The Darkbane Warders
Hit Die: d10
High Attack Line
Strong Saves: Fort, Will
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor. All simple and martial weapons.
Class Skills: Bluff, Craft, Disguise, Intimidate, Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (Engineering), Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Stealth
Alignment: Typically Evil. Death Knights are compelled by their unholy transformation to cause agony to others, if they go too long without sating that desire it becomes a burning agony within them that they cannot ignore. Combined with the tendancy for living memories to be hazy in the mind of the Death Knight most turn to evil naturally in compliment to their dark power. Some fight the urge and find constructive ways to sate the need to cause pain to others, such as defending good causes on the battlefield, but those who put for such effort are few and far between.
Sidebar: Dark Transformation.
A Death Knight is created by the scourge from powerful fallen warriors, heroes of the war between the living and the undead. Horrible rituals are performed upon the body to raise it as a Death Knight, after which all of the character’s class levels are immediately converted to levels of Death Knight on a one to one basis. Typically a character must be at least level 5 to be even considered by the scourge to become a Death Knight. Mechanicallly a character who is made a Death Knight should be created as a new character modelling after the original. Nothing stops a Death Knight from persuing other classes after his transformation, but he will forever bear the burden of undeath.
1 – Essence of Undeath, Runeblade
2 – Death Coil, Antimagic Shell
3 – Cruelty, Necrotic Aura
4 – Channel Negative Energy, Spellcasting, Dark Talent
5 – Empower Runeblade
6 – Cruelty
7 – Dark Talent
8 – Aura of Despair
9 – Cruelty
10 – Dark Talent
11 – Death and Decay
12 – Cruelty
13 – Dark Talent
14 – Defiling Aura
15 – Cruelty
16 – Dark Talent
17 – Resilience of the Grave
18 – Cruelty
19 – Dark Talent
20 – Undead Champion
Essence of Undeath: Being created as mighty agents of the Scourge, Death Knights are undead creatures with undead traits in addition to their normal racial traits.
Runeblade: Shortly after their dark transformation a Death Knight creates his first runeblade, a magical weapon which acts as a focus for his new powers. Runeblades function as the Wizard’s Bonded Item class feature.
Death Coil: At second level a Death Knight gains the ability to manifest dark energy to harm the living or restore the undead. A number of times per day equal to one half level + Charisma modifier, as a standard action he may fire a death bolt at a living creature within thirty feet, a touch attack that deals 1d6 points of damage for every 2 levels of Death Knight the character has. Alternatively he may use this ability to heal an undead for 1d6 points of health for every 2 levels of Death Knight. If a Death Knight uses this ability on himself, he may do so as a Swift Action rather than a Standard action. A Death Knight may choose any feat that applies to the Paladin’s Lay on Hand ability, such as extra lay on hands, and have it apply to Death Coil instead (in that case providing extra uses of Death Coil).
Antimagic Shell: A Death Knight adds his Charisma modifier to all saving throws.
Cruelty: As the Antipaladin power, affecting the Death Knight’s Death Coil ability.
Necropotent Aura: The Death Knight gains channel resistance +4, and grants channel resistance +2 to all other undead within 10 feet of him. This ability does not function if the Death Knight is destroyed.
Channel Negative Energy: At fourth level a Death Knight may Channel Negative Energy as an Evil Cleric of his level, using this ability requires the expenditure of two uses of his Death Coil ability.
Spellcasting: At fourth level a Death Knight gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, chosen from the Death Knight spell list, with a caster level equal to their level of Death Knight -3. Their spells per level are the same as a Paladin’s.
Dark Talent: Each Death Knight develops a number of unique techniques as they grow more potent in undeath. Starting at fourth level, and every three levels afterward, the Death Knight may choose a Dark Talent ability.
Howling Blast(Sp) – The Death Knight may expend one of his daily uses of Death Coil to create a 30 foot cone of cold that deals his level in d6 damage, reflex save for half. At level 10 the Death Knight may have the cone increase to 60 feet.
Hungering Cold(Sp) – By expending two uses of his Death Coil ability the Death Knight may suddenly sap the heat in a ten foot aura around him, dealing half his level in d6 cold damage and causing victims to make a Fort Save DC 10+1/2 level+Charisma mod or be encased in ice for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier, in which they are effectively paralyzed and unconcious. The ice may be broken prematurely by taking 20 points of damage, but if the character is released this way the cold causes him to be staggered for 1d4 rounds. A successful save negates this effect and halves the ice damage taken. A Death Knight must be at least level 10 and have the Howling Blast Talent to choose this ability.
Summon Servitor(Su) – The Death Knight gains the ability to create a ghoul, zombie, fast zombie, or skeleton to serve him loyally as a companion. This creature uses the base statistics for the creature, but uses the progression of a Druid’s Animal Companion to determine hit dice and benefits, using the Death Knight’s level -3 as his “Druid” level.
Ghoul Frenzy(Sp) – The Death Knight may expend a use of his Death Coil ability to drive undead nearby him into a frenzy, affecting them as if with the spell Haste (being undead, he may target himself with this ability). The Death Knight must have the Summon Servitor Talent to choose this ability.
Unholy Blight(Su) – The Death Knight may call an aura of unholy insects to swarm around him by expending a use of his Death Coil ability as a swift action. This aura deals damage each round as a swarm of the Death Knight’s level to creatures within ten feet (excluding the Death Knight). The swarm lasts a number of rounds equal to the Death Knight’s Charisma modifier before disappating. The swarm can be destroyed, and has a number of hit points equal to twice the Death Knight’s level.
Bone Shield(Sp) – The Death Knight may expend a use of his Death Coil ability as a quick action to conjure a shield of swirling bones around himself, granting a +4 shield bonus to AC. Bone Shield lasts for one minute per level.
Antimagic Zone(Sp) – Once per day the Death Knight may create an Antimagic Zone, as the spell Antimagic Field. A Death Knight must be level 13 before choosing this Dark Talent.
Vampiric Strikes(Su) – When the Death Knight strikes with any slashing or piercing weapon against a foe that is not immune to critical hits he deals an extra 1d6 damage, and gains temporary hit points equal to that damage. This temporary hp may stack up to his level, but does not stack with other temporary hp.
Plaguebringer (Sp) – As a swift action you may expend a use of your Deathcoil ability to charge your weapon with foul power, inflicting the first living creature your weapon deals damage to that round with a disease of your choice as per the Contagion spell, except that the DC of the spell and the disease chosen is 10+ 1/2 level + Charisma modifier. If you do not deal damage with your weapon before the start of your next turn, the power disappates. A Death Knight must be level 7 before choosing this Dark Talent.
Lifestealer (Sp) – As a standard action a Death Knight may imbue his runeblade with the power of undeath, draining levels on hit as a Lifestealer would for one round per level. A Death Knight must be level 10 or higher before choosing this Dark Talent.
Empower Runeblade: At fifth level a Death Knight may empower his runeblade with magic, increasing its magical properties for a short time. At 5th level the power adds a bonus of +1, increasing by +1 for every three levels above five to a maximum of +6 at 20th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon bonusesto a maximum of +5, or they can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: flaming, icy, dancing, defending, keen, speed, unholy, vicious, vorpal, or wounding. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s cost. Duplicate abilities do not stack. A Death Knight may empower his runeblade once per day at 5th level, and an additional time per day for every four levels beyond 5, to a maximum of four times per day at level 17.
Aura of Despair: At 8th level, enemies within 10 feet of a Death Knight suffer a -2 penalty to all saving throws. This penalty does not stack with the penalty from aura of cowardice. This ability does not funciton if the Death Knight is destroyed.
Death and Decay: Once per day at 11th level a Death Knight may create a 20 foot radius of negative energy upon the ground within one hundred feet of himself that lasts for one round. Creatures in the zone are affected as if they had been struck with the Death Knight’s Death Coil ability, as are any creatures who enters the zone or ends its turn in the zone. The Death Knight gains an additional use of this ability every four levels, to a maximum of three times at level 19.
Defiling Aura: At 14th level the Death Knight’s attacks, and any attack within ten feet of him, count as evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. This ability does not function if the Death Knight is destroyed.
Resilience of the Grave: The Death Knight gains DR 5/good and cold resistance 20.
Undead Champion: At 20th level the Death Knight becomes a paragon of undeath. His DR incrases to 10/good. Whenever he deals damage or heals with his Death Coil ability, he deals or heals the maximum possible amount. He becomes immune to cold damage.
1: Bane, Cause Fear, Command, Death Knell, Doom, Inflict Light Wounds, Litany of Sloth, Litany of Weakness, Magic Weapon, Murderous Command, Protection from Good, Read Magic, Death Grip*, Skeletal Steed*, Will of the Necropolis*
2: Bull’s Strength, Command Undead, Desecrate, Darkvision, Darkness, Eagle’s Splendor, False Life, Ghoul Touch, Litany of Defense, Litany of Entanglement, Litany of Warding, Scare, Silence, Vestment of the Champion
3: Animate Dead, Bestow Curse, Burst of Speed, Blade of Dark Triumph, Contagion, Dispel Magic, Defile Armor, Greater Magic Weapon, Halt Undead, Inflict Moderate Wounds, Litany of Escape, Litany of Sight, Magic Circle Against Good, Nondetection, Vampiric Touch
4: Greater Darkvision, Drain Life, Fear, Inflict Serious Wounds, Litany of Madness, Litany of Thunder, Litany of Vengeance, Communal Nondetection, Poison, Resounding Blow, Slay Living, Unholy Sword,