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The Genius Guide to the Death Knight (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 5 ratings)

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The death knight is a champion of the grave, serving to spread the power of death throughout the lands of the living. Most death knights are the chosen warriors of gods of undeath and decay, evil psychopaths who desire nothing more than to see the “mistake” of life replaced by the glorious, unchanging “blessing” of undeath. Though unquestionably evil, these death knights are often confused as to why anyone would wish to be alive, since life is a condition that leads to hunger, exhaustion, pain, and suffering. Undeath is the perfect state of existence, but even normal death is obviously better than struggling through a life. To these death knights, they are bringing a gift to all living creatures, even if they have to do it one murder at a time.

However, a very few gods of true death also empower death knights specifically to preserve the sanctity of the grave and oppose the forces of the undead. Though the gods of repose have many names in many cultures, the death knights often refer to their divine sponsors as “the Grey Mistress” and see her as a personification of the state of death itself. To these death knights death is a calm, cool mistress who eventually envelops all things, and undeath is an insult to her. Though such death knights have little care for the living, and are not of good alignment, they can sometimes serve as allies to life-loving champions who must oppose a powerful undead force. Though they see life as a lesser state of being than death, they also see it as a temporary one and know their Grey Mistress will eventually enwrap all living things in her pale embrace.

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Product Discussion (79)
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Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Alzrius wrote:
Admittedly, if it's a problem for the run-of-the-mill summon monster spells, then there's no reason to repeat that mistake here. However, if you don't view this as being a problem for "normal" summoned monsters, this seems more like a needless restriction than a solution.

The run-of-the-mill summon spells have a broad enough range of options to pick from that they simply don't add monsters for which this would be an issue to the lists of summonable monsters. Since I was sticking only to undead, I couldn't just avoid adding creatures with inappropriate spell-like abilities to the lists of things you can summon without making the lists much less interesting.

When I decided what monsters to add at what level of grave summoning I did so with the restriction firmly in mind, so the options remain balanced.

Further, this makes it MUCH easier for GMs to safely add future undead monsters to the grave summoning lists to further flesh them out.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Many thanks to DungeonmasterCal for his review!


Sounds good to me, this one here. Might need to see if I can find it in the local store.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Icyshadow wrote:
Sounds good to me, this one here. Might need to see if I can find it in the local store.

It's currently available as a PDF only. Even if we produce a print version, it's much more likely to be POD than a regular print run that might show up in your local store.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Many thanks to ShadowcatX for the new review!


You have a death mage and now a death knight, any plans on a more roguish version in the future?

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Grey Lensman wrote:
You have a death mage and now a death knight, any plans on a more roguish version in the future?

So, a "Death Stalker" class? No such plans at the moment -- I think the shadow assassin mostly does what I wanted to do in regards to a different theme of rogue.

But I [i]could/i] seem some "Grave Talents" for a death-themed shadow assassin, or possibly a Death Stalker archetype. Is there anything in particular you were thinking such a class might offer as a new take on the role and theme?

Of course that doesn't mean we'll never do something of the sort as a base class. If I come up with a really good Death Stalker idea for a class, or a freelancer brings me a good write-up, I'd happily publish such a thing. :)


One character I want to play in the future would be a dhampir of some type, with powers and spells that fit into the powers associated with vampires in myth and legends. Something to research and look into, methinks.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Grey Lensman wrote:
One character I want to play in the future would be a dhampir of some type, with powers and spells that fit into the powers associated with vampires in myth and legends. Something to research and look into, methinks.

Do you have a favored source of dhampire mythology, with listed powers? :)


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Do you have a favored source of dhampire mythology, with listed powers? :)

Not rerally, just what I can look up, but I was planning on more of the vampire powers (I almost played a dhampir sanguine bloodline sorceress in Carrion Crown, but went w/ a Ifrit Dawnflower Dervish instead) than anything specific to the dhampir.

Spells were going to focus on drains, charms/compulsions, and maybe some fiendish bat/wolf summonings. However, with 2 witches, an alchemist, and a bone oracle, the sorceress was somewhat redundant.

I almost tried something similar with a ninja-reskinning and the raging swan dahmpir book. I'll save that for another time.


Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Now onwards to the power words...

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Hey End, thanks for the review!

to address to questions asked, the death knight does not have its own spell lst. It specifically says "Beginning at 4th level, a death knight
gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells which are drawn from the antipaladin spell list presented in the Advanced Players Guide."

Which is why the new spells presented list their anitpaladin level, rather than their death knight level.

As for the linear design and only 2 death bonds, here I am matching the antipaladin/paladin design choices. The thing is that with a broader range of alignments available (6 possible death knight alignments, rather than 1 for antipaladin or paladin), the class is already more flexible in concept than it's closest cousins. If I made it significantly more flexible in design as well, the end result would be more powerful than either of the other classes, and I absolutely did not want to do that.

Also, at 17 pages and with 17 new spells, I felt this was as much content as I could justify for a product presenting one class. Given the class's popularity, and thematic link to death mages, an expansion book is certainly a possibility.


Sorry, I should have been clearer: I would have loved a reprint of the antipaladin spell-list with the new death knight spells included, so one has all the list-information in one pdf.

As I've written, I'd LOVE to see the concept expnaded and much like I did with the Vanguard, I'll be happy to revise the pdf when/if additional support is provided to account for it. :)

Just read through Power Words for the second time and will let it sink in.

Cheers!


Reviewed here and at RPGnow

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

Many thanks for the review!


I just got this pdf today and it's an awesome read.

The part about the Low Road is particularly interesting. In the Pathfinder setting (which I mainly use), I imagine the process goes something like this.

Alive => Dies => Materializes on the Low Road => Finds his way to The Boneyard => On to whatever afterlife he gets.

Also, something if a rule question: can the sensor created from the Spectral Eye spell be blinded? I wasn't concerned with someone throwing dust at it, since it's incorporeal, but more along the lines of stuff that would normally blind someone, like the cantrip Flare, the spell Color Spray or maybe the gaze attack of a Nymph?

Heh, and on a more amusing note, could someone wearing, say, gloves that bestows the ghost touch property on the wearer, use the dirty trick maneuver to poke the sensor in the (literal) eye and hurt the caster of Spectral Eye ? XD


Do have a question about content. The spell line Grave summoning has "Conjuration(Summoning) [Necromancy]" for its descriptor and one of the fog spells has "Conjuration(Creation) [Necromancy]" what does this mean in terms of mechanics. Does it benefit from both necromancy and conjuration feats and powers i mean pathfinder seems to shun dual school spells. Or was it for mostly fluff, which school does it actually belong to my guess is conjuration.

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Ocule wrote:
Do have a question about content. The spell line Grave summoning has "Conjuration(Summoning) [Necromancy]" for its descriptor and one of the fog spells has "Conjuration(Creation) [Necromancy]" what does this mean in terms of mechanics. Does it benefit from both necromancy and conjuration feats and powers i mean pathfinder seems to shun dual school spells. Or was it for mostly fluff, which school does it actually belong to my guess is conjuration.

The [Necromancy] descriptor was cut from the product (thought it may make an appearance someday), and I failed to cut it from the spells.

For now, ignore it.

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Tim Malmstrom wrote:
I just got this pdf today and it's an awesome read.

Glad you like it!

Tim Malmstrom wrote:

The part about the Low Road is particularly interesting. In the Pathfinder setting (which I mainly use), I imagine the process goes something like this.

Alive => Dies => Materializes on the Low Road => Finds his way to The Boneyard => On to whatever afterlife he gets.

If I were to discuss such things, which I'm not because this product can;t discuss Golarion cosmology, I suspect my description would look a lot like that.

:D

Tim Malmstrom wrote:
Also, something if a rule question: can the sensor created from the Spectral Eye spell be blinded?

Treat is as a divination (scrying) spell to adjudicate those kinds of questions. I probably should include that in a note somewhere.


One thing I noticed is that the two codes of conduct either restrict the death knight from using a large portion of their class features or severely restrict who they can associate with. This works okay for NPCs but seems a bit more problematic for PCs.

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Caedwyr wrote:
One thing I noticed is that the two codes of conduct either restrict the death knight from using a large portion of their class features or severely restrict who they can associate with. This works okay for NPCs but seems a bit more problematic for PCs.

A lot of that is going to depend on how restrictive you feel "May never

knowingly despoil, rob, or damage a grave or tomb or allow such violations
to take place if it is within their power to stop them. They cannot associate with undead, or spellcasters who create undead."

And obviously yeah, some games depend on that. But I'd say its MUCH less restrictive than paladin or antipaladin codes of conduct, which are the closest equivalents.


It's not so much the adventure types, but the fact that following that version of the code precludes them from using a significant number of class features, even when those class features have been flavored as non-evil. I'm posting from my phone, but I can give several examples later of what I mean.


Okay, here are the examples of how the cannot associate with the undead part of the code can potentially cause problems, as I promised.

1. The death knight cannot use their Deathly Boon class feature as it requires either associating with the aid of a dead spirit or requires summoning an undead soul.

2. The death knight cannot use any of the Grave Summoning spells.

The Grave Summoning isn't that big of an issue, but the loss of all or half of the options provided by the Deathly Boon class feature seems a little unusual, hence my question as to the intent behind the wording of the Code.


Kudos to Super Genius! I thought that this was the coolest monster in my first read through of The Fiend Folio so many years ago. Nice work.

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think that the "dead spirit" may be intended to fall outside the purview of the code. It's possible he meant the undead type, not statless creatures.


Right, but even if that is the case, doesn't it still mean they can't use the Grave Summoning version of Deathly Boon?

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not sure.


I have a question regarding the Death Knight's Aura of Darkness (Su). The text states: "Effects that deal damage only to undead, or deal extra damage to undead,deal that damage to death knights. However, effects that only target undead without dealing damage to them (such as halt undead) do not affect non-undead death knights."

Does that mean Channeled Positive Energy from a Cleric and Spells like "Cure Light Wounds" do damage to a Death Knight? If so, how does a non-undead Death Knight heal?

Or do non-Undead Death Knights heal via negative energy (like the undead type) and I just missed it in the text somewhere?

If non-undead Death Knights are not healed by Negative Energy, and take damage from positive energy effects it seems to me they could be the Swiss Cheese of Front Line Fighters! LOL!

Thanks in Advance!
JT


Ariakon wrote:

I have a question regarding the Death Knight's Aura of Darkness (Su). The text states: "Effects that deal damage only to undead, or deal extra damage to undead,deal that damage to death knights. However, effects that only target undead without dealing damage to them (such as halt undead) do not affect non-undead death knights."

Does that mean Channeled Positive Energy from a Cleric and Spells like "Cure Light Wounds" do damage to a Death Knight? If so, how does a non-undead Death Knight heal?

Positive energy channeled to harm undead harm a living death knight.

Positive energy channeled to heal living creatures heals a living death knight.
Cure spells should work the same way -- its based on caster intent, and can do both. It becomes a question of whether you are affecting the flesh (which is living) or the aura of power (which is steeped in death).
Welcome to living in the grey in a black-and-white world. :)

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