"Death Knight" is an acquired template that can be added to any evil humanoid creature of 6th level or higher - most often a barbarian, fighter, ranger, or paladin. A death knight retains all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
- CR: Same as the base creature + 3.
- Alignment: Any evil.
- Type: The creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate BAB, saves, or skill ranks.
- Senses: A death knight gains darkvision 60 ft.
- Armor Class: A death knight has a +5 natural armor bonus or the base creature's natural armor bonus, whichever is better.
- Hit Dice: Change all of the creature's racial Hit Dice to d8s. All Hit Dice derived from class levels remain unchanged. As undead, death knights use their Charisma modifiers to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
- Defensive Abilities: A death knight gains DR 15/magic, SR 20 + 1 per character's level beyond 10th, and immunity to cold, electricity, and polymorph (in addition to those granted by its undead traits). The death knight also gains the following defensive ability.
- Turn Immunity (Ex): A death knight cannot be affected by channeled energy. It can be banished with holy word, however, just as if it were an evil outsider. (The banished death knight returns to the realm of the being it serves.)
- Melee Attack: A death knight has a touch attack that it can use once per round as a natural weapon, though it usually prefers to fight using martial weapons. A death knight fighting without weapons uses its natural weapons (if it has any) in addition to its touch attack (which is treated as a primary natural weapon that replaces one claw or slam attack, if the creature has any). A death knight armed with a weapon uses its weapons normally, and can use its touch attack as a secondary natural weapon if it has a free hand.
- Damage: A death knight's touch attack uses negative energy to deal 1d8 + the death knight's Charisma bonus to living creatures. Each successful touch attack also deals 1 point of Constitution damage. A Will save (DC 10 + ½ death knight's HD + death knight's Charisma modifier) reduces the damage by half and negates the Constitution damage.
- Special Abilities: A death knight gains the special ability described below.
- Summon Mount (Su): A death knight has the ability to summon a mount, typically a nightmare, though it may be of any other species normally used as a mount. The mount may have no more Hit Dice than half the death knight's levels. If the mount is lost or killed, the death knight may summon another one after a year and a day.
- Special Attacks: A death knight gains the two special attacks described below. Save DCs are equal to 10 + ½ death knight's HD + death knight's Charisma modifier unless otherwise noted.
- Abyssal Blast (Su): Once per day, a death knight can unleash a blast of eldritch fire. The blast fills a 20-foot-radius spread anywhere within a range of 400 feet + 40 feet per HD of the death knight. The blast deals 1d6 points of damage per HD of the death knight (maximum 206). Half of the damage is fire damage, but the rest results directly from divine power and is therefore not subject to fire resistance or immunity. A Reflex save reduces the damage by half.
- Fear Aura (Su): Death knights are shrouded in a dreadful aura of death and evil. Creatures of less than 5 HD within 15 feet of a death knight must succeed at a Will save or be affected as though by a fear spell cast by a sorcerer of the death knight's level.
- Undead Followers: A death knight attracts lesser undead creatures that happen to exist within a 200-mile radius. It may have up to twice its levels in Hit Dice of followers. The followers arrive monthly in the following increments: 1d6 ghouls, 1d4 ghasts, 1d12 medium skeletons, 1d4 wights, or 1d8 medium zombies once per week. These creatures remain in the service of the death knight until destroyed. These creatures are in addition to any undead creatures the death knight might be able to command or rebuke as a class ability.
- Abilities: Str +4, Wis +2, Cha +2. Being undead, a death knight has no Constitution score.
Death Knight Lore
|15||This creature is a death knight, an undead being that was once an honorable knight. This result reveals all undead traits.|
|20||A death knight can unleash a massive blast of unholy flame against its enemies. In combat, they prefer to strike with martial weaponry, ofttimes enchanted.|
|25||Death knights are immune to the channeled energy of priests, and are surrounded at all times by an aura that strikes terror in the hearts of the weak.|
- Monster Manual II, pp.207-209