Black Knight (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||What has service to Moradin brought you? A lifetime of suffering, enslavement to the thankless masses and no reward to show for it. Your reward lies waiting in the hereafter? Ha! I am rewarded now and forever, be it master of the mortal world or as champion at the side of my dark lord. Abandon your ways and join me, unless you prefer I do you a favor and send you to your "just reward" now...||”|
|—Duke Basalt, Dwarven Black Knight, Battle of the Black Tower|
The gods of good employ paladins into their service to act as their hand in promoting good and law, but they are not alone in their cause. The gods of evil also have their champions, driven not by devotion, honor, and altruism but by self-interest, hatred, revenge, and darker base desires. These black knights have been granted divine blessing to indulge in evil desires at the expense of others and being sorrow unto the world. In greatest irony, the mightiest black knights come not from normal stock but from fallen paladins, for in their fall their betrayal of former alliances is sweetest to the powers that be.
Becoming a Black Knight
|Base Attack Bonus:||+6.|
|Skills:||Intimidate 5 ranks, Knowledge Religion 2 ranks.|
|Feats:||Martial Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Focus.|
|Special:||The character must have made peaceful contact with an evil outsider, must speak either abyssal or infernal.|
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Aura of Evil, Detect Good, Icon of Sin, Smite Good 1/encounter||0||—||—||—|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Aura of Despair, Smite Good 2/encounter||1||0||—||—|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Draining Hands, Phantom Steed||1||1||—||—|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Fiendish Summons, Smite Good 3/encounter||1||1||0||—|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Smite Good 4/encounter||2||1||1||0|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||Smite Good 5/encounter||2||2||1||1|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Fiendish Companion, Vile Soul||2||2||2||1|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level.
|11th||Smite Good 6/encounter|
|13th||Smite Good 7/encounter|
|15th||Smite Good 8/encounter|
|17th||Smite Good 9/encounter|
|19th||Smite Good 10/encounter|
All of the following are class features of the Black Knight.
Spells: To cast a particular spell, you must have an Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell's level. Your bonus spells are based on your Charisma. Saves to avoid the effects of your spells have a DC of 10 + the spell's level + your Cha bonus (if any).
Icon of Sin: A black knight is marked with an evil brand according to the sin which lead to his downfall or most embodies them. The mark is invisible to all but evil outsiders and the detect evil spell. Besides marking the black knight of one of the servants of darkness, he gains benefits from the associated sin. Choose from the selection below.
Abandoning the Unworthy (Ex): Others do not deserve your kindness. Any black knight spells you cast upon yourself are automatically extended without raising the spell level. In addition when you make a smite attempt you may make a free trip attempt to knock them prone without provoking an attack of opportunity. You do not receive a bonus attack unless you also have Improved Trip.
Consumed By Hate (Ex): Something snapped, and now you have a deep hate of others. Your smite now applies to everything regardless of alignment. In addition you can choose two alignments or types (as per the ranger's favorite enemy). If a creature fits into one or both of those categories, it takes 3 points of damage per class level.
Desire for Oblivion (Ex): Everything means nothing, you have to show everyone how worthless everything is. As a move action you may consume a smite attempt to duplicate the effects of heart of a champion. Unlike normal uses of smite, this consumes the use of smite for the rest of the day. In addition, when you use your smite on others it gains a disintegrating effect that reduces those it kills to ash and destroys force effects, and deals 3 points of damage per level instead of 1.
Eye of Madness (Ex): You've seen some things, and nothing makes sense anymore. Better kill everyone. You become immune to charm and compulsion effects and your mind proves dangerous to anyone attempting to hit you with a mind-affecting effect. Creatures who try must make a Will save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Cha or be afflicted by confusion with a caster level equal to your character level. Creatures hit by your smite attack must also make this save vs confusion, though no more than once per round regardless how many smites you have used.
Godforsaken Soul (Ex): The gods have abandoned you, and so you will abandon the gods. You gain SR 10 + HD against any divine spells. In addition your smite now works on all divine casters, dealing 3 points of damage per class level if they are both a divine caster and good aligned.
Prince of Lies (Ex): Sometimes you need to bend the truth to get your way. You add the following spells to your class spell list- charm person at 1st level, charm monster at 2nd level, mass charm person at 3rd level, and mass charm monster at 4th level, and when you gain access to each spell level you gain the use of each as a spell-like ability 1/day. You add 1/2 your class level to your Bluff, Diplomacy, and Use Magic Device skills, and Use Magic Device becomes a class skill.
Scion of Suffering (Ex): Some people just want to see the world burn. You are immune to pain and subsequently any effects reliant on pain (such as symbol of pain), and all your attacks deal an additional 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from your painful blows. When you make a smite attempt creatures must make a Fortitude save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Cha or be wracked with pain, taking a -4 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks for 1 round/level.
Tyrannical Justice (Ex): How can there be justice in the world if you do not force it on them? You gain an aura of fear out to 10 ft., causing any opponents who fail a Will save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Cha to be shaken for 1 round/level, save negates. Those which save are immune to it for 24 hours. In addition when you make a smite attempt the opponent must make a Will save (same DC as the fear aura) or fall under the effects of dominate monster for 1 round. You may give it a command it can complete in its next turn as a free action.
Uncaring Consumption (Ex): Life exists to make you feel good, no matter the costs. You gain a draining aura out to 10 ft. which consumes 1 hp a round, and heals you for 1 hp a round (regardless how many creatures were drained). The aura can be toggled as a free action once per round on your turn. In addition when you make a smite attack, the extra smite damage is absorbed as healing.
Smite Good (Su): Once per encounter, a black knight may attempt to smite good a part of a normal melee attack. He adds his Charisma modifier (if positive) to his attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per class level. If a black knight accidentally smites a creature that is not good, the smite has no effect but it is still used up for that day. He gains an additional use of smite good every odd level. If the black knight had smite evil previously, he may convert any uses of smite evil to smite good. In addition any smites that were previously per day become per encounter instead.
Aura of Despair (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, the black knight radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of him to take a -2 penalty on all saving throws.
Draining Hands (Su): At 4th level, the black knight can draw out the life force in others, perverting the paladin ability of lay on hands. A black knight with a Charisma score of 12 or higher can cause wounds by touch, healing himself in the process. Each day he can drain a total number of hit points of damage equal to her 3x his black knight level × his Charisma bonus. A black knight may choose to divide his draining among multiple recipients, and he doesn’t have to use it all at once. Draining hands cannot reduce a creature to below 1 hp and no more than 5 per character level at any one time. Using draining hands is a standard action. Draining hands has no effect on the undead.
Fiendish Summons (Sp): At 5th level, the black knight can summon a unique imp or quasit at will as a 1 round action, often to commune with dark spirits. The summoned creature acts like a summon monster spell with a duration of 1 hour and possess hit points equal to half the black knight's. If used for combat and slain, the creature cannot be summoned again until 24 hours have passed. Once per week, the black knight can duplicate the effects of a commune spell, drawing on the fiend for dark insight. Your caster level is equal to your character level.
Cursed Tongue (Su): At 6th level, the black knight can curse others with a vile word. He can use bestow curse as a supernatural ability out to a range of 60 ft at will, although a successful save will render the target immune for 24 hours from this ability. In addition if the black knight dies, as an immediate action he may make a curse against his killer with unlimited range and a +5 bonus on the DC. The latter version is more difficult to remove, requiring limited wish or greater to remove, or the completion of some vile task of the black knight's choosing, and is unaffected if they had saved against Cursed Tongue previously. The DC is 10 + 1/2 HD + Cha, save negates.
Soul Eater (Su): At 8th level, the black knight can rip the souls of of his defeated enemies. When a black knight kills an opponent, he absorbs his soul. A black knight can hold onto a single soul at a time. He can choose to use the soul as he sees fit (selling it, using it in a magic item, and so forth), he could devour it and heal 1 hp per HD of the absorbed creature as a swift action, expel the soul and let it free as a free action, or bind it to an item in a ritual that lasts 10 minutes. If he binds a soul to an item or he still is holding the soul and has not done anything with it, the creature cannot be resurrected until the item holding the soul is broken. The item must be something the black knight can hold. Through this way, a black knight can save souls for later, or hold a soul hostage. Crystals tend to be popular items as vessels to prevent souls from moving on. A soul that has been devoured can be resurrected, though revived creatures suffer a -2 morale penalty to attacks and saves for 24 hours after their return due to the traumatic experience.
Fiendish Companion: At 10th level, the black knight has earned the service of dark beings, rising in the ranks of evil. He obtains a cohort out of any evil outsider, though this cohort can’t have more Hit Dice than the black knight has, and must have an ECL no higher than the black knight’s character level -4.
Vile Soul: At 10th level, the black knight is forever damned to the darkness. He becomes an outsider with the evil subtype, gaining DR 10/good, immunity to vile damageBoVD, and immunity to any negative environmental effects of the lower planes. Any weapon he wields gains the Unholy enhancement (which stacks with the actual Unholy enhancement). At will they may use plane shift to and from the material plane and to any lower plane (willing creatures only). The smite attacks of a black knight now deal vile damage, making healing from the wounds particularly difficult.
The epic black knight gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic black knight feats) at 12th and every 4 levels after.
Epic Black Knight Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Toughness, Extended Life Span, Fast Healing, Great Charisma, Great Constitution, Great Smiting, Great Strength, Great Wisdom, Improved Aura of Despair, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Legendary Commander, Legendary Prowess, Legendary Rider, Negative Energy Burst, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Health, Permanent Emanation, Planar Turning, Severing Strike, Spell Stowaway, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Tenacious Magic, Undead Mastery, Unholy Strike, Widen Aura of Despair, and Zone of Animation.
Black knights who have levels in the paladin class (that is to say, are now ex-paladins) gain extra abilities the more levels of paladin they have. A fallen paladin who becomes a black knight can trade in paladin levels for black knight levels on a 1 for 1 basis, though they must always retain at least one level of ex-paladin. In addition if the ex-paladin had the following paladin class abilities when they converted, they regain use of them in an altered state as shown below:
Smite Evil: Smite evil attempts become additional uses of smite good.
Divine Health: Black knights lose this and gain immunity to poison.
Turn Undead: Turn Undead becomes Rebuke Undead.
Spells: Add your paladin spells per day to your black knight spells per day. In addition both your paladin and black knight levels count to your caster level for black knight spells.
Special Mount: Black knight's phantom steed can now fight as a normal horse and gain the paladin's special mount benefits. Instead of bonus HD, it gains 15 extra hp per HD it would normally be granted.
Remove Disease: Remove disease becomes spell-like castings of contagion, and may be used per day instead of per week.
The character level of the character does not change. Ex-paladin levels count as blackguard levels for any level dependent benefits (including caster level).
A black knight who abandons his principles will find it hard to be accepted by anyone else, especially if they were once a paladin. An black knight which ceases to be of evil alignment cannot level in the class, and loses their aura of evil, detect good, smite good, dark blessing, aura of despair, draining hands, fiendish summons, and soul eater abilities. Their fiendish companion breaks free from their sway and will usually attack the former black knight. Any regained paladin abilities are also once again lost as normal.
Playing a Black Knight
Combat: A black knight is a melee gish, able to buff with dark magics and wade into combat with their blade. They're not limited to merely being armored knights of evil, but many are as they are born from paladins with corrupted hearts.
Advancement: Classes which advance paladin abilities can easily be modified to advance black knights. Others may with to dip into other martial focused means.
Resources: Black knights are shunned by any former paladins and rarely have friends, yet they do grow in power with their charisma and brutally effective fear tactics. As such, it's not uncommon for black knights to have allies; they are just rarely willing, or as corrupt themselves.
Black Knights in the World
|“||By the glare of The Burning Hate, I shall smite your kind from this earth!||”|
|—Grelod Darksun, Drow Black Knight|
NPC Reactions: Flee, flee in terror! The black knight comes to town, bringing suffering and malice in his wake! NPCs would oppose the black knight, if it didn't mean certain death on a pike. What hero will save them?
Black Knight Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge Religion can research black knights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Black knights are anti-paladins serving dark masters. They take the powers of a paladin and twist them to vile means.|
|15||Black knights associated with fiendish powers, and can rip the life force out of your body with a touch.|
|20||Powerful black knights don't even seem human anymore, their attacks burning and festering and those who perish having their souls ripped from their body. He even employs fiends as underlings.|
|30||Those that reach this level of success can research specific black knights, their whereabouts, deeds, motives, and notable aspects about them.|
Black Knights in the Game
Adaptation: The black knight is intended to replace the blackguard and anything which works with that class is suitable for working with the black knight.
Sample Encounter: The black knight Grelod has brought a war party of drow against nearby surface elves, driven by a desire to slay all surface life in the eyes of her lord, the hateful sun god known as the Burning Hate.
EL 15: PENDING.
|Allowed Alignments||Lawful Evil +, Neutral Evil + and Chaotic Evil +|
|Article Balance||Very High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Good +|
|Class Ability||Prepared Spellcasting + and Divine Spellcasting +|
|Class Ability Progression||Separate +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Good +|
|Identifier||3.5e Prestige Class +|
|Minimum Level||6 +|
|Rated By||Leziad +|
|Rating||Rating Pending +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Poor +|
|Skill||Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Diplomacy +, Forgery +, Gather Information +, Handle Animal +, Heal +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Profession +, Ride +, Sense Motive +, Spellcraft +, Spot + and Swim +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||A re-vamped take on the Blackguard class, granting dark powers to fallen paladins and criminals everywhere. +|
|Title||Black Knight +|
|Will Save Progression||Poor +|