“Death knight” is an acquired template that can be applied to any lawful humanoid or monstrous humanoid with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A death knight retains all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2
Senses: A death knight gains darkvision 60 ft.
Aura: A death knight emanates the following aura.
Creatures of less than 5 HD in a 10-foot radius that look at the death knight must succeed on a Will save or become frightened. Creatures with 5 HD or more must succeed at a Will save or be shaken for a number of rounds equal to the death knight’s Hit Dice. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same death knight’s aura for one day. This is a mind-affecting fear effect and is Charisma-based.
Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor improves by +4.
Defensive Abilities: A death knight gains channel resistance +4, damage reduction 15/bludgeoning and magic, spell resistance equal to 15 + the death knight’s adjusted CR, and immunity to cold and electricity (in addition to those granted by its undead traits).
Special Attacks: A death knight gains the special attacks described below. Saving throw DCs are Charisma-based unless otherwise noted.
A death knight can, as a standard action, attempt to control an undead creature within 60 feet. The undead must succeed on a Will save or fall under command of the death knight. For unintelligent undead, this command is permanent. Intelligent undead can make a new save once a week to break the control. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same death knight’s command undead for one day. A death knight may control a number of undead whose Hit Dice total no more than twice the death knight’s own Hit Dice. It can release commanded undead at any time in order to command another undead. A death knight cannot command an undead that’s Hit Dice is higher than its own.
A death knight can channel negative energy through its weapon. A number of times per day equal to 3 + its Charisma modifier, a death knight can deal extra damage on a successful weapon attack. This damage is negative energy damage and is equal to1d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points of damage for every two Hit Dice the death knight has beyond the first (2d6 at 3rd, 3d6 at 5th, and so on). A successful Will save reduces the damage by half.
At will—darkness, desecrate, detect good, detect magic, see invisibility;
Special Qualities: A death knight gains the following special quality.
A death knight loses the base creature’s special mount (if it had one) and gains the service of an undead mount (see undead mount below for statistics). A death knight of 10th level or higher gains the service of a grave mount (see grave mount below) instead. If a death knight’s mount is destroyed, it can summon a new one after one week.
Skills: Death knights gain a +8 racial bonus to Intimidate and Perception checks. A death knight always treats Intimidate and Perception as class skills. Otherwise, skills are the same as the base creature.
Feats: Death knights gain Toughness as a bonus feat.
A death knight of 9th level or less gains the service of an undead mount. If this mount is destroyed, the death knight can summon a new one after one week.
Speed 50 ft.
Str 21, Dex 19, Con —, Int 2, Wis 17, Cha 13
A death knight of 10th level or higher gains the service of a grave mount.
This eerie black warhorse is rotting and decaying; its skeleton exposed in many places across its body. Its eyes burn red and its jet black mane is falling out in clumps.
Str 18, Dex 15, Con —, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 13
The grave mount is the insult to all that is good and holy when a paladin’s steed is returned from the dead to wreak havoc upon the world.
These undead creatures are rare and usually created when a death knight rises from the grave to ride the steed he owned in his former life, though a few necromancers are also able to raise a grave mount given time and study.
Grave mounts stand 5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds.
A grave mount begins combat by using its breath weapon. Once engaged in melee, it uses its hooves and bite attack to battle its opponents.
The Tome of Horrors IV, Copyright 2013, Frog God Games, LLC; Authors: Erica Balsley, Casey Christofferson, Jim Collura, Lance Hawvermale, Patrick Lawinger, Phillip Larwood, Greg A. Vaughan, and Bill Webb, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.