DMs: Would you allow a player to become a Graveknight?


Advice


One of my groups has been together for years and one of the players has wanted for years to have a Graveknight character. He has been voted down each time we play an AP or homebrew because of the obvious reasons most DMs won't allow monster templates.

But now our rotation of DM is coming up on a guy that said previously the next time he was DM he would allow him to become a Graveknight. I realize that as DM he has the final say but am I wrong in thinking this could be a bad decision? Or have some of you guys used Graveknights before as PCs and found out it wasn't so overpowered?

I don't want to keep telling this friend of mine "no" each time he asks. The rest of the group also worries about the impact this could have on a campaign. Is it as bad as we all fear? I would appreciate some feedback.


Graveknight is overpowering.

Have the player try this out instead.


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If you guys are going to do it, I would suggest a short campaign arc at higher levels, with everyone getting to grab a fun template of some kind. Go all-in for an overpowered game, but don't plan on playing it all too long or I expect it will get old quick.

This sort of approach will let your friend 'scratch the itch' without tying up your game with OP stuff for an extended campaign.


yes, they really aren't as bad as every one else is chiming in says they are the power it gives martials is still far less to the power that full casters have at their disposal


About the only way I would allow a template for a player in a game I run would be at the end of the campaign. I would probably allow the player to gain it a couple of games before the campaign ends just so he can have a chance to use some of the abilities. But I would not allow during the normal course of the campaign. If he just wants a character who becomes a Graveknight this would be the best way to allow him to do so.


I've played in a high level undead themed campaign where one of the players ran a graveknight. The premise that after a breif intro the whole party went through a ritual that ended with them gaining an undead template. When the rest of the party was running vampires and ghosts graveknights were fairly balanced. I would be very careful of allowing it in a normal game though. Very easy to unbalance everything.


It depends on what the rest of the players are building. It's always best to try to keep players on the same basic power level.

Personally, I'd allow it if he was the only martial character in a group full of full casters, since he certainly won't outshine those guys too much.

But if there are other martial characters in the group, I'd highly suggest that they also get templates to buff their characters, then adjust the encounters accordingly.


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Grond wrote:
Would you allow a player to become a Graveknight?

How serious are they?


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Not all templates are equal, but to give a reasonable equivalent the Graveknight is CR+2 which is the same as the Lich template, also the same as the Ravener template, the Vampire Template, and the Bard, Fighter, Ranger, or Rogue simple templates at 10+ HD.

Suffice to say, the Graveknight is in some powerful company. Would I allow a player to start the game as a Graveknight? HAHAHAAHHA, no. Would I allow a player to become a a Graveknight? Sure, probably. It would require some serious RPing to gain, but if you'd let someone become a Lich I'd let someone become a graveknight.


ShroudedInLight wrote:

Not all templates are equal, but to give a reasonable equivalent the Graveknight is CR+2 which is the same as the Lich template, also the same as the Ravener template, the Vampire Template, and the Bard, Fighter, Ranger, or Rogue simple templates at 10+ HD.

Suffice to say, the Graveknight is in some powerful company. Would I allow a player to start the game as a Graveknight? HAHAHAAHHA, no. Would I allow a player to become a a Graveknight? Sure, probably. It would require some serious RPing to gain, but if you'd let someone become a Lich I'd let someone become a graveknight.

eh it all depends what level they would be starting at 1st level heck no but level 6 or higher i could see it and probably a definit yes at level 10 or higher, most of their active abilities scale with level so its not that bad having one a little bit early


Isn't Graveknight like Lich ? You know the requirement of character level to become one ? I checked it mentions that you need 9 Levels to start ritual and gain 2 more to finish the process ?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have given Grave Knight to a PC.

I gave it out at level 15, the campaign is Way of the Wicked so everyone is evil which solves morality issues. It is a very big power boost particularly as he was an antipaladin with low Con and very high Cha. It has not been gamebreaking because all of the pc's have aquired templates (2 vampires, 1 Were Tiger and 1 Devil bound).
I certainly would not have allowed a 1st level character as a grave knight, and I would not try to balance it too much against the others. I think graveknight is slightly more powerful than vampire, but both the vampire pc's are more powerful characters than him overall . I also have no problem with high level high power games.

Unless the other pc's are going to get comparable boosts (templates, a mythic rank) or be 2-3 levels ahead of the Graveknight I would not allow it in a campaign as it would be unfair to the other players. So to the OP make sure your GM is aware of the power boost and has plans to make sure the other characters remain competetive.


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So, coming from someone who has both started a player as a graveknight and also helped one progress, here is my opinion.
Starting: If your campaign is high enough lvl to start with a Graveknight then you as DM have enough resources at hand to deal with him off the bat. Probably require him to take a penalty since he is rediculously more powerful and immortal, like a devil he compacted with that occasionally able to call upon him at the worst time, or an aversion to things that were once sacred to him in his last life. Overcoming these obstacles can make for a fun sidequest.
If it is a late game goal, give him time to revel in his newfound power. I would suggest 4 sessions to the end. Also remember that while it is deliberate out of game, it need not be deli erate in game, and he can be cursed with his undying form due to failing a quest or tricked by a necromancer or fiend. Lastly, if it is his choice, make it a logical choice, something that will make it almost nessecary, such as pursung a nihilistic necromancer to the negative energy plane, or bodily plunging into a pool or cloud of (insert graveknight's energy here) to destroy/retrive an artifact. This way it feels like there is payoff for his actions.


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If they want to be a graveknight, they need to overcome a few trials first. They need to go to a Northern Continent to save their Kingdom from an eldritch blight, then he must travel with his Dwarf mentor figure to find a lesser artifact sword.

When he pulls the sword from a block of Ice, the ice shatters and strikes his mentor figure, seemingly dead. He is then given a choice between saving the dwarf, or accepting the power of the sword. After this, his alignment will gradually change, until he falls to Evil and he acquires the Graveknight template.


The Graveknight has rejuvenation... That changes the dynamics of combat a lot more, makes death completely inconsequential for that player (other than: I won't get to play for the rest of the battle, possibly session, which itself can become problematic). The other abilities can be strong, but this one changes the meta around mortality and risk taking.

How that impacts the game can be unpredictable. On one hand, it might allow him to try a bunch of cool but risky stuff that could just make the fights more epic and provide laughs for everyone. On the other, he could hog more of the glory, and it could make others jealous. Or if he takes his death too lightly, it might even annoy some other players with always being a man down. It's really hard to gauge the impact this might have at the table.

Individual immortality might be a fun thing, I've honestly never tried it. But it must be given much thought.

I'd also consider alternatives. Why does he want to be a grave knight? Would a dumbed down version satisfy him? Juju zombies and skeletal champions are sentient undead with only +1 CR. If you remove the stat bonuses, the DR, and the resistances... that undead subtype doesn't become, on its own, all that broken. He'll be immune to certain effects that only target humanoids, yes, as well as the other normal immunities, but would also become susceptible to anti-undead spells and effects. His fort save probably won't be very good either, so while he'll be immune to death effects and poisons that represent a large chunk of fort saves, he won't be immune to stuff like desintegrate, which will be particularly effective against him. Undead (anti-)paladins also can't get their charisma bonus to anything twice, so the apparent complamentarity there is limited.

If it's for the rejuvenation... Well, are you up for that? Honestly I'd homebrew a rejuvenating undead template instead of using grave knight or another similar one.


Hell no

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would under a deliberate set of circumstances where I planned specifically for this type of PC, including adjustments to templates. It would have to be something where all the PCs were playing some form of corporeal undead or something like that. But again, it would be a tightly controlled game from a GMing aspect.

-Skeld


As others have mentioned, I would only do it if everyone were given something comparable. Otherwise, the power imbalance at the table will make it difficult to GM appropriate encounters and will almost certainly cause dissatisfaction among the players.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Rejuvenation is much less of an issue when you are running a high level game, death at that point merely slows you down. It would only help if there was a TPK and the people killing the party were not aware of how to kill a Grave knight permanently which is unlikely when dealing with CR 17+Opponents.

Most of the Grave knight issues are less at high level

Channel destruction +4 or 5 d6 elemental damage, most of the opponents in my experience have a fair amount of elemental resistance from race, template or spells.

Devestating blast, positively anemic compared to what the wizard and sorceror can do

Undead Master-- could be useful, if he tried to use it in my campaign the other undead would kill him for sure , it is nice if you want an undead legion but Necromancers can get one anyway

Stat boosts are no worse than other CR +2 Templates , and the immunities are pretty good but if you are allowing other templates nothing special.

I think it is a perfectly reasonable template to allow if you are also allowing other pc's to take Vampire, Lich or Half fiend type templates . Compared to vanilla pc's it is awesome and I would be unhappy if one fellow pc got this and the rest of us got nothing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Grond wrote:
Would you allow a player PC to become a Graveknight?

No.

Not in any normal campaign.


JohnHawkins wrote:
The Rejuvenation is much less of an issue when you are running a high level game, death at that point merely slows you down. It would only help if there was a TPK and the people killing the party were not aware of how to kill a Grave knight permanently which is unlikely when dealing with CR 17+Opponents.

High level play diminishes the impact of death, it does not negate it. True Resurrection still costs 25k. Other ressurection spells also cost a significant amount. So you don't go getting yourself killed every battle, because at 25k per encounter, even with good loot, you'll normally be at quite a deficit. And this loss of gear potential can have a visible impact.

Rejuvenation means that you can die every session, and suffer no long term consequence. And depending on how much game time elapses per session, maybe even many times per session. It allows you to go full retard "all-in", which can potentially greatly increase you efficiency compared to people that must expend resources (healing items, protection buffs, moving out of danger, etc.) to prevent long-term important losses (around financing resurrection).

Liberty's Edge

I permitted it in my "Evil Kingmaker" game. Considering the magus went full-on lich and the king still has aspirations of vampiredom, it really wasn't too unbalanced to give the fighter the graveknight template.

Even offered some fun roleplay moments as the Graveknight had been vanquished, only to have the vanquishing barbarian lord put the armor on as the rest of the party retreated, giggling.

As with everything else, depends on the group, the GM, and the campaign.


Are there any non evil undead templates? And since when have templates in PF been a thing?

Liberty's Edge

Not so far as I'm aware, and since Bestiary 1's Celestial, Fiendish, Zombie, and Skeletal templates. (I'm probably missing a few)


DrSwordopolis wrote:
Not so far as I'm aware, and since Bestiary 1's Celestial, Fiendish, Zombie, and Skeletal templates. (I'm probably missing a few)

I meant for PCs.


I would if running a monster campaign or as everyone else suggested everybody gets a template. Most likely I would let him play a character that gets it as a reward for completing a major story arch. Of course I run my games where players can get or do most anything they want if they are willing to work hard enough*. A template is mostly just a set of stat boosts and special powers; very comparable to getting a hoard of treasure.

@Dr. Deth. Keep in mind that alignments are usually just the typical of a race and that players are typically exceptions to social standards. After all only the miscreants of society are going to choose an adventurer's lifestyle. While I don't think there are any good undead in pathfinder, 3.5 had the necropolitan template which had no effect on alignment

*insert the laughter of Asmodeus. Heck make it the entire lower planes.


I really try to never let players take templates, but that might only be because the only players I know who try to take templates want to do so to create a more powerful character. Like most rulings, the motive matters strongly. I could be convinced by someone who I knew was a talented roleplayer with a backstory prepared and everything.


DrDeth wrote:
Are there any non evil undead templates? And since when have templates in PF been a thing?

that is entirely dependent on the gm me and most of the other gms i know rule that nothing is inherently good or evil and only actions determine alignment so you will have some good undead some evil undead some neutral undead but only for undead with an intelligence modifier all mindless undead are evil and all mindless deathless(homebrewed positive energy undead) are good, as for templates ever since pathfinder has been in existence i think as one of the 1st books printed had them


I'd allow it in home brew game where I designed the game around the concept of players being a grave knights or party of mixed undead of equivalent power.

I've done this in the past with vampires, it worked quite well.


Dastis wrote:


@Dr. Deth. Keep in mind that alignments are usually just the typical of a race and that players are typically exceptions to social standards. After all only the miscreants of society are going to choose an adventurer's lifestyle. While I don't think there are any good undead in pathfinder, 3.5 had the necropolitan template which had no effect on alignment
.

Great template but OP.

There was a cool PC race in 4th edition called a Revenant.

In 3.0 I played a "half-zombie".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As for good undead, there are a few. The most recent example I can think of is a good ghost in B6, but I think there have been a couple others.

I'd only allow it if it was a campaign specifically designed to give everyone that kind of boost. I wouldn't let just one player become a graveknight in a regular campaign.


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Grond wrote:

One of my groups has been together for years and one of the players has wanted for years to have a Graveknight character. He has been voted down each time we play an AP or homebrew because of the obvious reasons most DMs won't allow monster templates.

But now our rotation of DM is coming up on a guy that said previously the next time he was DM he would allow him to become a Graveknight. I realize that as DM he has the final say but am I wrong in thinking this could be a bad decision? Or have some of you guys used Graveknights before as PCs and found out it wasn't so overpowered?

I don't want to keep telling this friend of mine "no" each time he asks. The rest of the group also worries about the impact this could have on a campaign. Is it as bad as we all fear? I would appreciate some feedback.

#1 what race is being added to graveknight? A kobold graveknight is quite different from a drow noble one.

#2 what is the rest of the group looking at? If one has a lycanthrope, one is a gargoyle, one's a drow noble, one's a drider, ect... then it's not an issue. If the party is 'normal' then it'd be an issue.

SO I say it's the time to pull out whatever crazy race you've ever thought about playing and have fun with it. You all might as well play a whole group of freaks.


We haven't used Graveknight yet, but in cases where we've allowed players to gain templates in the past, they have gradually unlocked the template's properties and abilities over time, either through challenges/quests or by chance (in the case of "afflicted" templates) as they level up.

We always integrate the template into the storyline and roleplay it.

We have a high-powered group that tends towards optimized builds (not always optimized for the things you would expect though!) and aren't overly concerned about keeping the power levels of all PCs balanced.


Meraki wrote:

As for good undead, there are a few. The most recent example I can think of is a good ghost in B6, but I think there have been a couple others.

I'd only allow it if it was a campaign specifically designed to give everyone that kind of boost. I wouldn't let just one player become a graveknight in a regular campaign.

As someone else said, if everyone else are full casters, or close enough, the boost from the Template isn't that bad at Level 8+ and far from gamebreaking at 12+, the only "gamebreaking" part comes from being an undead...


KM WolfMaw wrote:
Meraki wrote:

As for good undead, there are a few. The most recent example I can think of is a good ghost in B6, but I think there have been a couple others.

I'd only allow it if it was a campaign specifically designed to give everyone that kind of boost. I wouldn't let just one player become a graveknight in a regular campaign.

As someone else said, if everyone else are full casters, or close enough, the boost from the Template isn't that bad at Level 8+ and far from gamebreaking at 12+, the only "gamebreaking" part comes from being an undead...

while being undead has a list of benefits there is also a quite a few drawbacks and ways to get around them being undead


I appreciate the feedback. I see that most of it jives with what I've thought for years: unless you are specifically going for a template themed campaign it is too much for a regular AP or campaign.

To answer some specific questions: the group is veterans, like 15-20+ years in RPGs. No bad apples, no one wants to have the Superman character while the rest serve as backdrops. The player in question is a big fan of evil themed martial character (so am I) and has long wanted to have one of his antipaladin characters die and come back as a Graveknight around the appropriate level.

The problem is that almost all the campaigns we play are either AP or homebrew that are planned around a normal 4-5 person party from lvls 1-high teens to 20. He wants to be a Graveknight when his character's hit dice can qualify for it (I'm thinking this is level 6?). He does not want to pull cheese of playing a Drow Noble or some custom race. He has some Dhampir or human antipaladin characters he has wanted to make Graveknights for years now.

The guy that will be GMing has already said he's going to let him do it but the rest of the group wants to play normal characters. I have nothing against Graveknights, I think they are cool, I'm sure the chance to RP one would be kinda neat but I'm worried about the power disparity.

I say that realizing full spellcasters after level 10 become virtual demigods in some ways in this game so I feel picking on a martial class player is kinda cheesy for wanting to have his/her own cool flair. I just worry it will be too much.


Well, if it's later down the road, the character would probably be underpowered in comparison, since he will be delaying/sacrificing class features in exchange for those powers (and be lower level in relation to the other PCs).

I still think the Antipaladin archetype would scratch his itch without the disappointment/overpowering aspects of attaching a template. You can easily flavor the exchanged features as slowly becoming a Graveknight, and it shows in the Sepulchur Knight archetype.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Well, if it's later down the road, the character would probably be underpowered in comparison, since he will be delaying/sacrificing class features in exchange for those powers (and be lower level in relation to the other PCs).

I still think the Antipaladin archetype would scratch his itch without the disappointment/overpowering aspects of attaching a template. You can easily flavor the exchanged features as slowly becoming a Graveknight, and it shows in the Sepulchur Knight archetype.

the archetype is terrible it trades out far to much and takes a whole 20 levels to get online and isn't compatible with quite a few other archetypes that are just flat out better


I said this in another post. We had in our group a Graveknight who then became an antipaldin. He was extremely powerful unbalancing powerful. The GM who was used to high powered campaigns was shocked at how unstoppable this guy was. He pretty much ran through the module all by himself killing everything. The only challenge was a CR17 monster and then as a party we defeated it. We all had templates but paled next to the guy's Grave Knight. They are extremely powerful and no matter his class, he could take a NPC one and still be more powerful then normal adventurers.
Grave Knights make great monsters but I would not ever allow a player to play one. He will upset the campaign.


This is a horrible idea, but some people can never take "no" for an answer. If the GM is going to allow it, then the other players should be allowed to use whatever goofy monster templates they've been dying to play as well. So, if one wants to be a graveknight, then the others should be allowed to play dragons, angels and whatever other non-player option strikes their fancy.


Derek Dalton wrote:

I said this in another post. We had in our group a Graveknight who then became an antipaldin. He was extremely powerful unbalancing powerful. The GM who was used to high powered campaigns was shocked at how unstoppable this guy was. He pretty much ran through the module all by himself killing everything. The only challenge was a CR17 monster and then as a party we defeated it. We all had templates but paled next to the guy's Grave Knight. They are extremely powerful and no matter his class, he could take a NPC one and still be more powerful then normal adventurers.

Grave Knights make great monsters but I would not ever allow a player to play one. He will upset the campaign.

To be Honest, Grave Knight + Antipaladin is a broken combo, Grave Knight + Aristocrat/Fighter/Warrior isn't that broken, assuming the party has 1 or 2 Full Casters.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Well, if it's later down the road, the character would probably be underpowered in comparison, since he will be delaying/sacrificing class features in exchange for those powers (and be lower level in relation to the other PCs).

I still think the Antipaladin archetype would scratch his itch without the disappointment/overpowering aspects of attaching a template. You can easily flavor the exchanged features as slowly becoming a Graveknight, and it shows in the Sepulchur Knight archetype.

If I wanted to make an undead champion, which is totally along the lines of stuff I tend to like, that archetype would totally *not* scratch that itch.

All of the archetypes and prestige classes that turns one into an undead, in PF and 3.5, basically only really do so by lvl 20, or ridiculously high-leveled, and they all trade out too much for it. Pretty much any caster can make themselves a lich by mid level. Pretty much anyone can make themselves a vampire by low-mid levels, provided plot. I could think of many shennanigans that would allow one to cast Create Undead on himself (if he can't get someone else to do it) to turn himself into a juju zombie or skeletal champion. And I'm not even familiar with all the undead shennanigans one can probably find in all the bestiaries.

So trading out everything that is good about the anti-paladin, just to become an undead at lvl... 20!? Hardly satisfying. The point behind concepts is usually that you get to play them, and not cap at them. If you want to play an undead champion, waiting to reach level 20 before you finally become one is not really adequate.


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Well, if it's later down the road, the character would probably be underpowered in comparison, since he will be delaying/sacrificing class features in exchange for those powers (and be lower level in relation to the other PCs).

I still think the Antipaladin archetype would scratch his itch without the disappointment/overpowering aspects of attaching a template. You can easily flavor the exchanged features as slowly becoming a Graveknight, and it shows in the Sepulchur Knight archetype.

If I wanted to make an undead champion, which is totally along the lines of stuff I tend to like, that archetype would totally *not* scratch that itch.

All of the archetypes and prestige classes that turns one into an undead, in PF and 3.5, basically only really do so by lvl 20, or ridiculously high-leveled, and they all trade out too much for it. Pretty much any caster can make themselves a lich by mid level. Pretty much anyone can make themselves a vampire by low-mid levels, provided plot. I could think of many shennanigans that would allow one to cast Create Undead on himself (if he can't get someone else to do it) to turn himself into a juju zombie or skeletal champion. And I'm not even familiar with all the undead shennanigans one can probably find in all the bestiaries.

So trading out everything that is good about the anti-paladin, just to become an undead at lvl... 20!? Hardly satisfying. The point behind concepts is usually that you get to play them, and not cap at them. If you want to play an undead champion, waiting to reach level 20 before you finally become one is not really adequate.

The general response to that is either, find a GM who's running a high power campaign, be satisfied with undeath as an overall goal, or find a new concept. All concepts are not compatible with general gameplay and like it or not, undead type is a ridiculously powerful suite of abilities to say nothing of being combined with a charisma class.


Indeed, I would agree with that. Not like you really have a choice, anyways, can't force the GM to let you be something he doesn't want you to be.

But that class is just bait. Terrible, terrible bait. I mean, technically an antipaladin is a spellcaster... level 11 he can make his own phylactery and become a Lich. Which is... honestly, basically a lot like a grave knight, in my book. Why would anyone give up all the antipaladin class features to become an undead at lvl 20 when he can keep them all and become one at lvl 11?

Also keep in mind that there was an erreta on charisma bonuses not stacking with themselves.


To address the archetype antipaladin: that is not what he wants. He plays antipaladins fairly frequently and knows all the archetypes. That one archetype is terribad. He literally wants that Lord Soth-esque type feel from Dragonlance and apparently in our next campaign he'll get his wish.


the only way knight of the sepulcher would work is if they fused all the benefits into one ability that replaced plague bringer, aura of depravity and unholy champion all at the same time and leveled up with abilities at level 7, 10 and 13 and allow them to keep the rest of the anti paladin abilities


I would allow it at the cost of its bonus to CR. Basically treating it as a level adjustment.

That's a full spell level behind on a caster, and I'm not worried about martials getting nice things.

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