it looks like. Is it straightforward or abstract? What does it involve? How is it colored? How do you plan on achieving this goal? Do you hide it until the time is right, or proudly show it off?

d6 Symbol of Darkness
1 Twin battle axes, dripping with blood. Symbolizes your bloodlust.
2 A roaring dragon. Symbolizes your desire for battle.
3 A stabbed heart. Symbolizes your desire for vengeance.
4 A shield. Symbolizes your desire to protect others.
5 An open hand over land. Symbolizes your desire to rule over others.
6 A pair of hands reaching up. Symbolizes your desire for power.
Rival

A rival is inevitable as a dark knight. Sometimes, it’s a paladin trying to recruit you into their ranks. Other times, it’s just zealots trying to eradicate all the dark knights. In turn, dark knights have sought equal retribution upon those who seek to change or eradicate them. Sometimes, it’s actually all in good fun, helping the both of you to reach new heights neither of you could have achieved alone. Other times, it’s mere note taking, possibly to try and take the other down at the most opportune time. Most often, it is in relation with a paladin that seeks eradication and will be upfront about their reasoning.

Consider who your rival is and why they are your rival. Are they a paladin, wizard, or something else? Do they seek to eradicate dark knights, watch them, or redeem them? Did you know them before you became a dark knight? When did your rivalry start?

d6 Rival
1 Fun. Your rival is your rival because the two of you thought it’d be enjoyable.
2 Ideological. You have a rival due to your outlooks on life being incompatible with one another.
3 Redemption. This person wants to try and get you to no longer be a dark knight, and you have formed a rivalry in turn to get them to join.
4 Hatred. You and your rival absolutely hate each other, and always try to fight whenever possible. You don’t want to kill each other, though.
5 Eradication. You and your rival are determined to kill each other, and wipe out all traces of the other even existing.
6 Watching. You and your rival watch each other, and just collect notes about each other. Are you truly rivals?

Quick Build[edit]

You can make a Dark Knight quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution, then either Charisma or Intelligence, depending on which school you wish to follow. Second, choose the soldier background. Third, pick a martial weapon and shield, 5 javelins, the explorer's pack, and chain mail.

Class Features

As a Dark Knight you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per Dark Knight level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Dark Knight level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields, and heavy armor.
Weapons: Simple melee weapons, martial melee weapons.
Tools:
Saving Throws: Constitution, and your choice of Intelligence or Charisma.
Skills: Pick two of the following: Athletics, Deception, History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Persuasion, Religion, or Stealth.

Equipment

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

Table: The Dark Knight

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Soul Decay Features —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +2 d4 Soul Decay
2nd +2 d4 Spellcasting, Fighting Style 2
3rd +2 d4 Dark School 3
4th +2 d4 Ability Score Improvement, Martial Versatility 3
5th +3 d6 Extra Attack 4 2
6th +3 d6 Dark School Feature 4 2
7th +3 d6 Skill of Darkness 4 3
8th +3 d6 Ability Score Improvement, Martial Versatility 4 3
9th +4 d6 4 3 2
10th +4 d6 The Blackest Night 4 3 2
11th +4 d8 Dark School Feature 4 3 3
12th +4 d8 Ability Score Improvement, Martial Versatility 4 3 3
13th +5 d8 4 3 3 1
14th +5 d8 Aura of Darkness 4 3 3 1
15th +5 d8 Dark Stand 4 3 3 2
16th +5 d8 Ability Score Improvement, Martial Versatility 4 3 3 2
17th +6 d10 4 3 3 3 1
18th +6 d10 Dark Survival 4 3 3 3 1
19th +6 d10 Ability Score Improvement, Martial Versatility 4 3 3 3 2
20th +6 d10 Dark School Feature 4 3 3 3 2

Soul Decay[edit]

The dark powers you have welled up inside of you have finally born fruit. You now have enough control in order to make both bodies and souls rot and wither with every strike. Starting at 1st level, you have a pool of d4s equal to 3 times your dark knight level plus your Constitution ability score modifier. The size of your soul decay dice increases as you gain levels, as shown in the Soul Decay column on the class table. Upon hitting a creature, you may use up a number of dice from this pool up to your Constitution ability score modifier. You roll the dice and add the amount rolled as necrotic damage. You regain all expended dice upon finishing a long rest.

Spellcasting[edit]

The darkness now sees you as worthy of magical might. Starting at 2nd level, you can prepare and cast spells. Whether you got here by using your head or through force of will determines how you cast your spells.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Dark Knight table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells. To cast one of your Dark 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 Dark Knight spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Dark Knight spell list. When you do so, choose a number of Dark Knight spells equal to your Charisma or Intelligence (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) modifier + half your Dark 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 Dark Knight, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a spellcasting ability 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 bane, 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 Dark Knight spells requires time spent focusing on each spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence or Charisma (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) is your spellcasting ability for your Dark Knight spells, since their power derives from either the strength of your convictions (Charisma) or your knowledge of the dark powers (Intelligence). You use your Intelligence or Charisma (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence or Charisma (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a Dark Knight spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma or Intelligence (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma or Intelligence (whichever is your saving throw proficiency) modifier

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your Dark Knight spells if you are using Intelligence, or your symbol if you are using Charisma.

Fighting Style[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, choose one of the following options. You can't choose the same style twice, even if you later get to choose again.

Blind Fighting

You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn’t behind total cover, even if you’re blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you.

Dark Warrior

You learn two cantrips of your choice. The cantrip must belong to the enchantment, evocation, or necromancy school of magic. They count as dark knight spells for you, and you use the spellcasting ability modifier that you use for your spellcasting feature. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another cantrip belonging to the enchantment, evocation, or necromancy school of magic.

Defense

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

Dueling

When 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 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a weapon held in two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if it is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

Protection

When you are wielding a shield, you may use your reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack roll targeting another ally within 5 feet of you.

Superior Technique
Prerequisite-martial maneuvers feature

You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. You use your dark knight maneuver DC to set the DC for any saving throw required. You gain one superiority die, which is a d6 (this die is added to any superiority dice you have from another source). This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.

Two Weapon Fighting

When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Dark School[edit]

At 3rd level, you are finally strong enough to handle the power of the dark schools. Choose between blood, domination, necromancy, and shadows. You gain features from your subclass at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 20th levels.

Dark Schools

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th levels, 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.

Martial Versatility[edit]

Whenever you reach a level in this class that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can replace a fighting style you know with another fighting style available to dark knights.

If you have the martial maneuvers feature, you can replace one maneuver you know with a different maneuver you can learn.

Extra Attack[edit]

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

Skill of Darkness[edit]

The darkness sees you growing in strength, and gives you a newfound power. Starting at 7th level, whenever you or another creature makes an ability check, you can use your reaction to add your spellcasting ability score modifier to the check. You may do this three times, regaining all expended uses after finishing a short or long rest.

The Blackest Night[edit]

You have built up quite a wellspring of dark energy that you can release to become even stronger. Starting at 10th level, as a bonus action, you can go into a darkened night form. While in this night form, you gain a +2 bonus to all attack rolls, and you deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage on a hit. These benefits last for a minute, or until you exit it as a bonus action. If you kill a creature during this time, the amount of necrotic damage you deal increases by 1d8. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Aura of Darkness[edit]

The darkness has enhanced your wellspring that you house within yourself. Starting at 14th level, as an action, you can create an aura of darkness and fear around you. Magical darkness floods out from you, covering everywhere in a 10-foot radius centered on you. You can see through this magical darkness. In addition, hostile creatures that enter or start their turns inside the darkness must make a Wisdom saving throw against your maneuver/spell save DC, whichever one you have. On a failed save, they become frightened of you, and they take 3d8 necrotic damage at the start of their turn while they are inside of the aura. They may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. Creatures who pass their save are immune to this effect for 24 hours. This aura lasts for 1 minute, or until you end it as a bonus action. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Dark Stand[edit]

The darkness has seen you fight, and allows you to stay standing, even if you would normally die. Starting at 15th level, if you drop to 0 hit points, you can choose to drop to 1 instead as the darkness you have stored up protects you from falling. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Dark Survival[edit]

Now the darkness really does not want you to die, after seeing how close you are to reaching ultimate power. Starting at 18th level, you gain advantage on death saving throws, as the darkness within helps pull you out of death's grasp.

Dark Schools[edit]

Dark Knights spend time on their own before committing to a dark school of their choice. These dark schools aid in teaching one about how to utilize dark powers in a specific way, without succumbing to them. Some dark knights do not wish to waste time formally in a school, and end up consumed by darkness itself due to their arrogance. The rest end up with powers they could not imagine having without going down this path.

School of Blood[edit]

Dark knights who follow the school of blood learn that blood can be very helpful in protecting themselves. They can heal themselves, protect against damage, and strike hard against their foes. Some mistake them for vampires, which isn't completely wrong. Some of the techniques they learned are from vampires themselves, after all.

Blood Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the Dark Knight, Variant spell list, it now counts as a Dark Knight, Variant spell for you.

School of Blood Spells
Dark Knight, Variant Level Spells
3rd hunter's mark, inflict wounds.
5th magic weapon, spiritual weapon.
9th elemental weapon, vampiric touch.
13th blight, staggering smite.
17th enervation, steel wind strike
Blood Leech

You have learned how to leech blood to form a buffer against future damage. Starting at 3rd level, whenever you hit a humanoid creature that has blood and is bloodied (at or below half health), you can choose to gain an amount of temporary hit points equal to half the damage dealt, rounded down. You can do this a number of times equal to your Constitution ability score modifier, regaining all expended uses upon completing a long rest. Starting at 6th level, you can regain an amount of hit points equal to half of your temporary hit points. You may do so twice, regaining expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Blood Hunter

You have learned how to hunt down creatures by marking them. Starting at 6th level, as an action, you can mark a creature you can see. You always know where that creature is so long as it is within 1 mile of you for 1 hour. If a creature cannot be tracked by divination magic, this feature fails. You may do so again after finishing a long rest.

Bloodied Strike

Your desire for blood has been enhanced by the darkness, allowing you to strike again after ending a foe. Starting at 11th level, upon killing a creature, you can use a bonus action to attack another creature within range of your weapon, adding an additional 1d8 weapon damage to the strike.

Blood Armor

You have learned how to armor yourself with the blood of your foes. Starting at 20th level, if you kill a creature that has blood, you can choose to gain a bonus +1 to your AC, to a max of +3. Every time you get hit or if an attack would have hit but didn't due to the bonus AC, you lose 1 bonus AC. Once you have gained a total of 3 AC, you cannot gain anymore until you finish a long rest. This includes every point of AC you have gained and then lost due to it protecting you from being hit.

School of Domination[edit]

Dark knights who follow the school of domination use the darkness to force others to obey their every will. They learn how to have commanding and authoritative personalities and mannerisms, in order to get what they want, regardless of what others think.

Dominating Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the Dark Knight, Variant spell list, it now counts as a Dark Knight, Variant spell for you.

School of Domination Spells
Dark Knight, Variant Level Spells
3rd command, compelled duel.
5th hold person, suggestion.
9th enemies abound, fear.
13th charm monster, dominate beast.
17th dominate person, geas.
Fearful Force

You have learned how to force your will upon others through fear. Starting at 3rd level, as a bonus action, choose one creature within 10 ft of you and make a Charisma (Intimidation) check contested against their Wisdom (Insight) check. If they succeed the check, they take 1d6 psychic damage. If you succeed the check, the target is frightened of you and will obey you for 1 minute. Once you have used this feature on a target, you cannot do so again until you have finished a short or long rest.

Dominating Presence

You have begun showing aspects of intense authority, even when you aren't using your powers. Starting at 6th level, you are proficient in the Intimidation skill. If already proficient, you may double your proficiency bonus whenever you make an Intimidation check. Also, creatures who normally have advantage on saving throws against the frightened condition do not benefit from advantage against your attempts to frighten them.

Dominating Strike

You have learned how to force your will onto others through your weapon. Starting at 11th level, upon hitting a creature with a melee attack, you may force them to make a Wisdom saving throw against your maneuver/spell save DC, whichever one you have.If they succeed, nothing happens. If they fail, they are forced to obey a command you give them on their next turn. Once you use this feature, you must complete a short or long rest in order to do so again.

Aura of Control

You have learned how to truly harness the darkness to control many others. At 20th level, as an action, you may exert a 15 ft radius aura of domination. Every creature of your choice in that area must make a Wisdom saving throw against your maneuver/spell save DC, whichever one you have. Any creature that fails the saving throw is now under your total control for 1 minute. They will obey your every command, which you can give them as a bonus action. If no command is given after completing all previous ones, they head back to you and await your commands. If in combat and without orders, they defend themselves to the best of their ability. You may do so again after finishing a long rest. Creatures affected by this are aware of everything that you command them to do, but cannot escape. Once the time runs out, they may be angry, scared, or feel some other way, depending on how you treated them while they were under your control.

School of Necromancy[edit]

Dark knights who join the school of necromancy learn about how to utilize necromantic energies for their own desires. Most who join this school use their powers to raise armies of undeath and control their own lands. A few even choose to go down the path of Lichdom, though these dark knight liches are few and far between.

Necromantic Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the Dark Knight, Variant spell list, it now counts as a Dark Knight, Variant spell for you.

School of Necromancy Spells
Dark Knight, Variant Level Spells
3rd cause fear, ray of sickness.
5th blindness/deafness, ray of enfeeblement.
9th animate dead, speak with dead.
13th blight, shadow of moil.
17th danse macabre, negative energy flood.
Soul Harvest

You have learned how to reap the souls of slain creatures to heal. Starting at 3rd level, whenever you land the killing blow on a creature, you may reap their soul and choose a living creature within 30 ft of you. You can choose yourself. That creature regains an amount of hit points equal to two times the creature's challenge rating, minimum 1. You may use this feature an amount of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining all expended uses upon completing a short or long rest.

Pacify Undead

You have learned how to prevent the undead from harming you or your allies. Starting at 6th level, as an action, you can exert a 15 ft radius aura centered on yourself. All undead in the aura at the start of their turn must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. Upon a failure, they do not attack you or anyone else in the aura. This lasts for 1 hour or until you dismiss it as an action.

Reaping Strike

You have learned how to take the life force out of other creatures and heal yourself. Starting at 11th level, you may, upon hitting a creature, deal an extra 2d8 necrotic damage and heal for half of the total damage dealt by the weapon and the necrotic damage. You may do this an amount of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining all expended uses upon finishing a short or long rest.

Undead Army

You have learned how to control undead for much longer periods of time. Starting at 20th level, whenever you cast animate dead, you have control over each creature for an amount of days equal to 2d4 + your Intelligence modifier. After this time, you must cast the spell again to regain control over them. You must spend an extra 10 - your Intelligence modifier minutes casting the spell to gain the benefits of this feature.

School of Rallying[edit]

These dark knights are more willing to work with others in order to achieve their goals. The darkness aids them in a way that makes them excellent mobile strike force commanders. They strike hard and fast with their allies in order to ensure victory. They can sometimes become overconfident or overzealous and strike out on their own. This is seen as a mistake by those who survive the failed missions.

Rallying Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the dark knight spell list, it now counts as a dark knight spell for you.

School of Rallying Spells
Dark Knight Level Spells
3rd bless, faerie fire.
5th enhance ability, enlarge/reduce.
9th withering aura, elemental weapon.
13th black tentacles, freedom of movement.
17th contagion, skill empowerment.

Withering Aura is just crusader's mantle but dealing 1d6 necrotic damage instead of 1d4 radiant damage.

Charismatic Precision

The darkness helps you to aid your allies when they strike. Starting at 3rd level, as a bonus action, you can choose an ally within 30 ft of you. That ally gains a bonus to their next attack roll equal to your Charisma modifier. You may do this a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, regaining all expended uses upon finishing a short or long rest.

Charismatic Influence

The darkness helps you learn what to say to get what you want without making others afraid of you. Starting at 6th level, you gain proficiency with the Persuasion skill. If you are already proficient, add double your proficiency bonus to all Persuasion checks.

Inspiring Boost

The darkness teaches you how to bolster the spirit of your allies. As an action, you can make a rallying cry to bolster you and your allies that can hear you and are within 15 ft of you. For 1 minute, they gain the following benefits so long as they stay within 15 ft of you:

  • Advantage on all attack rolls on their turn.
  • An additional 1d6 bonus necrotic damage on the first attack roll that hits on their turn.

You may use this feature again after finishing a long rest.

Aura of Power

The darkness allows you to enhance the power of you and your allies. At 20th level, each creature of your choice, including yourself, within a 10 ft radius of you gains a bonus to their attack and damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier. Furthermore, each creature of your choice within the aura can add 1d8 necrotic damage to their weapon attack once per turn on their turn. They lose the benefit once they step outside of the radius. You can choose whether a creature gains the benefits upon them entering your aura.

School of Shadow[edit]

Dark knights who join this school learn how to utilize darkness in order to hide in and strike from the shadows. These knights are amazing assassins due to the fact that they easily blend into the shadows as easily as a ranger or rogue, but they hit like a paladin or fighter.

Shadow Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the Dark Knight, Variant spell list, it now counts as a Dark Knight, Variant spell for you.

School of Shadow Spells
Dark Knight, Variant Level Spells
3rd disguise self, silent image.
5th blur, pass without trace.
9th blink, major image.
13th freedom of movement, greater invisibility.
17th mislead, seeming.
Unseen Stalker

You have learned how to never be seen or heard, even when wearing your armor. Starting at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Stealth skill. If you are already proficient, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses the Stealth skill. Also, wearing light or medium armor does not impose disadvantage on your Stealth checks and you have advantage on Stealth checks made while in darkness.

Powerful Ambusher

You have learned how to strike hard after setting up an ambush. Starting at 6th level, you can give yourself a bonus to initiative equal to your Intelligence ability score modifier. Also, your first attack roll on your turn, in the first round of initiative, if it hits, deals an extra 2d6 necrotic damage.

Shadow Assassin

You have learned how to strike from the shadows where it hurts. Starting at 11th level, if you attack a surprised creature and hit, all your attacks are critical hits until the start of your next turn if they are all made against the same creature and hit. Your critical hit range also increases to 19-20 for all weapon attacks, even if the creature is not surprised.

Hidden Strike Force

You have mastered the art of stealth, and the usage of darkness to aid you and your allies in stealth. Starting at 20th level, whenever any creature within 30 ft of you, including yourself, makes a Stealth check, you can have them treat a roll of 9 or below on the d20 as a 10. You may do this a number of times equal to twice your Intelligence ability score modifier. You regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

School of the Guardian[edit]

Focus on protecting others. Beacon of hope in the darkness while utilizing it. Charisma based. Those who learn the ways of the guardian do what they can to protect others and ensure they survive as long as possible. Even though they can’t heal, they still aid allies by making sure that they don’t fall down as easily. They also are good at speaking to multiple creatures in order to try and find a peaceful solution, though they are ready and willing to fight and kill if it means protecting their allies.

Guardian Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the dark knight spell list, it now counts as a dark knight spell for you.

School of the Guardian Spells
Dark Knight Level Spells
3rd heroism, shield of faith.
5th barkskin, warding bond.
9th beacon of hope, remove curse.
13th aura of life, death ward.
17th circle of power, greater restoration.
Ally Guard

You have learned how to utilize the darkness to aid you in defending others. Starting at 3rd level, you can, as an action, increase the AC of an ally within 5 ft of you by one for 1 minute. This bonus increases to +2 at 6th level, +3 at 11th level, and +4 at 20th level. You may use this feature again after finishing a short or long rest.

Influential Speaker

The darkness teaches you how to better communicate with other creatures. Choose one of the following creature types: Dragon, Fey, Giant, or Humanoid. You learn a language associated with that creature type and have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks made to interact with them. If you chose Humanoid, choose one of the following: Dwarves, Elves, Gnolls, Gnomes, Goblinoids, Grimlock (Undercommon), Halflings, or Orcs. The benefits apply to that race of humanoids only.

Endure and Resist

The darkness has taught you how to bolster the defense of you and your allies. Starting at 11th level, you can, as an action, grant all allies within 15 ft of you resistance to two of the following damage types for 1 minute: acid, bludgeoning, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, piercing, poison, slashing, and/or thunder.

You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Not Dying Yet

The darkness allows you to ensure that your allies do not die. At 20th level, as an action, you can emit a 15 ft radius aura. Each creature of your choice inside that aura has advantage on death saving throws, does not get 2 death fails upon rolling a 1, and regains an amount of hit points equal to xd10, with x being equal to your Charisma modifier. Upon rolling a 20, the creature instead regains an amount of hit points equal to 2xd10.

This aura lasts for 1 minute and ends early if you fall unconscious. You may use this feature again after finishing a long rest.

School of the Far Realm[edit]

The darkness is rarely willing to teach others about powers of the far realm. This is due to the fact that the far realm is a twisted place no mere mortal can mentally handle. Those who are not mentally fit enough to handle it and choose to gain this power anyway are, sooner or later, turned into a twisted aberrant undead horror that forever wanders about the world, seeking cruel satisfaction either through a challenge or a victim to be devoured. However, certain individuals possess the necessary mental capacity to resist the warping influence of the truly alien far realm. Those who can handle it are able to wield power that psychologically devastates their enemies.

Eldritch Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you have a list of always prepared spells. These spells do not count against your number of prepared spells and cannot be changed. If the spell does not appear on the dark knight spell list, it now counts as a dark knight spell for you.

School of the Far Realm Spells
Dark Knight Level Spells
3rd arms of Hadar, dissonant whispers.
5th crown of madness, phantasmal force.
9th enemies abound, hunger of Hadar.
13th black tentacles, summon aberration.
17th modify memory, synaptic static.
Mind Warp

The darkness has allowed you to utilize the mind-warping powers of the far realm. Starting at 3rd level, upon hitting a creature, you can force them to make an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d6 psychic damage and have disadvantage on their next saving throw made before the end of your next turn. You may do so a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier. You regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest.

Aberrant Knowledge

Your connection with the far realm grows. Starting at 6th level, you can read, speak, and write Deep Speech, Qualith, and Undercommon. You also can change one of your arms into a tentacle in order to read Qualith and change it back at will, no action required. Qualith is described on pg. 221 of the Monster Manual.

Mind Lash

Your connection between the darkness and the far realm now allows you to warp your strikes. Starting at 11th level, once per turn, you can add 3d6 psychic damage to your weapon attack. Furthermore, you gain resistance to psychic damage.

Aberrant Mold

Your fusion with the far realm has been completed. At 20th level, you now, as an action, can warp yourself into a more aberrant form. For 10 minutes, you gain the following benefits:

  • Creatures hit by you have disadvantage on their next saving throw from a spell.
  • You gain truesight out to 120 ft.
  • You can breathe underwater.
  • You are immune to psychic damage.
  • All your weapon attacks deal an additional 2d6 psychic damage.

You may use this feature again after finishing a long rest.

Dark Knight Spell List[edit]

You can prepare any of the spells on the Dark Knight spell list whenever you choose to prepare your spells for the day. You also gain additional spells based on your subclass.

1st Level

armor of Agathys, arms of Hadar, bane, burning hands, cause fear, color spray, command, detect evil and good, detect magic, expeditious retreat, false life, hellish rebuke, hex, jump, longstrider, ray of sickness, thunderwave.

2nd Level

blindness/deafness, crown of madness, darkness, darkvision, enhance ability, enlarge/reduce, flaming sphere, hold person, mind spike, misty step, ray of enfeeblement, suggestion, Tasha's mind whip.

3rd Level

bestow curse, counterspell, dispel magic, enemies abound, haste, life transference, lightning bolt, nondetection, spirit shroud, summon shadowspawn, summon undead, vampiric touch.

4th Level

black tentacles, blight, confusion, phantasmal killer, shadow of moil, staggering smite, summon aberration.

5th Level

enervation, far step, geas, hold monster, negative energy flood, steel wind strike, synaptic static.

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Dark Knight, Variant class, you must meet these prerequisites: Strength 13, and either Intelligence 13 or Charisma 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Dark Knight, Variant class, you gain the following proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, simple melee weapons, martial melee weapons.

Spellcasting.

  • If you are proficient in either Intelligence or Charisma saving throws, you use that ability score as your spellcasting ability. If both, you choose.
  • If you are proficient in neither, the higher ability score is what becomes your spellcasting ability. If it's a tie, you choose.

+1/2/3 class item:

Amulet of Enhanced Darkness

Wondrous item

Varying Rarity

Major Tier

Requires attunement by a dark knight

Enhance the wellspring of darkness you hold within yourself.

Enhance the powers of your spells, along with your decaying prowess.

Bonus. While wearing this amulet, you gain a bonus to your spell attack rolls and spell save DC. The bonus is determined in the bonus row of the table below.

Enhanced Decay You gain 5 additional Soul Decay dice. The size of the dice is determined by rarity, as shown in the table below. You can use them as you would other soul decay dice. All spent soul decay dice are regained at midnight.

Bonuses
Rarity Uncommon Rare Very Rare
Bonus +1 +2 +3
Soul Decay Die d4 d6 d8
0.00
(0 votes)

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