Author Topic: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight  (Read 645 times)

ASymphony

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New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:18:46 PM »
When looking through creature templates, I came across the Death Knight, which, at least to me, seems both very fitting thematically for the server as well as not too tricky to implement, at least going by my (admittedly limited) knowledge:

Quote
Creating A Death Knight
"Death knight" is a template that can be added to any evil humanoid creature of 6th level or higher (referred to hereafter as the character). The character's type changes to undead. It uses all the character's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice: All the character's Hit Dice (current and future) become d12s.

Speed: Same as the character.

AC: The death knight has +5 natural armor, or the character's natural armor, whichever is better.

Attacks: Death knights usually fight with martial weapons, but if disarmed they will use a touch attack.

Damage: The death knight's touch attack uses negative energy to deal damage equal to 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 + 1/2 death knight's HD + death knight's Charisma modifier) reduces the damage by half and negates the Constitution damage. Characters with natural attacks can use their natural weaponry or use the touch attack, as they prefer.

Special Attacks: A death knight retains all the character's special attacks and gains those described below.

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 20d6). Half of the damage is fire damage, but the rest results directly from divine power and is therefore not subject to being reduced by protection from elements (fire), fire shield (chill shield), or similar magic. A Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 death knight's HD + death knight's Charisma modifier) 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 (DC 10 + 1/2 death knight's HD + death knight's Charisma modifier) 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.

Spells: A death knight can cast any spells it could while alive, unless alignment restrictions prohibit the casting of a particular spell.

Special Qualities: A death knight retains all the character's special qualities and gains those described below.

Damage Reduction (Su): A death knight's undead body is tough, giving the creature damage reduction 15/+1.

Immunities (Ex): Death knights are immune to cold, electricity, and polymorph in addition to those immunities possessed by undead (see undead traits, below).

Spell Resistance (Su): A death knight gains spell resistance 20 + 1 per character's level beyond 10th.

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.

Turn Immunity (Ex): A death knight cannot be turned. It can be banished with holy word, however, just as if it were an evil outsider. (The banished death knight returns to the plane of the evil god it serves.)

Undead Traits: A death knight is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, or death from massive damage. A death knight cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. The creature has darkvision (60-foot range).

Saves: Same as character.

Abilities: A death knight gains +4 to Strength and +2 to both Wisdom and Charisma. Being undead, it has no Constitution score.

Skills: Same as character.

Feats: Same as character.

Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground.

Organization: Solitary or troupe (see undead followers, above).

Challenge Rating: Same as character +3.

Treasure: Double standard.

Alignment: Same as character (always evil).

Advancement: Death knights continue to advance in level as per their original class.

http://www.realmshelps.net/monsters/templates/deathknight.shtml

Iridni Ren

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 05:16:04 PM »
I like it 😀

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aprogressivist

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 05:21:02 PM »
+1
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Revenant

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 06:44:57 PM »
The only thing that looks particularly unfeasible is the cohorts, but that could easily be reigned in for the sake of the module.
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aprogressivist

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2018, 06:57:18 PM »
The only thing that looks particularly unfeasible is the cohorts, but that could easily be reigned in for the sake of the module.

Plus it could be easily replaced by the Mummy's ability to command lesser undead, which is already working...
“Moral wounds have this peculiarity - they may be hidden, but they never close; always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

BraveSirRobin

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 04:06:56 AM »
I like it.

FlyingLotus

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 04:13:55 AM »
Disgusting...





I also like it!
Eilithar Cael'aera | Eowaril | Kiiren Josivir | Rowan Tallstag | Baelavain Auvreaneldth | Alister Sigethurn | Luca Cardei

BraveSirRobin

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2018, 04:53:29 AM »
It'd make one hell of a Cleric or Blackguard.

PrimetheGrime

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2018, 12:17:02 PM »
+1

Razzen

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2018, 09:20:41 AM »
I like the concept at least.

A minor Glamour

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2018, 12:48:14 PM »
Love it.

MAB77

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2018, 04:08:11 PM »
Death knights are awesome. They are deadly, twisted fell creatures whose stories are worthy of gothic drama. Supremely fitting as antagonists. I have no doubt whatsoever good stories can be told about them. But...

A very unique and exceedingly rare set of circumstances which usually occurs only several genarations apart is required to give rise to such monster. The DMs would have to be very careful to who, and how often, that AMPC would be granted. And that alone can be a source of problem on multiple levels. It should be so rare that I just feel it might be best to left them in DMs hands.

I am not agaisnt it, just very cautious. In the meantime, blackguard ancient dead can be forces to be reckoned with as well.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 04:10:56 PM by MAB77 »
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ASymphony

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2018, 05:55:40 PM »
I mean, at least by 3rd ed lore I wouldn't say its necessarily that rare, maybe not as common as some of our other templates, but else... But well, that being said, that is what we have the application process for, after all!

Iridni Ren

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2018, 06:26:48 PM »
A very unique and exceedingly rare set of circumstances which usually occurs only several genarations apart is required to give rise to such monster. The DMs would have to be very careful to who, and how often, that AMPC would be granted. And that alone can be a source of problem on multiple levels. It should be so rare that I just feel it might be best to left them in DMs hands.

In the Demiplanes of Dread it need not be so rare. Soth is a Death Knight, right?

From Wikipedia: The most famous of all death knights is Lord Soth, a disgraced Knight of Solamnia, from the Dragonlance and Ravenloft campaign settings. Loren Soth was cursed after he murdered his wife and child and failed to prevent the Cataclysm. He is attended by the skeleton warriors of his fallen troops...

In any event, having a greater variety of monstrous templates would make it easier to avoid running any of them into the ground and their becoming routine.

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BraveSirRobin

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 03:21:26 AM »
Death knights are awesome. They are deadly, twisted fell creatures whose stories are worthy of gothic drama. Supremely fitting as antagonists. I have no doubt whatsoever good stories can be told about them. But...

A very unique and exceedingly rare set of circumstances which usually occurs only several genarations apart is required to give rise to such monster. The DMs would have to be very careful to who, and how often, that AMPC would be granted. And that alone can be a source of problem on multiple levels. It should be so rare that I just feel it might be best to left them in DMs hands.

I am not agaisnt it, just very cautious. In the meantime, blackguard ancient dead can be forces to be reckoned with as well.


To give a counter-point to this, Death Knights are not immortal, either, unlike Vampires (effectively) which makes them far less desirable to play, like Lycanthropes or Mummies. The majority of AMPCs on the server are still going to be, and always will be Vampires, primarily situated in Barovia. If I saw a Death Knight as frequently as I see someone trying to survive as a Were-something, I wouldn't have my immersion bothered at all. Mummies are similarly rare, in comparison, beings that would have had to die hundreds of years beforehand in the lore, only to rise in response to certain events or stimuli.

Jeebs

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2018, 10:25:09 PM »
A very unique and exceedingly rare set of circumstances which usually occurs only several genarations apart is required to give rise to such monster. The DMs would have to be very careful to who, and how often, that AMPC would be granted. And that alone can be a source of problem on multiple levels. It should be so rare that I just feel it might be best to left them in DMs hands.

In the Demiplanes of Dread it need not be so rare. Soth is a Death Knight, right?

From Wikipedia: The most famous of all death knights is Lord Soth, a disgraced Knight of Solamnia, from the Dragonlance and Ravenloft campaign settings. Loren Soth was cursed after he murdered his wife and child and failed to prevent the Cataclysm. He is attended by the skeleton warriors of his fallen troops...

Soth became a death knight before he was ever brought to the demi-plane... also, if you read the description he became one for essentially failing to prevent THE Cataclysm. An event that literally reshaped the world of Krynn (or at the very least the continent of Ansalon). From what I recall, he was tasked by the gods with a mission to prevent this from happening and instead he not only chose to indulge his lust for an elven maiden, but murdered his wife and child.

I don't know specifically if it would be harder/easier to become a death knight in the demiplane. Logically you would think that such a dark and evil place would make these things more likely. I'm mostly pointing out that this wasn't a good example to support your point.

EDIT: I suppose your point was that the mists could bring them in... I've had a long day and my brain isn't running at its normal efficiency.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 10:35:09 PM by Jeebs »

Iridni Ren

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2018, 11:14:41 PM »

I don't know specifically if it would be harder/easier to become a death knight in the demiplane. Logically you would think that such a dark and evil place would make these things more likely. I'm mostly pointing out that this wasn't a good example to support your point.

EDIT: I suppose your point was that the mists could bring them in... I've had a long day and my brain isn't running at its normal efficiency.

In general my point was that undead of all kinds are exceptionally common here, but in the specific I wasn't referring to Lord Soth himself (because he's a unique being).

ETA: I did consider the possibility that his loyal retainers might also be death knights--i.e., increasing the likelihood of one being about--but in looking into it more deeply I see that they are only skeletal knights in some sources and other beings in other sources.

http://www.dlnexus.com/fan/Rules/12744.aspx

« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 11:28:53 PM by Iridni Ren »

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MAB77

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2018, 12:09:38 AM »

To give a counter-point to this, Death Knights are not immortal, either [...]

Quote from: D&D 5 Monter Manual
Immortal Until Redeemed. A death knight can arise anew even after it has been destroyed. Only when it atones for a life of wickedness or finds redemption can it finally escape its undead purgatory and truly perish.

But your off the hook, it's a 5e rule, not 3.5.  :mrgreen:

Still they should be as rare as a roc teeth.
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Iridni Ren

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2018, 01:18:02 AM »
Still they should be as rare as a roc teeth.

Why?

Should they be rarer, for example, than bodaks, which pop up with common regularity in Barovia?

According to the description:

Quote
A bodak is a human who was changed to a monster after venturing somewhere upon the Abyssal Planes where mortals were not meant to be. The evil of the human's nature, and the exposure to demonic substances triggered a terrible metamorphosis from man to bodak.

Bodaks are very rare because they remain upon the Abyssal Planes except when called into service by some evil or foolish magic-user.

3.5:

Quote
Bodaks are the undead remnants of humanoids who have been destroyed by the the touch of absolute evil.

How often do humans get "destroyed by the touch of absolute evil"?

To be sure, I'm not arguing that DMs should approve the AMPC willy-nilly. But I don't find the argument that the rare circumstances of their creation would preclude their ever appearing in Ravenloft. Applying such a rule as a principle to the server would make it a pretty homogeneous and flat world.

After all, why, for example, are there tombs packed to the bulging with Ancient Mummy Lords?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 01:20:37 AM by Iridni Ren »

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MAB77

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2018, 06:43:41 AM »
Bodaks can make other bodaks, or anyway dying by one's gaze is supposed to make you raise as one.
Creating a mummy is a known process that can be replicated by mortals, as is making dread golems.
Vampires can willingly pass on their curse.
Wight, Wraiths, make other of their kind by draining the livings etc.

Death Knights don't make other Death knights. Only the gods/dark powers can make them and that is extremely rare. Death knights are on a different level altogether.

A skeletal knight template would probably be more appropriate for AMPC options. I will reiterate too that an Ancient Dead/Black Guard can already make a terrific villain filling somewhat the same niche as a Death Knigh.

I will repeat here that I clearly said I was not against it, just cautious. Death Knights are supposed to be very special and I don't want to see them lose that luster. I would not object maybe to a series of "epic AMPCs" that would include things like Death Knights, Liches, Arak Sith, etc. They would occasionally be played by players whom have completed what is considered as 3 successful AMPC runs. No more than 1 epic AMPC could be run at any given time, and once you made one you'd have to make another 3 run of regular AMPCs before applying for one, and never during NCE. That'd keep them suitably rare I think. But that is something to be discussed on the dev side.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 06:45:43 AM by MAB77 »
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Nemesis 24

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2018, 08:27:32 AM »
Popping in with my tarnished two cents here, I'd just like to make a note of my immediate interest at the idea of 'epic AMPC's.'  Traditionally, this role would be something we'd normally see belonging to the DM's, with creating extremely powerful foes, or using ones available from the many big nasties that Ravenloft has to offer.  However, they 'are' a lot of work, and mucking about with story centric enemies isn't something that is done easily or lightly, hence we've seen a dearth of activity on them (at least outside of NCE's) for quite a few years now. 

We have however seen some of our more trusted community members create fantastic stories and experiences with stronger than average AMPC's, with higher than usual levels.  I won't call out names because its unbecoming, but in the instances I know of it happening I wholeheartedly approved of it.  It worked.  It created some significant challenges and strong storylines, and not least because these were and are great players.

There are certainly 'tiers' of AMPC.  Not simply in what the template offers, but also what levels it might have, which in turn can dictate how strong it actually is with all the spells and such available.  Those 'tiers' as they were can certainly create some very interesting possibilities, but a lot of it comes down to what is frankly already in place - the discretion of the CC and DM team to approve it, and that is based upon the judgement they have of the player involved.  Some of us aren't quite there for this extra power for the creation of story - but precedent shows we 'do' have exceptional and trustworthy individuals who are rightly given a bit of extra kick, and its paid off time and again.

At present, if you were to look at the power (and the correlating level of responsiblity of use to go with it I would rank it something vaguely like this - keeping in mind NCE AMPC's start at lvl 7, and outside of that they start at lvl 13.

Tier 1 - NCE AMPCs,
Tier 2 -Ghoul, Wight, Wererat, Werewolf
Tier 3 - Mummy, lvl 15 tier 2 AMPC, vampire
Tier 4 - Revenant, Wereraven, lvl 16 - 18 tier 2/3 AMPC
Tier 5 - lvl 20 AMPC, Theoretical Epic Style AMPC?

The rarity you speak of before is implicit in this sort of vague (and not at all set and defined, emphasis on vague) tier levels.  Tiers 1 is pretty easy work, because the NCE window limits them. Tier 2 is the basic standard, tier 3 has more responsibility because of the power in the character.  Tier 4 however, is being much more strict.  Revenant is a very difficult AMPC to get because it is 'very' strong now, and also has a level of roleplay implicit in it that is somewhat more developed.  Tier 5, the last, is the strong stuff.  Its very limited, likely to be declined, and probably going to need some ongoing DM support, so its more often than not going to be declined if things just aren't quite feasible or there are legitimate concerns had.  But there 'are' players amongst us who can be trusted with that level of responsiblity, and we've seen that before.  If the epic AMPC's in question - Death Knights, Liches, Fiends, Arak Sith and other creatures besides being possibilities - were placed at such a level of responsibility, sure - people may yearn for such tasty things.  But we can by means of our team be sure of a couple of things - first, that it shall go to players who can be trusted with it, second, it will give players adversaries that honestly they absolutely need to have and quite frankly crave for, and third, it can even give people an example to strive towards in their playing - the knowledge that if they reach a standard of playing with their fellow players, they can experience something just shy of being a DM themselves. 

There are so, so many great and responsible players on the server, who could both make great use of and deserve something like this.  I know its just a throwaway sort of comment that gave rise to it, but nevertheless, it certainly did pique my interest and so here I am giving my thoughts.

Personally I'd -love- to see Death Knight.  Even if it was but one, one is all you really need.

EDIT:  Oh, and for other tier 5 style AMPC's - I'd personally go with Lich, Ghost, Malignant Werecreature (Cursed) and Fiend.  Each of those are strong as heck, requiring some fairly specific things to kill properly in some cases.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 08:38:08 AM by Nemesis 24 »

ASymphony

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2018, 08:50:39 AM »
Well, I somewhat disagree with Death Knights being as ultra-rare, I have not seen anything in the sources so far that specifically state anything like this, besides the line "gods create death knights" in the MM 2, which is not exactly saying a lot all things considered. (The only detailed source I found is sadly 4th edition - and that one specifically states that particular rituals can be used to create death knights).
Technically, gods also heal you whenever a cleric casts a heal spell, or casts a raise spell. Its not so much the cleric, but the god bringing you back to life (a cleric can be denied the use of a spell in an instance, which is for example one thing that differentiates them from Favored Souls, who are not subject to this control). So I would not put this in as a limiting factor at all. In fact, one of the lifted conditions, "a paladin who falls close to his death", provides another potential source of death knights.

The only origin story of a death knight I am aware off, Soth, does not even feature any direct divine intervention at all, but is the result of a curse invoked on him by his dying wife.

As such, while Death Knights should be decently rare, I do not think they are as rare as to be unsuitable for an (A)MPC, not any less then the Dread Revenant, for example. And the application process in conjunction with the fact that the Death Knight is a dead-and-done case, with no inbuild escape mechanism, will likely ensure that if implemented, the Death Knight would not be a frequent sight. Vampires will always rule far supreme in that regard and I'd be surprised if we ever saw a mass of Death Knights running around.

MAB77

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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2018, 12:52:49 PM »
Soth's wife cursed him yes, but he was already doomed to a grim fate for all is other crimes. He was granted a chance by the gods to redeem himself and stop the Cataclysm. He set that aside for hubris and pride. THAT sealed his doom and cursed him in the eyes of the gods. That he let his wife and son burn to death afterward was just another sin to add on a long list. It is very clear in the Dragonlance books that it is by the gods that he was cursed. Not that it matters in the current debate.

Now as to the rarity of Death Knights, it certainly is a matter of interpretation. As we purposefully ignore everything 4e (official server rule), the current fact remain that only the Gods/Dark Powers  can make them. There direct intervention are supposed to extremely rare by default AND, oocly, at the sole discretion of actual DMs. Hence my belief on their rarity. (Again I am not invoking that as an argument against having DK ampcs. My only point is they are among the rarest of undeads).

The first thing to truly consider is whether or not we can properly emulate their abilities with the game engine. Then all other considerations could be debated. Like, do we truly want to add AMPC options for the sake of a single class, etc. Our AMPCs at least have this advantage they are available to any characters.
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Re: New (A)MPC Template - Death Knight
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2018, 01:47:33 PM »
I do read here in MM2 3.5e that DK are not limited to paladins. Albeit always raised by gods of death. So the class restriction would not be an issue.
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