Death Knight (5e Class)

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Death Knight

A dim blue glow emanates from his eyes as he sits armored in heavy plate, great sword and unholy magic in hand. His honor binds him and holds him on the narrow path of maintaining his self. The death knight makes a fearsome enemy and a loyal ally. Know that a deal struck with one will be completed without fear of being betrayed.

The woman sits with a calm demeanor staring off in the distance. Despite the necrotic energy crackling around her, she displays a peak human physique. She stares off into the distance with brightly lit green eyes. ‘Death comes,’ she thinks. ‘Perhaps today I’ll finally meet my end again and take the final rest I’ve sought so long.’ Physical training combined with the incredible necrotic energy inside has bulked up her once lithe form. She stands taller and broader than most of her kind. When she looks in the mirror, some ghoulish stranger stares back. Despite her bleak presentation, she is still first and foremost...a Knight.

The Orders of Death Knights are unbiased towards its recruitment. Some people join due to a fall from grace. Some people join for its philosophies and others merely for the power. All must join one of the Orders to realize their full power. Some have just learned how to channel the powers of Death on their own for their own uses, but without a Rune Weapon and access to a Runeforge they are severely limited. Some of the more radical death knights would include the cynics who believe there is no purpose for life. They are often driven into exile or into heinous acts against all life. Because of the actions of these few, many have come to paint death knights with broad strokes through guilt of association.

The death knights presented here are inspired by the fictional characters Arthas Menethil of the Warcraft series and Talion from Shadows of Middle Earth.

"Let them come...Frostmourne Hungers!"

Arthas Menethil, the Lich King

"You are mine!"

Celebrimbor, using Talion to dominate an orc

Runed Weapons

Long ago the Necromonger created an unliving weapon to do their bidding: the death knights. The process is steeped in secrecy, but the key is the rune weapons they armed the death knights with. A death knight's Rune Weapon acts as his fulcrum between life and death. Each death knight takes death's oath. Part of this oath is to not reveal the true nature of their existence. The rune weapon is central to the death knights abilities: without it, the death knight loses its power.

A death knight's Rune Weapon is a rune weapon which can be engraved with runes through a process known as runeforging. The Runes run along the weapon lengthwise. These Runes are written in Necromonger. These Runes disrupt and manipulate the world around them, tapping into Necrotic energies to do so. These Runes are a representation of the death knights soul and, effectively, are the death knight. The death knight's weapon is as sacred as his honor.

Creating a Death Knight

A death knight's word is paramount, once given it cannot be broken. As below, the consequences of leaving the narrow path of honor and integrity has dire consequences.

By nature, death knights are Lawful in alignment. Most are Lawful Neutral and all follow a strict code of honor called the Death Pact. Death knights are commonly Lawful Evil. They summon the dead and execute extremes of action to bring order to a chaotic world. Lawful Evil death knights become quick targets for adventurers. This has led to a general mistrust of death knights. A Lawful Good death knight is extremely rare. Due to the dark energies filling the death knights, even Lawful Good death knights have a subtle dark aura about them, unnerving to those who get too close. Overall, they can get along with most folks, but the distrust and fear is always close at hand. Death knights do not suffer fools and avoid rogues and bards seeing them as deceitful and untrustworthy.

A death knight's honor is everything: gain this as a personality trait. You may wish to go over with your DM and compile a Code of Conduct appropriate to your race, campaign setting and the like.

Quick Build

You can make a death knight quickly by following these suggestions. Charisma should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, take the acolyte background.

Class Features

As a Death Knight you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

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

Proficiencies

Armor: All armors, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, and Survival.

Equipment

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

  • (a) two martial weapons or (b) a martial weapon and a shield
  • (a) scale mail or (b) chain mail
  • (a) 4 javelins or (b) 2 handaxes
  • (a) dungeoneer's pack or (b) explorer's pack
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4 x 10 gp in funds.

Table: The Death Knight

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features Profanities Known Cantrips Known —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +2 Rune Weapon, Death's Pact, Eyes Of Fear 0 1
2nd +2 Necrostrike, Runeforging 0 1 2
3rd +2 Profanities, Dark Order, Additional Rune, 1 1 3
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2 1 3
5th +3 Order Feature, Additional Rune 2 1 4 2
6th +3 Unliving, Undead Commander 2 1 4 2
7th +3 Death Awareness, Bone Shield 3 2 4 3
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3 2 4 3
9th +4 Necro Servant 3 2 4 3 2
10th +4 Order Feature, Additional Rune 3 2 4 3 2
11th +4 Shadowmeld, Certainty of Death 3 2 4 3 3
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 3 2 4 3 3
13th +5 4 3 4 3 3 1
14th +5 Hellfire Orb, Profanity Improvement 4 3 4 3 3 1
15th +5 Order Feature, Additional Rune 4 3 4 3 3 2
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 4 3 3 2
17th +6 5 3 4 3 3 3 1
18th +6 Order Feature, Additional Rune 5 3 4 3 3 3 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 5 3 4 3 3 3 2
20th +6 Avatar of Death 5 3 4 3 3 3 2

Honor bound, Death's Pact

Death has made a pact with you to allow your Necro existence between undeath and life. This pact binds you to service and allows you access to the class abilities.

One of the effects of the pact is that you age at a slower rate. For every 10 years that pass, your body ages only 1 year, and you are immune to being magically aged.

Death's Pact

1. The First Allegiance is to Death, not Life. The death knight is expected to protect the secrets of the Necromonger's and their origins. When able the death knight is obligated to protect sites where the dead are laid to rest from desecration. The death knight must ensure that all slain allies and enemies receive proper rites for their passage to the afterlife.

2. The Second Allegiance is to revere Death, not Undeath. The Undead try to cheat the natural cycle of life, and the death knight must use every available means to stop them and restore the natural order. The death knight is expected to treat the spirits of the dead with respect above all else. If the undead are rampaging, he is to take command or quell them regardless of personal vendetta or mood. Refusal to honor the spirit, or to use magic that traps or otherwise damages the soul to any degree is a slight against Death.

3. The Third Allegiance is to Honor for all of Eternity. The third allegiance demands that a death knight keep the faith. In this, his word is his bond, once sworn he shall uphold it so long as his trust is not broken, even against his convenience. His word is to stand until his own death. Death knights are expected to repay kindness with kindness and slights with retribution.

Breaking Death's Pact

The Pact and its consequences are at the GM's discretion. The death knight is a powerful class and should have major drawbacks and weaknesses as a consequence. Young death knights often run afoul of their pact and lose their abilities, sometimes at the most inopportune of moments.

If you break an oath, agreement or contract, or grossly violate the Death's Pact you lose your class abilities, and may not progress any farther in levels as a death knight until you perform a task (GM's discretion) in repentance for your actions.

Rune Weapon

As a death knight, you have been armed with this order signature equipment: the rune weapon. Your begin with clean slate rune weapon. The material, shape, form, and function of the rune weapon are chosen by you when you gain this feature. You can chose any melee weapon you are proficient with to receive the benefits of becoming a rune weapon.

When making attacks with your rune weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Dexterity or Strength. A rune weapon is considered magical for the purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to non-magical attacks.

The rune weapon is always with you, and you can store or draw the weapon from the void itself. Doing this doesn't require an action. You can have only one rune weapon at any given time.

Spellcasting

Starting at 1st level, you have learned to channel the necrotic energy inside you to cast spells.

Cantrips

You know 1 cantrip of your choice from the Death Knight Spell List. You learn additional death knight cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Death Knight table.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Death Knight table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your Death Knight 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.

You prepare the list of Death Knight spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Death Knight spell list. When you do so, choose a number of Death Knight spells equal to your Charisma modifier + your Death Knight level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you are a 3rd-level Death Knight, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Charisma of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell Inflict Wounds, you can cast it using a 1st-level or 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 Death Knight spells requires time spent in prayer and meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your Spells and Spell-like abilities since their power derives from your willpower. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when Setting the saving throw DC for a spell or ability you cast and when Making an Attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell Attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spellcasting Focus

You can use your rune weapon as a spellcasting focus for your death knight spells.

Ritual Casting

You can cast a spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Eyes Of Fear

At the 1st level, you can use your bonus action to activate an aura and make your eyes glow blue when you do this, and one target within 60 feet must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of you until the beginning of your next turn. This has no effect on undead or constructs.

You also gain advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Necrostrike

At 2nd level, you can use your bonus action channel necrotic energy into your strikes. Your first successful attack during this turn deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage on hit for each rune you have on your rune sword. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum once). You regain all uses of this feature when you finish a long rest.

Runeforging

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Rune Forge

Starting at 2nd level, you learn how to empower your weapon with magical runes. This process takes 1 hour per rune, and you can inscribe 1 rune onto your rune weapon. Each time you gain a level in this class, you can change one of the runes inscribed in the weapon.

As you gain levels in this class, the total number of runes you can have on your rune weapon increase, becoming 2 at 3rd level, 3 at 5th level, 4 at 10th level, 5 at 15th level and 6 at 18th level.

Only a death knight can safely wield a inscribed rune weapon. Any creature other than you holding it takes 1d6 necrotic damage per rune inscribed at the beginning of each of its turns while holding or carrying the weapon.

Each rune can be inscribed only once, unless the description of the rune says otherwise. All benefits described bellow, unless stated otherwise, apply as long as you are wielding or carrying the weapon.

Rune of Razorice

Once inscribed onto the Rune Weapon it gains +1 to attack and damage. At 10th level, you can inscribe another rune, for a bonus of +2.

Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Once inscribed onto the rune weapon, you can use your bonus action and expend a spell slot to regain 2d6 hit points per spell slot level plus Constitution modifier. Each additional rune increases the number of hit points regained in 2d6.

Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle

Once inscribed onto the rune weapon, you gain a bonus of +1 to Strength or +1 Constitution while wielding the Rune Weapon. At 10th level, you can inscribe this rune a second time, for a bonus on the ability score you haven't chosen the first time.

Rune of the Deathbringer

Your rune weapon has an increased critical hit range of 1 or deals an additional damage die of the weapon type upon landing a critical hit. At 10th level, you can inscribe this rune a second time, for to gain the benefit you haven't gained the first time.

Rune of Cinderglacier

pre-requisite: 5th level

Once in each of your turns while wielding the rune weapon, your attacks with it deal additional damage your Charisma modifier. The damage type is cold.

Rune of Lichbane

pre-requisite: 5th level

Once inscribed onto the rune weapon, you gain advantage on all attacks against undead creatures.

Rune of Spellbreaking

Once inscribed on your rune weapon, you gain a bonus of +1 to all saving throws you make against spells, and to any dispel or counterspell checks you make. At 10th level, you can inscribe another rune, for a bonus of +2.

Rune of Swordbreaking

Once inscribed on a rune weapon, you can use your reaction to give yourself a bonus of +2 to your AC until the end of your next turn. In addition, you no longer can be disarmed.

Dark Order

At 3rd level, you choose a Dark Order that shapes your combat styles and techniques. Choose the Order of Dark Cavaliers, Order of Unholy Death, or Order of the Ebony Blades, all detailed at the end of the class description. The Order you choose grants you features at 3rd level and again at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.

Profanities

Starting at 3rd level, you learn a number of profanities as listed in the Profanities Known column on the Death Knight table, and those you get from your dark order, choose from the list below. You may exchange one of your Order profanities for one on the table below. You can use a bonus action to activate or deactivate one profanity, activating a profanity while you have one already active will automatically deactivate the previous one.

Each time you gain a level on this class, you can change one of the profanities you know for another one. Starting at 14th level, you can have two profanities active at once.

Etherfloat

You hover a few inches from the ground. You do not trigger pressure plates or the like; you can cross liquid surfaces if they are still; and you descend to the ground harmlessly as if under the effect of the feather fall spell.

Grave Armor

As an action, you can summon an armor made of spiked bones. While wearing this armor, you can add your Charisma modifier, instead of your Dexterity, to your AC. In addition, all friendly undead creatures within 30 feet of you gain a bonus of +1 to AC.

Unholy Vigor

When you finish a short or a long rest, you gain 10 temporary hit points. When you roll initiative, you and friendly creatures within 30 feet of you gain additional 5 temporary hit points.

Aura of the Damned

Hands of the dead shoot up from the ground around where you stand. After your turn the first hostile target to enter within 30 feet of you or start its turn within 30 feet of you must make a Dexterity saving throw or become restrained until the start of it's next turn.

Deathwind

When you or a creature within 30 feet of you takes fire, poison, thunder, necrotic or cold damage, you can use your reaction to give that creature resistance against that damage type until the start of your next turn.

Gravemist

An eerie mist surrounds you. You and all allies within 30 feet are lightly obscured. All physical and all ranged attacks made against you are made with -2 to the attack rolls.

Ability Score Improvement

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.

Unliving

Beginning at the 6th level, you fully assume to the mantle of Death Knight; you no longer require to eat, drink, breathe or sleep and have resistance to necrotic damage. You may still gain the benefits of a long rest if you spend 8 hours undertaking light activities such as reading or keeping watch.

In addition, you can't be killed by any mortal means. Any action or effect that would kill you, instead puts you into a deep slumber for 7 days, upon which you awaken, as if you were completed a long rest.

Undead Commander

At 6th level, The death knight can martial undead to serve under his liege. When you cast the animate dead spell, you can target a new pile of bones, creating another undead. This additional undead lasts for 1 hour, and you can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum once).

Also, you can now create more powerful undeads. Any undead under your command can use your proficiency bonus to its attacks and saving throws, and have proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armor and shields.

Additionally, the undead you create gain a number of additional hit points equal to half your death knight level (rounded down).

Death Awareness

When you reach the 7th level, you gain the ability to sense when things around you are close to death. Without spending an action on your turn, you can chose any creature you can see, and determine if the creature has less than half or less than a quarter of its total of hit points. This feature doesn't affect constructs.

Bone Shield

At 7th level, as a reaction when you take slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage, you can expend a spell slot to summon 4 bone shields that spin and float around you. While at least one bone remains, you have resistance against slashing, bludgeoning and piercing damage. Whenever an attack deals one of those types of damage, one bone shield is destroyed.

The bone shield lasts for 10 minutes or until all bone shields summoned have been destroyed.

Necro Servant

At 9th level, your Death Aura has become so strong that you are used to seeing through magic darkness, you can see 120 feet through magical darkness and if your race doesn't have it you gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet you have advantage roll on Constitution saving throws against effects that deal necrotic damage.

Certainty of Death

At 11th level, your death awareness becomes stronger the closer an opponent is to dying. As a bonus action, you can chose a target that you detected the hit points with your Death Awareness feature. The first weapon attack on your turn made against the target with less than half of its hit points remaining is made with advantage. Any weapon attack made against an opponent with less than a quarter of its hit points remaining score a critical hit on a roll of 19-20 on the d20.

You can change the target for another one you sense with your Death Awareness as a bonus action.

Shadow Meld

At 11th level, while in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can expend a spell slot of 3rd-level or higher and teleport yourself and one other willing creature to a point you can see within a range equal your Charisma modifier x 10 + 30 feet that is also in dim light or darkness.

Hellfire Orb

Starting at 14th level, you can hurl a magical ball of fire that explodes at a point you can see within 120 feet. Each creature within a 20-foot radius sphere must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 fire damage and 5d6 necrotic damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful save.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.

Avatar Of Death

At 20th level, as a bonus action, you can become an avatar of death for 1 minute. While in this form, your size becomes one size larger and your body is completely covered in a dark shadow while in this state. you gain immunity to non-magical weapons, resistance to all damage types and the ability to have 4 profanities active at once.

Additionally, any hostile creature that begins its turn or enters an area of 120 foot-radius around you must make a Wisdom saving throw of against your spell save DC, becoming frightened on a failed save. The condition lasts for the duration of your transformation, and in each of its turns, the frightened creature can make another Wisdom saving throw to end the effect.

A creature that fails this saving throw by 5 or more must immediately use it's reaction to flee, moving 30 feet away from you. Creatures that would otherwise be immune to the frightened condition are not immune to this effect, but these creatures make the saving throw with advantage. Constructs are immune to this effect.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest

Dark Order

Order of Dark Cavaliers

The Order of the Dark Cavaliers use their bound mounts to the greatest effect. You become a dark wind of death upon the battle field, striking fear and dread in to your enemy's

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Profanities

As a member of the Order of Dark Cavaliers you gain access to the following profanities:

Etherfloat. Described on the Profanities feature.

Pale Horse. Your necrosteed and friendly mount creatures within 30 feet of you increase their movement speed by 10 feet.

Dark Rider

You can add your proficiency bonus in all checks related to riding your necrosteed, and can mount or dismount your necrosteed without spending an action.

While you are mounted on your necrosteed, your melee attack rolls against any unmounted creature that is smaller than your necrosteed is made with advantage. Also, you can force an attack targeted at your mount to target you instead.

Additionally, if the necrosteed is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage while you are mounting it, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Necrosteed

Starting when you choose this order at 3rd level, you gain the ability to use your bonus action to summon a fierce undead mount called necrosteed, jumping through a portal in a unoccupied space within 5 feet of you.

The creature has an ebony physical appearance with a mane of burning green fire, it has the statistics of a warhorse, though is a undead instead of a beast, and its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your death knight level, whichever is higher.

In combat, the necrosteed shares your initiative count, but takes its turn immediately after yours. It can move and use its reaction on it's own, but the only action it takes on its turn is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take the action in its stat block or the Dash, Disengage, Help, Hide or Search action. When commanding the necrosteed to attack, you can use your proficiency modifier, instead of his.

You can control this mount even if it hasn't been trained to accept a rider. The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge. A controlled mount can move and act even on the turn that you mount it. All other rules of mounted combat apply as normal.

Also, while you are mounted, your necrosteed share all your Profanities benefits.

If your necrosteed dies, you can't summon another until you complete a long rest, or until you spend a spell slot of 2nd-level or higher.

Charge Attack

Beginning at 3rd level, as an action, you are able to charge your steed directly at your foe with a movement of 60 feet, dealing 1d6 damage for every 10 feet you traverse on your way to them, up to a maximum of 6d6. The target must succeed a Dexterity saving throw with a DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your necrosteed Strength modifier. On a successful save, the target takes half damage and does not fall, on a failed save, the target takes full damage and is knocked prone.

Once you use this feature, you can't do it again until you complete a long rest.

Coordinated Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you and your necrosteed are an overwhelming force of combat. When you take the Attack action on your turn, if your necrosteed can see or hear you, it can use its reaction to make a melee weapon attack.

Ebony Instincts

Upon reaching 10th level, your mount has become just as much of a force on the battlefield as you have. You have advantage on initiative rolls when riding your necrosteed.

In addition, while mounted, if you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren’t incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn.

Towering Presence

Starting at 15th level, the sight of you on top of your mount is all that is needed to send creatures fleeing. let your steed stand and raise your weapon high to terrify the worthless vermin before you. Each creature of your choice that is within 60 feet of you and aware of you must succeed a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or become frightened for 1 minute.

A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the Towering Presence for the next 24 hours

You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.

Dark Cavalier

At 18th level, you have achieved the most elite status of the dark cavalier, and the power to summon a flying terror as your necrosteed. When you use your Necrosteed feature, you can chose to summon one of the following mounts: a nightmare or a manticore.

Order of Unholy Death

Death knights of the Unholy Death devote more of their energies into developing the exotic powers of Death. They can use their enhanced abilities to innately learn magical spells as well as gain special benefits for following the path the follow. These death knights focus on a deeper understanding of Necromancy and magic.

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Profanities

(You can use one of these plus the one you already had) As a member of the Order of Unholy Death you gain access to the following profanities:

Unholy Vigor. Described on the Profanities feature.

Soulreaver. Expend a spell slot to give an extra 1d8 to attack rolls and damage rolls, and you also get + 6 on attack and damage rolls against all creatures undead.

Magic Knowledge

When you choose this order at 3rd level, you learn the chill touch cantrip, if you don't already have it.

In addition, you can prepare abjuration spells from the cleric spell list.

Bound Servant

Starting at 3rd level, you learn how to bound both living creatures and dead souls to your service. When you finish a short or a long rest, you can spend one spell slot and perform a 1-hour ritual to creature your servant.

This ritual requires a body or remaints of a creature of small or medium size, dead a no more than 1 month. When you finish the ritual, you raise a servant, that has the game statistics of a skeleton or a zombie, depending on the state of the body, but has a number of hit points equal your level x 5 and a intelligence score of 6.

You can also bind a living humanoid creature into servitude. A unwillingly creature must be unconscious during the ritual and have the CR lower than 1/4 of your level. It must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC, and, on a failed save, it is raised as a servant.

If the creature was found as mere bones, then it will take on an appearance such that a black mist will surround its floating bones as a blueish white hue glows everlasting within its center. If the creature was bound while having mostly flesh, then there would be no black aura and instead have a blue hue shining from the body's crevices such as eyes and mouth.

The servant is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stop obeying your commands and become hostile towards you. You can maintain control over your servant by spending 1 spell slot. You can only have one servant under your control at the same time. If you try to bind another, the first one becomes hostile towards you.

As an action, you may summon your servant and cause it to appear within 10 feet of you, or banish your servant at any range. As a bonus action, you may telepathically command your servant to perform a specific action; it otherwise acts as intelligently as it can.

In combat, your servant acts its own initiative but under your control. You can also forgo your action to command the servant to take an action instead.

The number spell slots that you can use to create your servants increase to 2 at 18th level. If the spell create 2 servants, two bodies must be present when you complete the ritual and spend the spell slot. The type of servant created changes, as you gain more powerful spell slots:

2nd-level spell slot: Two skeletons or zombies

3rd-level spell slot: One shadow

4th-level spell slot: Two shadow. One specter or ghoul.

5th-level spell slot: Two specter or ghoul. one will-o'-wisp or ghast

Rune Magic

Beginning at 5th level, you learn the art of rune magic. Drawing on the necrotic energy of your rune weapon, you can recover a number of spell slots levels equal to the number of runes you have. For example, with four runes, you can recover four 1st-level spell slots, two 2nd-level spell slots or any other combination resulting in four slots.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.

In addition, when you reduce a creature to 0 hit points, you can spend a spell slot immediately to raise it as your servant.

Death's Sight

At 10th level, the overflowing necrotic energy within you attunes you to the energies of life and death, helping you sense creatures you can’t see. When you attack a non-visible creature, your inability to see it does not impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it.

You can also sense of the location of any invisible or hidden creature within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isn’t magically hidden from you. This sense don't detect constructs.

In addition, you also gain immunity to being frightened.

Wraithshift

At 15th level, your appearance is cloaked in a shadowy haze, resembling a wraith. While in dim light or darkness you have the ability to float, gaining a fly speed of 60 feet. When in this shadowy form, you also have advantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Master of the Chain

At 18th level, you can bind a creature instantly into servitude. When a creature within 30 feet of you is reduced to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction and force that creature to make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC.

This creature return from the death with all of its hit points, and it is considered under the effect of a dominate monsterspell, lasting for 10 minutes. Once the times past, the creature dies and you cannot use this feature again until you complete a long rest.

Order of The Ebony Blades

Death Knights of the Ebony Blades use their knowledge of the dark arts to supplement their physical and mental capabilities, allowing them to perform superhuman feats. With their expertise in martial training, they are recognized among the most effective dealers of death. Hordes upon hordes will charge the death knight only to fall to his blade, one by one.

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Profanities

As a member of the Order of the Ebony Blades you gain access to the following profanities:

Terrorize. You gain an advantage on all Charisma (Intimidation) checks.

Frightening Presence. When you use an effect that causes a creature within 60 feet to be frightened, the save DC for that effect increases in 2.

Necro Wind

At 3rd level, on your turn, you can use a bonus action to regain a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your Constitution modifier + your death knight level.

In addition, when you use this feature, you regain one spell slot of your 1st-level. This spell slot goes away if not used within 10 minutes. The level of the spell slot recovered increases to 2nd-level when you reach the 18th level.

Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.

Overwhelming Strength

At 3rd level, your training bequeaths the ability to use your armor to deflect attacks that would kill other people. While wearing medium or heavy armor, you can use your reaction to reduce 1d10 + your Charisma modifier damage from any attack targeted against you.

In addition, your necrotic aura empowers your body. You can use your Charisma modifier as a bonus to all your Strength checks.

Extra Attack

Starting at 5th level, you can attack twice, rather than once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Relentless Fortitude

Starting at 10th level, you gain advantage on a saving throw of your choice. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again.

In addition, you become immune to the frightened condition.

Unholy Weapon Flourish

Starting at 10th level, you may channel your necrotic energy through your rune weapon. When making an attack with your rune weapon, you may add your twice your proficiency bonus to the attack roll.

You can use this feature three times, being unable to do it again until you complete a long rest.

Certainty Of Death

Starting at 15th level, your training within the order has granted you the capabilities of landing killing blows known not to mortals. Your weapon attacks made with your rune weapon score a critical hit on a roll of 19 to 20.

In addition you can roll one additional weapon damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with your rune weapon.

Obliterate

Starting at 18th level, you can expend a spell slot of 2nd-level or higher spell slot to fill your weapon with necrotic energy, in conjunction with an attack action. Until the end of your turn, any successful attack with your Rune Weapon will deal an additional 2d8 necrotic damage. When you expend a spell slot of 3rd-level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 2nd-level.

Death Knight Spell List

Spell List

Cantrips

chill touch, spare the dying, toll the dead[1], necro blast

1st

bane, command, compelled duel, cause fear[2], dissonant whispers, inflict wounds, false life, hex, detect evil and good, searing smite

2nd

blindness/deafness, crown of madness, darkness, gentle repose, hold person, magic weapon, mind spike[3], ray of enfeeblement, shatter


3rd

animate dead, bestow curse, dispel magic, elemental weapon[4], fear, feign death, haste, life transference[5], revivify, speak with dead, vampiric touch

4th

blight, banishment, blight, death ward, staggering smite, shadow of moil[6]

5th

cloudkill, contagion, danse macabre[7], destructive wave, enevartion[8], geas, negative energy flood[9], raise dead

Credit

Thanks to original creators of the Death Knight 5E classes. I borrowed heavily from their work. This version is significantly toned down from the originals, but I hope you find it more functional and easier to play both from a player's and a GM's standpoint.

Multiclassing

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the death knight class, you must meet these prerequisites: Constitution 13, Charisma 13

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


Back to Main Page5e HomebrewClasses

References
  1. D&D 5e XGTE p.169
  2. D&D 5e XGtE p.151
  3. D&D 5e XGtE p.162
  4. D&D 5e PHB p.237
  5. D&D 5e XGtE p.160
  6. D&D 5e XGtE p.164
  7. D&D 5e XGtE p.153
  8. D&D 5e XGtE p.155
  9. D&D 5e XGtE p.163
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