Monday, 21 November 2011

The Death Knights of Narvellis

(note - this is loosely based on the Death Knight from the 1st Ed D&D fiend folio with a bit of inspiration from Lord Soth - this is not connected with WoW Hero class). 

Name         Death Knight
No. Enc.     1d3 (rarely more)
Alignment    Chaotic        
Movement     90'            
Armor Class  3 or better  
Hit Dice     9** to 20** (40hp or more)
Attack       2 weapons
THAC0        as fighter -3
Damage       by weapon +3/by weapon +3
Save As      F9+
Hoard Class  XX
Size         Medium 
Type         Undead
Intelligence 14 (high)     
XP           2400xp (9th level) or more

Death knights of Kaelaross are undead beings that were formerly powerful fighters (level 9 or higher) that fell from grace. The stories of who each death knight was and how they ended up in this state of damnation are unique to each one. 
Death Knights are equipped with the best weapons and armour they can find, often the same ones they had when they became undead. A typical death knight will have Plate Mail +2 (giving AC 1) and a 2 handed sword +2 (1d10+2 damage), and may have other magic items that a fighter would find useful, except for healing magic (which is useless for the undead). Regardless of their physical strength during their lifetimes, death knights have 18 strength, giving them +3 to hit (or -3 to THAC0) and +3 to damage. Their exceptional skill and undeathly vigour gives them 2 attacks per round. 
Death Knights can command or rebuke lesser undead as a cleric of the same level, and can also cast the following spell-like powers: Cloudkill 1/day, Dispel Magic 1/day, Detect Magic at will, Detect Law (reverse of Detect Chaos) at will, Cause Fear by gaze attack (range 60', 1 opponent per round, save vs spells or flee for 1d6 turns) at will. Death Knights are immune to normal and silver weapons, and opponents need magic weapons (+1 or better) to damage them. As undead, Death Knights are immune to poison (including their own cloudkill spells), sleep, charm and hold spells and death magic. 

The Baron of Narvellis and his followers are the most notorious death knights still existing on Toutus (but according to rumour not the only ones). Before the Summoning they were Knight Protectors of Toutus, part of a noble order of knights, but already the baron and his closest henchmen had been subverted by Chaos cultists worshipping the death goddess Storshin. When this heresy was uncovered during the Wars between the Empires, the Baron and his knights were visited by the deputy commander of the order and given an ultimatum to repent or be expelled. The baron challenged the deputy commander to a duel of honour, and when the deputy commander refused on the grounds that it was not a matter of honour but fact, the baron and several of his aides slew him. At this point 14 out of his 30 knights realised they were in real trouble and fled - some became wandering knights, others returned penitently to the Order of the Knight Protectors. The other 16 had thrown their lot in with the Baron of Narvellis. The wars were raging, and the Order was in no position to retaliate, though it knew of his treachery. 
When the Summoning came, the avatar of Bhael travelled over the face of Kaelaross, inflicting woes, destruction and chaos portals wherever he went. When he appeared over Narvellis, he decided that the Baron and his damned followers were too useful to destroy on a whim - instead he transformed them all into death knights - bolts of black lightning shot from his hands and the flesh of the knights was blackened and charred, but they still stood. The man-servants and maids in the castle were turned into ghouls, and the men-at-arms into wights. He then instructed the now-undead knights that they were the champions of chaos, and that they were to cause pain and suffering to all who opposed the forces of chaos. 
The Baron is still in the process of turning Narvellis Island into a realm of the Undead, with his stronghold in Darvis Keep. From his port in Karlovon (north coast of the island) he sends forth ghost ships of undead pirates known as the Drowners of Sorrow who often ply the Walrus Channel, harrying the living and bringing back corpses for animation. He will sometimes allow living chaos cultists sanctuary on his land (particularly if they offer to create more undead followers for him), but he is a fickle and demanding ally, who can easily turn into a terrible and vicious enemy. 

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