Shadow Knight (5e Class)
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A figure clad in black armor swoops down from the night sky, lashing about in the darkness, slaying an entire band of travelers in moments. Observing the carnage around him, the man slowly fades from view and disappears, his body pulsing with dark energy.
A hulking black Dragonborn stands in the road, surrounded by a group of town guards. As they release a volley of arrows his cloak seems to take on a mind of its own, dancing around him, absorbing the projectiles as they fly. A low chuckle emanates from him as he charges into the fray.
By the dark of night, a lonely Drow watches over a campsite. Muttering to herself, she suddenly convulses, black flame leaping from her mouth and eyes, streaking out to slay the sentries posted to keep someone just like herself away.
These are all Shadow Knights. Changed forever by darkness, these warriors have been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to manipulate the shadows and dark forces of this world to their whim. Some use this power for conquest, others for survival. But all Shadow Knights have one thing in common. They're exceedingly dangerous. That, and they really like the color black. They are generally bound to violence, be it by the will of the entity that created them, or through the lack of understanding of their own unholy power. Paladins beware!
An Exile From Weakness
Most all Shadow Knights derive their power from an unholy or corrupt source. This has led the townsfolk and villagers of their local provinces to reject these powerful warriors from living a life anywhere near the realm of normalcy. However, instead of weakening them, this adversity serves only to strengthen their resolve and lead them to the realization that their power may be a blessing, rather than the curse they may have originally thought. Their forced isolation generally makes Shadow Knights tough, gruff, and unforgiving to those they view as beneath their power. Hardened and honed by years of fighting off enterprising Paladins and goody-two-shoes adventurer types, the only thing more deadly than one of these dark warriors blades is his shadow.
Possessed to Power
The source of a Shadow Knights power could be many things. An evil deity meddling in mortal affairs, a demon set on the loose. a downtrodden warrior, turned to dark magic seeking power. All of these have been responsible for creating Shadow Knights in the past. And though these supernatural forces grant great power to those who wield them, there's always the possibility that the darkness is wielding the warrior. Every day is a struggle for the Shadow Knight to maintain control over his own mind and body, as the forces of shadow and darkness fight to lay claim to what they believe to be rightfully theirs. Every dip into the wellspring of hellish power within them brings the Shadow Knight closer to greatness. And to oblivion.
Creating a Shadow Knight
The most important aspect of a Shadow Knight character is the nature of his or her dark curse/blessing. Are you a lost and confused young villager, just discovering the power bestowed upon them after being forced out of your home by your very own loved ones? Are you a dark warlord, a stalwart conqueror for the forces of evil, crushing all those who dare stand in the way of your terrible might? Or are you a wanderer, having left your home long ago to seek out the source of this strange power that allows you to survive, and help others do the same? Appendix B in the Player's Handbook lists many dark deities that could have given your Shadow Knight their powers (such as Erythnul, Hextor, Iul,Vecna, Takhisis, Chemosh, Hiddukel, Morgion, Sargonnas, Zebuim, Nuitari,and 'especially' The Shadow) and Appendix C of the same lists the planes from which they may draw their energy (such as Acheron, Hades, The Abyss, The Astral Plane, The Negative Plane, and 'especially' The Shadowfell.
How did you gain these great and terrible powers? Did whispers from an unseen god or demon creep into your mind until you finally succumbed to their wishes? Did a passing mage kidnap and experiment on you to further his own dark goals? Or did you one day detonate with power, destroying those you love and forcing you out of your home forever? Perhaps you wandered into an occult ceremony and were tainted from that day forth. Or maybe you knew from as long ago as you can remember that you were different, that everyone else was beneath you and all took was the unlocking of a dark power that was within you all along.
As agents of shadow and darkness, very few shadow knights are of a good alignment. Most walk their own path and make their own rules, shaped only by the past they once left behind. Consider how your curse would color your view of the world and the way you interact with its inhabitants. You may be in control of your powers for now, but will the slow bubbling of insanity eventually boil over and claim you?
As a Shadow Knight you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution.
Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Performance, Persuasion, Intimidation, Deception, Stealth.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) Chain Mail, and a Shield or (b) Hide armor and a Shield
- (a) Any Simple or Martial melee weapon or (b) A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows
- (a) A Light Crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) A shortbow and a quiver of 20 arrows
- (a) An explorer's pack or (b) An adventurer's pack
|1st||+2||3||Shadow Sense, Spellcasting|
|4th||+2||3||Ability Score Improvement|
|8th||+3||4||Ability Score Improvement|
|11th||+4||5||Improved Shadow Smite|
|12th||+4||5||Ability Score Improvement|
|16th||+5||6||Ability Score Improvement|
|19th||+6||7||Ability Score Improvement|
All spells are from 5e Mysteries, Class Features are unique, or taken from the Player Handbook
Spellcasting At 1st level, you begin to learn the simple, yet potent, brand of spellcasting for which shadow knight are known. See chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook for general rules regarding spellcasting and chapter 11 for the wizard spell list.
Cantrips At 1st level, you learn 3 of shadow knight cantrips, listed on the shadow knight spell list bellow. You learn additional cantrips as increase in level, as shown on the class table.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the cantrips you know and replace it with another cantrip from the list bellow:
Spellcasting Ability Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your shadow knight spells, since you learn your spells through the force of your will. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your Charisma ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a shadow knight spell 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
The presence of strong darkness registers on your senses like a cool breeze, and powerful good shines like an unforgiving sun on your brow. As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces. Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity (the vampire Count Strad von Zarovich, for instance). Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell. You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. When you finish a long or short rest, you regain all expended uses.
At 2nd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate in your manipulation of shadows. The archetype you choose grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 9th, 13th, 17th and 20th level.
At 3rd level, you begin to draw sustenance directly from the Plane of Shadow. You now need to eat only one meal per week. Additionally, due to your body now existing fractionally in the Plane of Shadow, you are immune to poison, and the poisoned condition.
Ability Score Increase
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.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the attack action on your turn.
At 7th level you draw stamina from the Plane of Shadow, now requiring only 4 hours of semi-conscious meditation to gain the benefits a human would from 8 hours of sleep.
At 10th level, you adopt a style of fighting as your speciality. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls you make with ranged weapons.
While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting
When you roll a 1, or a 2 on a damage die of an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can re-roll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
- Two-Weapon Fighting
When you engage in Two-Weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack, and you can use any one-handed weapons, provided they do not have the heavy feature.
- Cursed Warrior
You learn two cantrips of your choice from the warlock spell list. They count as shadow knight spells for you, and Charisma is your spellcasting ability for them. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another cantrip from the warlock spell list.
Improved Shadow Smite
By 11th level, shadows and darkness have so consumed you that your melee weapon strikes carry dark power with them. Whenever you hit a creature with a melee weapon, the creature takes an extra 1d8 necrotic damage. If you also use your Shadow Smite with an attack, you add this damage to the extra damage of your Shadow Smite.
At 14th level your connection grants you immunity to all disease, poisons, and the poisoned condition.
Finally, at 18th level you draw nearly all of your biological needs directly from the Plane of Shadow, eliminating entirely the need to eat, sleep, or breath.
Shadow Overlords are shadow knights who learned how to bend the creatures of the Shadowfell to their will, enslaving and controlling such creatures.
- Shadow Servant
When the shadow drops to 0 hit points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form. It reappears when you finish your next long rest.
While your shadow is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. Additionally, as an action, you can see through your shadow's eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the shadow has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses.
As an action, you can temporarily dismiss your shadow, while it is within 5 feet of you. It disappears into your own shadows, where it awaits your summons. Alternatively, you can dismiss it forever. As an action while it is temporarily dismissed, you can cause it to reappear in any unoccupied space within 5 feet of you.
When you cast a spell, you can choose to cast it from your shadow position. Your shadow must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it. If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your action modifier for the roll.
- Master’s Bidding
The shadow servant you gain at 2nd level obeys your commands as best it can. Your servant takes its turn immediately before or after your turn (your choice), and you determine its actions, decisions, attitudes, and so on. If you are incapacitated or absent, your companion acts on its own.
Your servant has abilities and game statistics determined in part by your marshal level. Your servant uses your proficiency bonus rather than its own. Starting at 4th level, the shadow gain one additional hit die, and one more for each level after.
Your servant gains proficiency in skills listed in its statistics. It also gains proficiency with simple weapons, martial weapons, light, medium, or heavy armor if its statistics contain weapons or armor from that category. For each shadow knight level you gain after 2nd, your servant gains an additional hit die and increases its hit points accordingly.
Whenever you gain the Ability Score Improvement class feature, your servant’s abilities also improve. Your servant can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or it can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, your companion can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature unless its description specifies otherwise.
Your servant’s alignment is within one step of you own, and has a personality trait and flaw determined by the GM. Its bond is always, “I will serve my master, dedicating every second of my existence at his service”
You can use your bonus action and expend a hit die so that the shadow servant regains a number of hit points equal to 1d10 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on any creature besides the Shadow Servant.
- Deathly Shadow
At 6th level, your bond with your shadow servant grows, as you become more and more infused with negative energy. You become resistant to necrotic damage.
In addition, when you take the Attack action on your turn, you can choose to forgo one of your attacks to allow the shadow to use its attack. You make this choice for each attack.
- Greater Shadow
At 9th level, by feeding on the Shadow Knight's own shadows, the servant has grown stronger. The shadow gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your level when summoned.
In addition, whenever your shadow creates a now shadow with its Strength Drain attack, you can spend 5 hit die to exert your control over it. You control this shadow as if it was raised by the animate dead spell. The controlled shadow benefits of the temporary hit points of this feature and add your proficiency bonus to their damage rolls. You can't recover this hit die until the shadow is released from your control. These shadows don't gain any of the benefits from your Shadow Servant feature.
- Death's Wings
Starting at 13th level, your body is so used to the effects of the Shadow Plane that it has begun to visibly modify, growing wings of darkness. These wings are black as night, but they have any shape of form you desire. You can create these wings as a bonus action on your turn. They last until you dismiss them as a bonus action on your turn.
Under bright light, your flying speed equal half your current speed; under dim light or darkness, your flying speed equals your movement speed.
- Master Shadow
At 17th level, your bond with the servant grows ever further, until both are almost one entity. If the Shadow Servant is destroyed, it reforms inside your shadow, reappearing after your next short or long rest. You can also decide to spend 1 hit die to bring the shadow servant back with a number of hit points equal to your level in this class.
- Army of Shadows
When you reach the 20th level, you now have absolute control over shadows themselves. As an action, you can summon an army of shadows for yourself. You summon four shadows on a point you can see within 90 feet. A shadow summoned by this feature disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.
The summoned creatures are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions.
In addition, your own shadow servant split into five shadows. In each of your turns, you can move choose to move all shadows, but only one of them can take an action.
This lasts for 1 hour, but you can end earlier as an action. Once you use this feature, you can't do it again until you finish a long rest.
Cursed Blades use swords and shadow magic, smiting enemies with the negative energy drained from the Shadowfell. Strangling enemies with tentacles made of solid darkness and channeling necrotic energy into powerful smites, these warriors are a frightening enemy to the forces of light.
|—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
Starting at 2nd level when you choose this archetype, you have learned to draw on the Shadow Plane to cast spells. You choose your spells from the Cursed Blade Spell List, down bellow.
- Preparing and Casting Spells
- The Shadow Knight table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells. To cast one of your Cursed Blade spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
- You prepare the list of Shadow Knight spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Shadow Knight spell list. When you do so, choose a number of Cursed Blade spells equal to your Charisma modifier + half your Cursed Blade level, rounded down (minimum of one spell).
- The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For example, if you are a 5th-level Shadow Knight, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Charisma of 14, your list of prepared spells can include four spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell Life Fades, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot.
- Casting the spell doesn't remove it from your list of prepared spells. You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of Cursed Blade spells requires time spent in meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
- Shadow Weapon
Starting at the 2nd level you may mystically bind yourself with one weapon that you are proficient with. To do so, you must take a short rest to become one with the weapon. Once you have bonded a weapon to yourself, you can't be disarmed of that weapon unless you are incapacitated. If it is on the same plane of existence, you can summon that weapon as a bonus action on your turn, causing it to teleport instantly to your hand.
You can use your Charisma modifier, instead of your Dexterity and Strength, for your attack and damage rolls with this weapon. In addition, you can choose to either cause the normal damage of the weapon or necrotic damage.
- Shadow Smite
Starting at 6th level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal necrotic damage to the target, in addition to the weapon's damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell-level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is a fey or celestial.
- Shadow Suffocate
At 9th level, you can use your shadows to suffocate your opponent. As an action, choose a target within 30 feet. The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC, or take 3d10 force damage and starts to suffocate. While in this effect, they can only use an action on the start of each of its turns to make a saving throw and try to escape. Afters escaping, the creature can't take reactions until the start of its next turn. You can use this feature once, being unable to do it again util you complete a long rest.
- Shadow Tentacles.
Starting at 13th level, whenever you cast a spell spending spell slots, you can use your bonus action to make an attack with a tentacle made of shadows. Make a melee spell attack against a creature within 30 feet. On a hit, you deal necrotic damage equal to your Charisma modifier.
In addition, you gain one additional use of your Shadow Suffocate feature.
- Shadow Entombment
At 17th level, you can spend a 5th-level spell slot to kill anyone caught into your shadows. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, the creature takes 10d6 necrotic damage, or half as much on a successful one. At the start of your next turn, the creature killed by this feature return as a shadow under your control for the next 24 hours.
Alternatively, you can envelop yourself with the shadows and spend a 5th level spell slot, and gain 10d6 temporary hit points.
- Cursed Ascension
Cursed Blade Spell List