Bestiary‎ > ‎(Bestiary) By Type‎ > ‎Templates‎ > ‎

Death Knight (CR +2)

Creating a Death Knight

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.

Special Note: A paladin that rises as a death knight trades its paladin class levels for anti-paladin class levels on a one-for-one basis.

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2

Alignment: A death knight is always lawful evil, unless it was a paladin before its transformation. Death knights who were paladins in life return as depraved monsters, and are always chaotic evil.

Type: The creature’s type changes to undead, and it gains the augmented subtype. Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, saves, or skill ranks.

Senses: A death knight gains darkvision 60 ft.

Aura: A death knight emanates the following aura.

Fear Aura (Su)

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.

Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, a death knight uses its Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).

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.

Command Undead (Su)

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.

Infuse Weapon (Su)

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.

Spell-Like Abilities

At willdarkness, desecrate, detect good, detect magic, see invisibility;
1/dayanimate dead, blasphemy, protection from good, plus the death knight’s choice of symbol of pain or symbol of fear, to be selected when the template is applied. The death knight’s caster level is equal to its total Hit Dice.

Special Qualities: A death knight gains the following special quality.

Undead Mount (Su)

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.

Ability Scores: A death knight gains +4 Strength, +2 Wisdom, and +4 Charisma. As an undead creature, a death knight has no Constitution score.

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.

Undead Mount CR 2

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.

XP 600
N Large undead
Init +8; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +9


AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+2 armor, +4 Dex, +4 natural, –1 size)
hp 27 (5d8+5)
Fort +9; Ref +8; Will +4
Defensive Abilities evasion; Immune undead traits


Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +7 (1d4+5), 2 hooves +2 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.


Str 21, Dex 19, Con —, Int 2, Wis 17, Cha 13
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 23 (27 vs. trip)
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Endurance, Improved Initiative, RunB
Skills Intimidate +5, Perception +9
SQ link, tricks (combat trained; attack, come, defend, down, guard, heel, stay, seek)


Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure none (leather barding)

Grave Mount CR 4

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.

XP 1,200
LE Large undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +10
Aura frightful presence (30 ft., DC 14)


AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+2 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort +3; Ref +4; Will +6
DR 10/magic; Immune undead traits


Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +7 (1d8+4 plus bleed), 2 hooves +5 (1d8+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d4), breath weapon (30-ft. cone, DC 14 Fort, tomb fever, usable 3/day)


Str 18, Dex 15, Con —, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +9; CMD 21 (25 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Run
Skills Bluff +7, Intimidate +10, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +7
Languages Common (can’t speak)


Disease (Su)

Tomb Fever—inhaled; save DC 14 Fort, onset 1d6 days, frequency 1/day, effect 1d4 Dex damage and 1d4 Con damage, cure 2 consecutive saves. The DC is Charisma-based.


Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure none

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.