death knights have been around since the first edition the D&D yet not a lot is known about them. Here are facts around these undead creatures.




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When fatality knights to be introduced right into the annals of the Dungeons and also Dragons very first edition manuals, the game's designers experienced an obstacle differentiating these potent melee enemies from liches. It's not difficult to see why.

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Both have accessibility to an effective spellcasting. Both room skeletons who have actually unnaturally expanded their lives. Just around the only obvious difference is that one wields a sword and also wears hefty armor if the various other carries a staff and wears tattered robes. Thankfully, fatality knights have been fleshed out fairly a bit due to the fact that their advent to the game and are now brimming through important, unique differences that make them a good villainous enhancement to any game.

Updated September 19, 2021 by Amanda Hurych: It's never ever too late to encompass a death knight in her D&D campaign. So before you terrify her players by including one of these intimidating undead into a combat encounter, it helps to know whatever you can around them. From exactly how they work in 5th edition come a bit of information about their lore, there is no shortage of trivia about death knights. Read on if you desire to know much more about this challenging foe. Whether you're a DM seeking a TPK or a D&D player prepping for an eventual encounter with the campaign's BBEG, girlfriend can't walk wrong v some extra reading.


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Abyssal is an Exotic Language the most median D&D personalities do not speak (unless they have actually one very interesting backstory). The most usual speakers that Abyssal space demons, and the manuscript for that is Infernal.

Seeing as how death knights are undead paladins that have been twisted by their loss from grace, it renders sense that Abyssal is just one of the language they deserve to speak. If you're planning on consisting of a death knight in a campaign, it's good to know which of your players' characters could attempt to interact with it. (Not that it would perform them much good.)


Dungeons & dragon a female fatality knight v a eco-friendly glow create from her eyes
prior to wasting a spell that deals necrotic or poison damage on a death knight, remember that they are immune to these varieties of damage. Obviously, as an undead creature, death knights probably see necrotic damages like a feather that is being used to chop a block of wood; it's practically useless.

In addition to that, death knights are likewise immune to being exhausted, frightened, or poisoned. If one of your D&D characters relies exclusively on those varieties of damage and also conditions as soon as fighting, they'll be out of luck throughout a combat encounter with a fatality knight in the mix.


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The one part of the death knight stat block that's impossible to miss out on is their hellfire orb ability. Once per day, a fatality knight deserve to use this capability to hurl a fireball that deals 10d6 fire damage and also 10d6 necrotic damage to any opponent unfortunate sufficient to attract his ire.

The coolest part about this ability, besides its campaign-shaking terrible power, is the it's a throwback to the very first edition the the game. While plenty of of the death knight's other devastating magical powers have actually been lost to time in order come widen the gap in between death knights and also liches, this unmatched fireball continues to be as the last vestige of your once-expansive spellcasting.



fatality knights are created when a committed and completed paladin betrays his oaths come his god and dies without ever seeking repentance or atonement. Together punishment because that his or she betrayal, the paladin's god returns their spirit to the people of the living, animates your deceased body, and forces them come roam the land.

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while it may seem favor such a monster has forever shed its way, the punishment of becoming a fatality knight is important a psychological issued indigenous a paladin's god. It's the paladin's last possibility to redeem his soul by righting whatever he wronged in life. Sadly, most fatality knights autumn into despair, curse and forever renounce your god, and also journey down a path of darkness.


Artist Kaijie Huang walk the abhorrent nature of fatality knights justice. The treason a paladin need to commit in bespeak to receive the fatality knight punishment is no little thing; skipping the end on church because that a pair of main isn't quite going to reduced it.

The action a paladin need to take in stimulate to end up being a fatality knight is downright despicable. Some examples encompass things favor murdering someone the paladin loved, ruining one of their god's holy sites, or abandoning a duty the paladin promised to fulfill.


A paladin's weapon works in much the same means that a lich's phylactery does. However, there is one big difference. If a lich's phylactery is its can be fried weakness, a death knight's weapon is its biggest strength.

It's kind of counterintuitive, however there are a pair of factors for this. Firstly, the fatality knight's weapon assaults are empowered by his or her very own soul, adding second 4d8 necrotic damage to every effective strike. Second, when a lich's phylactery is its can be fried weakness due to the fact that it have the right to be broken.


Consequently, the understanding that a fatality knight's soul is save on computer in that weapon isn't really too helpful. Technically, that weapon can be broken. It's just that the death knight can type the weapon whole again through a touch. In other words, the just vulnerable component of the fatality knight's presence is difficult to dismantle. The being said, a death knight's weapon deserve to be stolen.

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A fatality knight without its soul-bonded weapon is filled through deep despair and will avoid at nothing to reclaim it. Anyone various other than the death knight that wields the weapon is infected through the very same feeling. Consequently, a fatality knight's weapon doesn't often remain stolen for long. At the finish of the day, there's only one true method to death a fatality knight.


No issue how numerous times it is beaten down, incinerated, or otherwise demolished, a death knight's body will certainly coalesce right into the human being once again. The one means to be certain that a death knight is turn off forever is with the redemption that its soul.

In other words, one must discover the nature that a fatality knight's initial crime in order to help the long-deceased paladin do amends. The fatality knight does not must be aware that his action redeem his crime; he simply needs to carry them out. To put it an additional way, a death knight that isn't proactively seeking redemption have the right to still it is in coerced or deceived into finding it.


As mentioned previously, most fatality knights watch their cursed go back to the civilization as the last stroke of their god's malfeasance. Rather of seek redemption, they set out to hound the living.

powerful fiends such together Orcus, the demon prince the undeath, are happy come take death knights in together servants the act to the fiend's ends. In a disastrous twist that fate, fatality knights who accept this fiendish uses forsake the redemption of their soul to give purpose to their seemingly infinite undead state.


No matter just how he or she acted in life, a fatality knight is stricken of all worldly joys and pleasures save for one: the companionship that a mount. However, no just any type of ordinary steed will enable an undead abomination to ride it.

fatality knights often find a companion in evil-aligned creatures instead, such as the renowned nightmare. The catoblepas indigenous Volo's guide To Monsters or one especially big hellhound represent some various other options. Whatever destructive beast the chooses together a companion, the deployment the coordinated assault tactics together this monster is the one point that might administer a fatality knight with a emotion close to pleasure.




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despite a death knight's change may dispose of the sunny demeanor he or she had in life, one point they do retain is their commitment to honor. A death knight prefers to stop tactics that incorporate stealth, subterfuge, or unfair odds.

death knights want a same fight, however don't assume that means they will certainly listen come a character's cries for mercy. A death knight's respect lies in the means he fights, not what he does after ~ the opponent's to be defeated.


any type of time a full moon rises, fatality knights room hit through a practically irresistible obsession to sing of your horrifying crime. Together a result, even a fatality knight who wishes to save the special, of how he betrayed his god a an enig will find carrying the end this wish troublesome.

climate again, the death knight might have the ability to solve this difficulty by indiscriminately killing anyone who crosses his course on a full moon. Everyone knows come beware the wolfish howls as soon as the moon shines at full force, yet tread closely toward soothing sounds too. Otherwise, you can just stumble throughout someone whose tune he'd rather have actually you forget.