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    Default [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Ladyzombies and ghouls; slaymates of all ages... Evil outsiders and Eldritch Abominations too...


    So yeah: I missed Halloween by almost two weeks. And there's no flow of new material; this is most disturbing! Thus, to fix this!

    In this case, I followed a fun idea. The Dread Necromancer, a base class from Heroes of Horror, is an interesting class: a spontaneous Necromancy specialist, whose main purpose is to become a Lich without taking the template. Much like the Dragon Disciple, but without sucking that much*. So I figured: could I take my favorite chassis, the Divine Champion, and give it a twist by making a melee version of the Dread Necromancer (even though the Dread Necro does melee decently, because of the armor, the DR, the natural armor, the resistances and the Charnel Touch...), except that you turn into something else other than a Lich?

    Fortunately, Lord Soth (one of the most famous exemplars of the template I'm about to mention) gave me the solution: how about making a class that, as a capstone, turns you into a Death Knight? The Death Knight template is pretty awesome, but some of the abilities...not so much. I mean...Abyssal Blast? Cute, but 1/day isn't really that cool. The increase to d12 is great; the loss of Con (and henceforth Fortitude)...isn't great. But, most importantly: all these goodies for LA +5!? Yeah: it hurts. It most definitely hurts.

    Thus, I decided to do a first: a base class that combined Spontaneous Specialization with partial casting (well, half-casting, but with full CL) and beefed up melee. Naturally, it brought me to the Divine Champion chassis, and with it, options that should make Death Knights much more powerful.

    In short: Death Knight in a can. And without the stinky Evil smell or funky Evil flavor (though, if you're a fan of it, might as well go for it, no?) Thus, without further ado, may I present to you...

    DREADLORD

    Spoiler: MAKING A DREADLORD
    Show
    ABILITIES: Charisma determines many of the dreadlord's powers, such as the fear aura, their spellcasting and, eventually, the damage from their dread touch. Being melee combatants, Strength and Constitution are likewise important.
    RACES: Most dreadlords are usually humans; only they combine the desired traits of ruthlessness and ambition that make them generals of the undead. Elves' respect for life and dwarves' respect for ancestors make them unsuitable, but there are a few exceptions.
    Amongst the savage races, usually orcs and hobgoblins are guided by their deities to become dreadlords, preparing them for the grim task of death knighthood from a very early age.
    ALIGNMENT: Any non-good. Becoming a dreadlord requires having, to an extent, a grim outlook on life; rather than avoid death, they choose to embrace it and use it as a weapon. Neutral dreadlords generally use their powers as a weapon against evil, but are practical rather than idealistic. As they progress through the path into undeath, they begin to accept the idea that protecting life may be a lost cause, but some find reasons; patriotic fervor, vengeance, or even the challenge of overcoming the impossible.
    STARTING GOLD: As PHB Paladin
    STARTING AGE: As PHB Paladin


    Class Skills
    The dreadlord’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spellcraft (Int)
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Spoiler
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    A pretty interesting set of skills, particularly regarding Disguise, of all skills. Here's a good explanation:

    Bluff and Disguise are necessary to hide the gradual transformation of the dreadlord into a death knight. Because of this, even if only wearing a cape and remaining evasive, a dreadlord can appear trustworthy; something necessary in a world where necromancy is usually seen as evil or, at least, uncivilized. If everything else fails, they can enter the shadows and hide; thus, they also get Hide as a class skill.

    The rest is pretty basic from a Divine Champion chassis (something you'd see from a Blackguard), save for Knowledge (arcana), in order to show knowledge about arcane necromancy (their spell list). With 4 skill points per class level as a base, they can afford most of these skills.


    Hit Die: d12.
    {TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|1st|2nd|3rd|4th
    1st|+1|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Dread touch|-|-|-|-
    2nd|+2|
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Dread resilience +2, Tomb-Tainted Soul|-|-|-|-
    3rd|+3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Dread aura, unnatural toughness|-|-|-|-
    4th|+4|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Rebuke undead|0|-|-|-
    5th|+5|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Abyssal blast 2/day, dread channeling|1|-|-|-
    6th|+6/+1|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Bonus feat, fear aura|1|-|-|-
    7th|+7/+2|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Dread resilience +4, dread fortification (25%)|1|-|-|-
    8th|+8/+3|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Unnatural toughness (DR 2/magic), mettle|2|0|-|-
    9th|+9/+4|
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Dread aura, dread focus|2|1|-|-
    10th|+10/+5|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Abyssal blast 3/day, bonus feat, dread wound|2|1|-|-
    11th|+11/+6/+1|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Unnatural toughness (DR 4/magic)|3|1|0|-
    12th|+12/+7/+2|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Dread resilience +6, undead mastery|3|2|1|-
    13th|+13/+8/+3|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Dread fortification (50%)|3|2|1|-
    14th|+14/+9/+4|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Bonus feat, improved mettle, unnatural toughness (DR 6/magic and good)|3|2|1|0
    15th|+15/+10+/5|
    +9
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |Abyssal blast 4/day, dread aura, dread channeling (full attack)|4|3|2|1
    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Spell resistance|4|3|2|1
    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Dread resilience +8, unnatural toughness (DR 8/magic and good)|4|3|2|2
    18th|+18/+13+/8+/3|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Bonus feat, dreadsoul sword|4|3|3|2
    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Dread fortification (100%)|4|4|3|3
    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Abyssal blast 5/day, dread transformation, unnatural toughness (DR 10/epic and good)|4|4|3|3[/TABLE]

    Spoiler
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    As you can see, Dreadlords are pretty tough cookies to kill, and they get a very useful ability right from the beginning; the Dread Touch. While it starts much like the Charnel Touch, by the time you reach level 5 and Dread Channeling, you get the same touch as a Death Knight, but improved (and usable through weapons, something the original lacks unless it's a natural weapon). By 10th level, you get the full effect of a Death Knight's touch, including the Constitution damage.

    The rest takes many, many cues from the Dread Necromancer and the Paladin (of Tyranny or Slaughter, mostly), such as the Unnatural Toughness (to replicate the damage reduction; it's eventually improved to magic and good because damage reduction X/magic is hilariously easy to pass), Dread Fortification (eventual immunity to critical hits and saving throws) and Dread Resilience (resistances that eventually become immunities) alongside Rebuke Undead.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the dreadlord.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dreadlords are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with all shields.
    Because the somatic components required for dreadlord spells are simple, the dreadlord may use his spells while wearing light or medium armor, and while using a light shield. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a dreadlord wearing heavy armor or using a heavy or tower shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component (most do). A multiclass dreadlord still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

    Spoiler
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    Befitting their martial bent, dreadlords gain the ability to cast spells in medium armor from the beginning, giving them pretty good defense. Eventually they get to cast in heavy armor, but medium armor and light shields provide some excellent protection early on. As you can notice, they can use tower shields; if you consider adding tower shields odd, feel free to mention it.


    Dread Touch (Su): Amongst the first things a dreadlord learns upon his journey to undeath is the ability to manipulate a small reserve of negative energy. This reserve starts small, but as he progresses, the damage becomes considerable. At will (but only once per round), a dreadlord may make a melee touch attack that deals 1d8 points of negative energy damage to living creatures. This touch can be used to heal undead creatures of 1 hit point of damage.

    Spoiler
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    Much like Paladins and Blackguards get smites, Dreadlords get...the Death Knight's touch. While it may deal less damage than just making a melee attack, since it's a melee touch, it has a better chance of hitting, and the damage isn't so bad for an at-will ability (unlike Smite, which is usually a daily ability, and most homebrew fixes make it encounter-based). As it stands, it's mechanically similar to the Dread Necromancer's Charnel Touch, and that's intentional. However, unlike the Dread Necromancer, the Dread Touch has a special benefit that appears only one level afterwards.


    Dread Resilience (Ex): At 2nd level, a dreadlord begins to assume some of the unnatural features of undead creatures, his body infused with a hint of negative energy that grows as he progresses deeper into the journey to undeath. He gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws related to disease, death effects, paralysis, poison and sleep effects. This bonus increases by 2 every five class levels after the 2nd. At 7th level, this also applies to ability damage, ability drain and energy drain effects; at 12th level, this applies to all spells of the necromancy subschool.

    Spoiler
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    So yeah: the Dreadlord gets more resilient against special attacks, even though there's the precedent of early immunities. Certainly, being immune to disease by 3rd level or magical sleep effects as a racial ability might make this somewhat weak, but since you also have good Fortitude and Will saves, you're pretty much immune anyways. You also get strong resistances against death effects, paralysis and poison, something you don't get until much, MUCH later. Certainly, getting five immunities at 2nd level isn't fair, but a combination of special resistances and naturally high saves works well (it works for the Paladin, no?). By 7th level, you get resistances against eight difference effects, and by 12th level you get resistances against nine different effects, and with the combination of good saves, good ability scores (well, not very high Will saves, but if you get Force of Personality, you apply Charisma to them, and thus get very high saves).

    Of course, if you've read thus far, you might suspect that all these resistances might become moot by the time you reach the capstone, OR if you become a Necropolitan. Or is it...? Read on.


    Tomb-Tainted Soul: At 2nd level, a dreadlord gains the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat as a bonus feat. See Libris Mortis, page 31 for more details.

    Spoiler
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    Yep: you get to use your Dread Touch to heal yourself (out of combat, of course) at will, as if you were using a Cure Minor (or should it be Inflict Minor) Wounds spell every round. Plus, you open the Tomb-Tainted line, in case you don't end up taking the capstone: the more feats, the better, no?


    Dread Aura (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a dreadlord serves as a font of negative energy which causes dread upon his enemies. This manifests as an aura that has a small distance, but that slowly increases in size as the dreadlord progresses.

    Projecting an aura is a swift action, and the dreadlord can only project one aura at a time. An aura remains in effect until the dreadlord uses a free action to dismiss it or he activates another aura in its place. A dreadlord can have a dread aura active continually; thus, an aura can be in effect at the start of an encounter even before he takes his first turn.

    A dreadlord that acquires this ability must choose from one of the auras presented below. Unless otherwise noted, the range of the aura is of 60 feet. As a dreadlord progresses in levels, he learns to manifest more auras and the size of his auras increase; at 9th level, he gains the ability to manifest one more aura from the list and his aura increases to 75 feet; at 15th level, a dreadlord gains the ability to manifest another aura and his area of effect increases to 90 feet. Opponents within the area of effect of the aura must have line of effect to the dreadlord in order to be affected by it. The dreadlord’s aura is dismissed if he becomes unconscious or slain, but otherwise it remains in effect even if she is incapable of acting.

    All of the aura’s penalties start at -1, and increase by 1 for every three class levels of the dreadlord. If the dreadlord has the ability to manifest other kinds of auras (such as the dragon shaman’s draconic auras from Player’s Handbook II or the marshal’s major auras from Miniatures Handbook, but not draconic auras gained from feats or the marshal’s minor auras), his auras increase in power: for every two points of bonus from other auras, the dreadlord's dread aura’s penalties increase by 1, and for every two points of penalty from the dread auras, all other auras’ bonuses increase by 1.

    Blasphemy: profane bonus to Armor Class and saving throws to all allies. A creature benefitting from the prayer spell or a similar spell (such as the recitation spell or the divine protection spell from Spell Compendium) has its effect suppressed while within the aura's range; an ally taking a penalty from a similar spell has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura.

    Cowardice: penalty on saving throws. A creature benefitting from the heroism spell or the inspire courage effect has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura. This aura is suppressed within all areas a paladin's aura of courage applies, unless the dreadlord is of higher level than the paladin.

    Despair: penalty on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls. A creature benefitting from the good hope spell has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura.

    Despoiling: bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls to all undead creatures within the aura (this includes the dreadlord). This suppresses the effect of a consecrate spell on all areas this aura touches.

    Weakness: penalty to Armor Class. Allies within the aura's area of effect may ignore a number of points of damage reduction equal to the aura's penalty if the damage reduction is bypassed by magic weapons or weapons of evil alignment. At 18th level this also applies to damage reduction bypassed by epic weapons.

    Spoiler
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    Fun auras, no?

    For the Dread Auras, I took inspiration from the Project Heretica Blackguard and the Bez-Kismet, particularly from the second because it progresses auras in the same way (and the auras grant penalties rather than bonuses, though some grant bonuses). However, the fun part comes where they become capable of disabling the effect of some common buffs and spells (the Paladin's aura of courage, the Bard's inspire courage, and the spells mentioned above). Dread auras are strong debuffs (loss of attack and damage bonuses, AC and saves, and even some bonuses to allies), but if the enemy attempts to buff itself, it may end up with a nasty surprise when it sees its benefits suppressed. Makes the dreadlord a deadlier challenge, particularly as a BBEG or dragon (the latter figuratively speaking).


    Unnatural Toughness (Ex): At 3rd level, a dreadlord's skin withers and toughens, assuming some of the traits of the undead. He gains a +1 bonus to his natural armor; if he already has a source of natural armor, this benefit is treated as an enhancement bonus to natural armor. This bonus increases by 1 for every 3 class levels after the 3rd, up to a +6 bonus at 18th level.

    At 8th level, the dreadlord's skin becomes even more resilient. He gains damage reduction 2, bypassed only by magic weapons. This damage reduction increases by 2 for every three class levels after 8th, up to 10 points of damage reduction at 20th level. At 14th level, the damage reduction can only be bypassed by magic weapons of good alignment, and by 20th level only by epic weapons of good alignment.

    Spoiler
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    So yeah: by 3rd level, you get natural armor, so you become harder to kill. By 8th level, you also get damage reduction, becoming doubly harder to kill.

    The way Unnatural Toughness works, though, is interesting: if you have natural armor bonuses, the class-based increase is treated as an enhancement bonus, so it won't stack with an Amulet of Natural Armor (or Barkskin), but it'll usually end up being higher, so you're basically freeing a slot. If you don't have natural armor, you get a slowly increasing source AND you can add natural armor on top of it. That way, the dreadlord gets roughly the same amount of natural armor (in fact, 1 point higher) than the death knight, which is a nice bonus. Of course, in order to get a better natural armor than that of the death knight, you need to be nearly level 15th...roughly the same cap if you choose to "eat" the LA for the template. The damage reduction is slightly better, since (using the conversion booklet) the Dreadlord gains the same amount of DR as the Death Knight, but much harder to resist.


    Spellcasting: At 4th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to cast a small amount of arcane spells, which are drawn from the dreadlord's spell list (see below). Like a sorcerer, he may cast any spell he knows ahead of time. When a dreadlord gains access to a new spell level, he automatically knows all the spells for that level given in the dreadlord's spell list. Unlike similar classes, the dreadlord may not increase his spell list through further study (such as by the advanced learning class feature), but he may add spells to his spell list if he enters a class or prestige class that does.

    To cast a spell, a dreadlord must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a dreadlord’s spell is 10 + twice the spell’s level + his Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a dreadlord can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given in the table above. In addition, he receives bonus spells for a high Charisma score (see Table 1–1 on page 8 of the Player’s Handbook).

    Spoiler
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    Yep: spontaneous (Necromancy) specialist half caster. That's a new one for my homebrews, at least; that's usually one of the ways Paladin spells are handled by other 'brewers, ironically. That means you get a whole bunch of spells accessible on your spell list, but all of them are fixed. However, being an arcane caster, you can find ways to improve them (such as, say, Arcane Disciple?).

    EDIT: Oh yeah, this is a slight boost that's part of the Divine Champion chassis: considering they get spells with saving throw DCs, they need those DCs to be worthwhile. Thus, their spells have their save DC by means of spell levels doubled. That should make the spells that have saving throw DCs more powerful.


    Rebuke Undead (Su): At 4th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to rebuke or command undead creatures by channeling negative energy. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. He rebukes undead as a cleric of three levels lower would (see Turn or Rebuke Undead, PHB 159).

    Spoiler
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    A Dreadlord is meant to lead the undead. Thus, they get the power to rebuke and, eventually, control the undead. In case you don't want to, you can power up divine feats through it, but at least they get an incentive to get loads of undead around them (their auras, for once, improve your undead).

    A key aspect to consider is that you'll probably end up contolling usually weak undead (zombies, skeletons, ghouls, ghasts, etc.), which is curiously what you get as part of the Death Knight template. This is basically a taste of their eventual power to invoke undead, and with the ability to cast Animate Dead, you can effectively control a vast army of undead between the three abilities.


    Abyssal Blast (Sp): At 5th level, twice per day the dreadlord gains the ability to unleash a blast of unholy energy which manifests as if a fireball. Treat as the fireball spell, except as follows: the amount of damage dealt is equal to 1d6 per dreadlord's character level (including racial Hit Dice; the dreadlord ignores the level cap on damage), the saving throw DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the dreadlord's character level (including racial Hit Dice) + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier, and half the damage is of negative energy damage and ignores fire resistance. Undead creatures instead take no damage; undead creatures with fire resistance instead heal a number of hit points equal to their energy resistance or half the damage from the abyssal blast, whichever is lower (and undead immune to fire instead heal hit points equal to half that amount); undead creatures vulnerable to fire take one quarter of the total damage. At 10th level, and every five levels afterwards, the dreadlord gains the ability to use abyssal blast one more time per day.

    Spoiler
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    You read it right. Oh, you didn't read it? Well, I'm so nice I'll explain why this is good.

    So yeah: Dreadlords get the same power as Death Knights, but they get more uses out of it. But that's not all: even if you get 5 levels of Dreadlord and thus only get 2 uses of Abyssal Blast, you still get to deal large amounts of damage with them because it scales with your character level, not to class level. So far, the only difference between the template ability and the class feature is the large amount of uses...

    ...until I point this out to you: unlike the template ability, there's no level cap. That's right (and the reason why I said "you read right"); if you're a 30th level character, the attack deals 30d6 points of damage, and it'll be insanely hard to resist (well, if you're a pure-classed Dreadlord). And you get several uses per day out of it. Sure: fire is the most resisted ability, but half of that damage is negative-energy based, and thus you need two different kinds of resistances or immunities in order for it to work. Naturally, undead take no damage because you heal the same amount of damage you suffer (i.e. you take fire damage, you heal from the negative energy damage), and thus I found important to explain the interactions with undead (or creatures with some degree of resistance, immunity or absorption of negative energy or fire).


    Dread Channeling (Su): At 5th level, a dreadlord's dread touch becomes stronger. The dreadlord adds his Charisma modifier to the damage dealt by the dread touch, plus 1 point of damage for every four class levels. Furthermore, he may channel this damage though his melee weapon, dealing the extra necromantic damage if he succeeds on the attack roll. The dreadlord may apply this only once per round as a free action, as usual, and if he uses his dread touch through his weapon, he may not use it as part of a touch attack. The dreadlord may choose to apply this benefit to his unarmed strikes; if he does, his unarmed strike is treated as if dealing lethal damage and all damage is treated as negative energy damage.

    At 15th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to manifest his dread touch at every moment, not merely once per round. He is still limited to the amount of attacks he may do per round. He may alternate these touches with melee attacks, and may make either a touch attack or a melee attack as part of an attack of opportunity (applying the extra damage).

    Spoiler
    Show
    So yeah, lemme explain this in a bit more detail.

    At 5th level, you get the ability to add your Charisma to the dread touch, and use it through melee weapons (the Death Knight only allows it through natural weapons). Since you can only use Dread Touch once per round, the slight indication of "[you] may apply this only once per round as a free action, as usual" may seem like an oxymoron. By 15th level, you get to use dread touch at will, but only one of the touches gets the Charisma bonus (and may manifest through your melee weapon); the other attacks are merely touch attacks. That way, you can channel dread touch through your first attack, make a second attack with your melee weapon, and your last attacks can be touch attacks.

    Regarding AoO: since you can use a dread touch once per round as a free action, that means you can use a dread touch as part of an attack of opportunity, but if you already used it for the round, you can't use it again...until level 15th, where you can use it any time you can attack, and thus you can make a dread touch attack even if you already made one earlier on. That said, you can only use Dread Channeling once, either as part of a touch attack or channeled through your melee weapon.

    That should explain it nicely.


    Bonus Feat: At 6th level, and every four levels after that, a dreadlord gains a bonus feat in addition to those he obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, divine feats, reserve feats (see Complete Mage) or from the list provided below. A dreadlord must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a dreadlord is considered to have a fighter level equal to his class level -4.

    Dreadlord Bonus Feat List: Arcane Defense, Arcane Mastery, Arcane Preparation, Combat Casting, Daunting Presence, Death Master*, Empower Turning, Eschew Materials, Eviscerator*, Extra Slot, Extra Spell, Greater Spell Focus, Greater Spell Penetration, Heighten Turning, Lifesense**, Necromantic Might, Necromantic Presence, Positive Energy Resistance*, Quicken Turning, Ranged Spell Specialization, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Touch Spell Specialization.
    *: the dreadlord is treated as an undead creature for purposes of these feats.
    **: the dreadlord is treated as an undead creature with no Constitution score for purposes of this feat.

    Spoiler
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    As usual, when I use the Divine Champion chassis, I grant them bonus feats. The Dreadlord is unique in that they get a massive amount of bonus feats, because they not only get fighter bonus feats, divine feats and reserve feats, but also their own list. That list includes feats that require you to be an undead (and some to have a score of Con -), making it one of the few classes that explicitly allows you to ignore requirements for a fraction of their bonus feats (the Monk does it for ALL feats, not just a fraction, so there!)

    You'll notice a distinct lack of the Corpsecrafter line. This is intentional, but if you feel they can make good use of it, feel free to point that out to me. They don't get that many feats, so make sure you measure carefully which feats to take, as Eviscerator tops off a pretty sweet line (particularly if you have other forms of fear, like...say, the Fear Aura or a method of Demoralizing?)


    Fear Aura (Su): At 6th level, the dreadlord gains an unnerving presence that chills the souls of even the bravest of warriors. At the beginning of combat, any opponents within the dreadlord's dread aura range must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the dreadlord's class level + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier) or be affected by a fear spell cast by a sorcerer of the death knight's level. Creatures with more than twice the amount of HD of the dreadlord are not affected, while creatures of half the dreadlord's HD (including racial Hit Dice) automatically fail their save. If a creature saves against the dreadlord's fear aura, it becomes immune to the effect of the spell for 24 hours. If the dreadlord has no dread aura active at the beginning of combat, creatures are not affected until the dreadlord activates his dread aura. Deactivating and reactivating the dread aura likewise forces a new save.

    Spoiler
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    This is a pretty powerful aura, and it's gained at a pretty early level. A Sorcerer or Wizard has to wait until 7th level to get this ability, and Dreadlords manifest it at-will, one level earlier. What's worse, if the enemy is weak enough, they automatically fail their save, becoming completely panicked for a good number of round (read: incapacitated!). Even against creatures between half to full HD compared to yours, the effect is pretty nasty. Think about it; if you're powerful enough, you can make a dragon cower...even if you're shaken from the dragon's frightful presence. Fun, no?

    Of course, if they pass the save, they get temporary immunity, so make it count.


    Dread Fortification (Ex): At 7th level, the body of the dreadlord withers even further, without risking his life. This grants him a deathly pallor, but also great resilience against potentially lethal attacks. Because of this, any critical hit has a 25% chance of failure; this also applies to sneak attacks and other such precision damage. Effects such as flaming burst, which activate as part of a critical hit, are unaffected, but effects such as Stunning Fist (and similar abilities) do.

    At 13th level, the fortification increases to 50%. At 19th level, the dreadlord becomes immune to critical hits and related effects.

    Spoiler
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    Yay, Tomb-Born Fortitude for free! Well, sorta; the Dread Necromancer gets the same ability, so it's only fair that the Dreadlord gains increasing immunity to critical hits (until, one level before capping, they become completely immune). That makes Dreadlords even HARDER to kill.


    Mettle (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, if a dreadlord makes a successful Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the save’s effect, he suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a saving throw entry of “partial” or “half” are affected by this ability, and only for purposes of Will and/or Fortitude saves with these descriptors.

    Spoiler
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    Pretty typical: if the Divine Champion chassis is there, Mettle (and Imp. Mettle) will be there. 'Nuff said. With their insanely high Fort and Will saves against most of the effects that require them (save for, say, Disintegrate), you can probably ensure virtually nothing affects you.

    Say, isn't Fortitude the weakest save of Undead? Another buff for the Dreadlord!


    Dread Focus (Sp): At 9th level, spells cast by a dreadlord are enhanced to such an extent that they resemble divine spells. A dreadlord may cast spells from his own spell list (and using his spell slots) while wielding heavy armor and using any kind of shield. Spells still require material components whenever necessary (both arcane and regular), however.

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    Better late than never: by 9th level, you can cast spells on the heaviest armor you can find, and with the best shield you can muster (if you believe on shields, though). That's even MORE AC for the Dreadlord (well, not THAT much, but they get more AC than most people because of their natural armor bonus from Unnatural Toughness), so that makes them...you know what, this is getting repetitive. You get the idea.


    Dread Wound (Su): At 10th level, whenever a dreadlord uses his dread touch attack, or channels negative energy through his weapon by means of dread channeling, he may deal a point of Constitution damage with each attack. However, afflicted creatures may make a Will saving throw (DC 10 +1/2 the dreadlord's class level + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier) to ignore the Constitution damage. If using dread touch to heal an undead creature, the dreadlord instead heals 1d8 points of damage plus his Charisma modifier (plus the bonus from dread channeling).

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    Believe it or not, the Death Knight's touch deals 1 point of Constitution damage, but a Will save negates it. The Dreadlord, however, doesn't halve the damage from its Dread Touch, so the touch is now officially better in nearly all ways to the Death Knight's touch. -1 Con damage on an AoO? Nifty.


    Undead Mastery: All undead creatures created by a dreadlord who has reached 12th level or higher gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per Hit Die. In addition, when a dreadlord uses the animate dead spell to create undead, she can control 4 + his Charisma bonus HD worth of undead creatures per class level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted by the spell). Similarly, when a dreadlord casts the control undead spell, the spell targets up to (2 + his Cha bonus) HD/level of undead creatures, rather than the 2 HD/level normally granted by the spell.

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    Oh look, the same benefit as Corpsecrafter. Hehe, I forgot to mention it; by 12th level, they get Corpsecrafter for free, but not the line. You can still get the feat (and thus, your undead will have 4 hp/HD), but if you don't have enough, your undead will still be pretty nasty.

    But yeah: the dreadlord gains the same undead controlling and creating potential as a dread necromancer, so that's yet another boon to them. No, I don't intend to replace the Dread Necromancer with the Dreadlord (this class is the martial-inclined version of the Dread Necro), and this isn't my favorite class (how many times must I say my favorite class is Paladin!?), but with all the goodies they're getting, you may feel I'm either attempting to replace the Dread Necro or that this class is my favorite. At least, it'll be pretty powerful (but surely NOT a Tier 2 class).


    Improved Mettle (Ex): At 14th level, a dreadlord’s mettle ability improves. He still takes no effect on a successful Will or Fortitude save that has the “partial” or “half” descriptor, but henceforth he takes only the partial effect or half the damage on a failed save.

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    Not much to say here, except that this protects the future death knight from those pesky "Fort-save spells that affect objects" just in case. Again: more survivability.


    Spell Resistance (Su): A dreadlord of 16th level or higher gains spell resistance equal to 15 + his class level.

    Spoiler
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    The Death Knight has spell resistance; the Dreadlord also gains spell resistance. They get a much more potent version, but they don't get a way to allow your allies to bypass it.


    Dreadsoul Weapon (Su): At 18th level, a dreadlord begins to disassociate from his body, gaining the limited ability to cheat death in preparation for his undeath. By crafting a special weapon (usually a sword) with a specially chosen gem, he may infuse the weapon with a degree of his own power and use it as a receptacle for his soul after his death.

    To craft the weapon, a dreadlord must succeed on a Craft check to create a masterwork version of his chosen weapon, and he must add to the base materials cost a gem or crystal worth 100 gp and expend up to 4 xp. The dreadlord is treated as if having the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat (if he doesn't have already) for purposes of making this weapon, and may enchant it with the spells he chooses. Once done, the weapon becomes a dreadsoul weapon. This weapon is attuned only to the dreadlord, and anyone who wishes to use it takes a negative penalty for as long as the dreadlord is alive. A dreadlord may summon his dreadsoul weapon to his hand as a swift action for up to 100 ft. per class level. If the dreadsoul weapon is destroyed, a dreadlord may make a new one after a month it was destroyed.

    If the dreadlord is slain while wielding this weapon (or within 30 feet of it), the dreadlord may then choose to enter the soul receptacle of his dreadsoul weapon and inhabit it for as long as necessary. While inhabiting his dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord grants it the unholy weapon property (if it doesn't has it already), an enhancement bonus equal to 1 for every 5 character levels (including racial Hit Dice, unless the weapon has a higher enhancement bonus) and imbues it with his own intellect. The weapon has an Ego score equal 12 plus to your character level plus your Charisma modifier (instead of the usual Ego score), and the dreadlord may use his dread touch and abyssal blast as part of the weapon's powers. While inhabiting his dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord may allow the wielder to use it without imposing a negative level (even if the creature is good-aligned, in which case it also allows it to ignore the negative level penalty from the unholy special quality).

    At any moment while inhabiting the dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord may choose to inhabit any nearby corpse. The corpse may be of any humanoid, monstrous humanoid, giant, or the dreadlord's own race type (such as dragon for a dragon-type dreadlord), but the creature may not have more racial Hit Dice than the dreadlord. The corpse may not have been slain for more than one hour per dreadlord class level or a day, whichever is lower. Once the dreadlord decides to inhabit the body, it is treated as if it had received a resurrection spell and the dreadlord gains full control of the body; at that moment, the dreadlord's dreadsoul weapon loses all properties granted by it and imposes the negative level penalty, as usual. A dreadsoul weapon which has the dreadlord's soul inside that gets destroyed automatically sends the dreadlord's soul to the Lower Planes, effectively killing it.

    A dreadlord may use this ability once per month. At 20th level, the dreadlord may use this ability at any moment it perishes.

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    Fun fact: the lich, as you may know, encases its soul on a phylactery, effectively binding its soul to the item and thus anchoring it to the world of the living. Thus, what would be the death knight's equivalent?

    Those who know will say "none, because the god that empowers it returns it to life whenever necessary!" But, as you may know, not all dreadlords have to worship a deity, and not all are actually evil. Thus, dreadlords (and only dreadlords) gain the ability to anchor their soul to their weapon, much like a lich can bind its soul to a phylactery, and remain alive despite having no gods sponsoring them. It also explains why they're so different (and also why they're more powerful) than your typical death knight.

    The Dreadsoul Weapon is less of a MacGuffin that all liches must protect and instead becomes a tool the dreadlord will use very often. For once, they can summon it at-will, so they're effectively never unarmed. As well, they can modify it as they desire (it doesn't have to be a sword, and no two dreadsoul weapons are the same), as they get the benefit of a Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat for it (and since they can cast some spells, they can enchant them a bit further; else, they can get assistance from a friendly caster).

    One key difference, though, is that the Dreadlord gets to cheat death two levels earlier than the Dread Necromancer. If they get killed, they can inhabit the weapon, thus passing as loot (and which self-respected adventurer, save for a devout of the good gods, would pass the opportunity of holding a really awesome weapon?). Then, when least expected, you can simply let your new "owner" kill a suitable body, possess it, and finish the job. As far as DM tricks go, this one is pretty nasty. As far as player tricks go, this one is pretty hilarious. I'd like to see Dread Necromancers pull THIS off...

    Of course, it requires a month for this ability to recharge (up until 20th level, when you become an actual death knight), so make sure this second chance actually counts...


    Dread Transformation: At 20th level, the dreadlord abandons his mortal coil, eternally becoming one of the undead. The dreadlord forevermore becomes undead, and gains all the attributes of a death knight (see Monster Manual II, page 207) except as follows:
    • A dreadlord retains all hit points it currently has, but loses his Constitution score. Thus, he gains bonus hit points equal to his former Constitution score (if any). A dreadlord does not need to reroll hit points.
    • A dreadlord gains a bonus to all Fortitude saves equal to his dread resilience class feature.
    • A dreadlord does not gain undead followers unless it has the Leadership feat (or the Undead Leadership feat; see Libris Mortis page 31 for more details).
    • A dreadlord's negative energy touch, abyssal blast and fear aura are based on his class, not the template. If any one of these features depends on his class level, it instead depends on his character level (including racial Hit Dice).


    A dreadlord may choose to assume his former humanoid form or his undead form; when assuming his base form, he is treated as if under the effect of a disguise self spell and thus gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Disguise checks. When first assuming his death knight form, the dreadlord may choose to assume a zombie-like appearance or a skeletal appearance; this does not affect his abilities. If he changes his body by means of his dreadsoul weapon class feature, he may choose between the form of his new body, his original form or his undead form, and he may switch his undead appearance at the moment he acquires the new body. When acquiring a new body by means of his dreadsoul weapon, the body is no longer resurrected, but instead reanimated by necromantic energy, immediately gaining the benefits of the death knight template (as presented here).

    Unlike other classes, a non-humanoid dreadlord may gain the death knight template (this is an exception to the norm) except for undead creatures (which retain their traits). If a dreadlord becomes a death knight (or lich, or a similar undead template) before his 20th level of dreadlord, he may ignore his level adjustment but otherwise retain his features.

    Unlike other such templates, a dreadlord retains his own alignment, although he may choose to become evil if he so desires.

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    And here's the capstone you were waiting for: you become a Death Knight, but with a few exceptions.

    The sudden loss of Constitution and the defined bonus hit points smell of exploit, so let's make it clear: the amount of hit points you get as a bonus becomes equal to 20 times your former base Constitution bonus. Therefore, if you had a base Constitution score of 20, you get 100 bonus hit points, permanently. For this purpose, "base" implies the Constitution score you started with, plus any advances by means of level-ups, plus any inherent bonus you may have had. Thus, let's say you had a 18 Con, a +5 inherent bonus to Constitution and you spent all your level-based ability score increases in Con; your base Constitution score would be 28, and thus you'd get 140 bonus hit points when you reach level 20 (20 levels x a Constitution modifier of +7). If you, for some reason, had a negative Constitution modifier, you don't suddenly lose HP.

    Also, the loss of Con means a loss of Fortitude, but here's where Dread Resilience becomes relevant again; it replaces your lost Con-based Foritude save. Remember I told you Dread Resilience would become relevant?

    A final thing to notice is that Death Knights, by definition, are always evil humanoids. This breaks the restriction; thus, you can have a Dragonborn Death Knight, or even a Warforged Death Knight. Let that sink in a bit. Warforged. Death Knight. You know, just like a Dread Necromancer can make Liches out of Warforged. Thus, while humanoids may get to be Death Knights before, only Dreadlords can make Death Knights out of virtually anyone (even Necropolitans, though that's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one).

    About that last bit...what it means is that, if you already get the Death Knight template, or somehow get the Lich template, before 20th level, once you reach 20th level IN the class you drop off the the LA. Thus, a ECL 25th Lich Dreadlord will eventually become a ECL 20 Lich Dreadlord upon reaching class level 20. Simple enough?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2013-11-15 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Fixing a few things, clarifying others, and boosting one more.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    DREADLORD SPELL LIST
    1st Level: bane, bestow wound, cause fear, chill touch, command, deathwatch, detect magic, detect undead, dispel magic, doom, entropic shield, hide from undead, inflict light wounds, magic weapon, obscuring mist, phantom threat, protection from chaos/good/law, ray of enfeeblement, read magic, summon undead I, undetectable alignment, unseen servant
    2nd Level: aid, animate dead, bear's endurance, blindness/deafness, blur, bull's strength, cat's grace, command undead, darkness, death knell, desecrate, eagle's splendor, enthrall, false life, gentle repose, ghoul touch, inflict moderate wounds, protection from arrows, rage, resist energy, scare, scorching ray, see invisibility, spectral hand, spider climb, summon swarm, summon undead II
    3rd Level: crushing despair, death ward, deeper darkness, dominate person, greater dispel magic, greater magic weapon, halt undead, inflict serious wounds, magic circle against chaos/good/law, magic vestment, nondetection, protection from energy, ray of exhaustion, slow, speak with dead, summon undead III, vampiric touch
    4th Level: antilife shell, bestow curse, break enchantment, cloudkill, cone of cold, contagion, contact other plane, create undead, dispel chaos/good/law, dominate monster, enervation, Evard’s black tentacles, fear, fire shield, giant vermin, inflict critical wounds, nightmare, phantasmal killer, poison, summon undead IV, unholy blight

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    This is the simple spell list the Dreadlord possesses. Most of the spells in the list are taken straight from the Dread Necromancer; thus, if you see a spell that seems odd (like, say, Summon Undead), assume it's on the book of Heroes of Horror or on the Spell Compendium.

    The rest is a collection of arcane attack spells, buffs and debuffs, plus a few spells from the Blackguard list. Aside from their Abyssal Blast, the Dreadlord gains Scorching Ray and Cone of Cold, so they can attack from afar if necessary. The Inflict Wounds line adds to their damage potential a bit further, so you're modestly covered there. The buffs are pretty reasonable, including rarities such as See Invisibility, Death Ward (and earlier than most half-casters, on top of that), and both version of Fire Shield. In the area of debuffs, the Dreadlord gains the ever-useful Enervation, the whole Fear and Dominate X line, and even Evard's Black Tentacles.

    The reason why their spell list is quite robust, and spreads well beyond the Necromancy focus of the Dread Necromancer, is because Necromancy is their specialty, but their flavor is quite distinct. There's also the fact that they need all the help they can get.

    That said, the Dreadlord list can be padded. I'll only request you the following: the spells MUST come from the PHB or the Libris Mortis/Heroes of Horror books, and they must fit the idea of a Dread Necromancer or the kind of spells you'd expect from a fiendish gish (the rhyme isn't intentional). Since they lack Advanced Learning, they should get the best list they can get.


    ALTERNATE CLASS FEATURE: Shadow Knight
    More than one way exists to achieve undeath. Some, like the eponymous shadow, exist between light and darkness, and are as every bit as vicious as the typical corporeal undead.
    Level: 3rd
    Replaces: Spellcasting, abyssal blast, unnatural toughness, mettle/improved mettle, dread wound, dread transformation
    Benefit: The dreadlord gains a deflection bonus to his Armor Class equal to his Charisma modifier; he may add up to one point of his Charisma modifier at 3rd level, and one extra point every 3 levels (up to 6 points at 18th level). At 20th level, he may instead add his full Charisma modifier. Furthermore, starting from 8th level, the dreadlord distorts light surrounding him and covers him in an aura of shadows, causing all attacks done to him to have a miss chance. This miss chance starts at 10%, and increases by 10% for every three dreadlord class levels, up to a 50% miss chance at 20th level.

    Beginning at 4th level, a dreadlord gains the ability to use mysteries. At 4th level, a dreadlord gains the ability to use mysteries from one path, and may choose a new path at level 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th. A dreadlord begins capable only of choosing mysteries from the apprentice paths; at 14th level, a dreadlord becomes capable of casting mysteries from the initiate paths and all of his apprentice path mysteries become spell-like abilities.

    A dreadlord may use each mystery from a single path once per day; at 14th level, he may use his apprentice mysteries three times per day. A dreadlord may, instead of choosing a new path at any given level, may choose from any of his already chosen paths; if doing so, he progresses further down his path as if he had gained the ability to choose initiate mysteries, turning those specific mysteries into spell-like abilities and gaining the ability to cast them three times per day. A third choice of the same path allows the dreadlord to treat his mysteries as supernatural abilities, usable five times per day. A dreadlord may not choose the same path more than three times. A character that chooses to delve further down a path gains no further uses of his mysteries at 14th level (effectively, he sacrifices to an extent his progression in other paths for greater understanding of a single one), except as follows. After 14th level, if the character decides to delve further into his apprentice mysteries, he is treated as if he had already progressed further down his path once (thus, a 13th level dreadlord that has progressed upon a path three times gains no benefit from the enhancement at 14th level, but a 14th level dreadlord can sacrifice his path choice at 14th level on an apprentice path and treat said path’s mysteries as supernatural abilities usable 5/day).

    The Difficulty Class for a dreadlord’s mystery is equal to 10 + the mystery’s effective spell level + the dreadlord’s Charisma modifier. If the dreadlord’s mysteries become supernatural abilities, the saving throw DC for these mysteries becomes 10 + ½ the dreadlord’s class level + the dreadlord’s Charisma modifier. Although the dreadlord has no actual caster level, it is treated as if having a caster level equal to his class level for purposes of determining the effect of mysteries.

    A 5th level dreadlord gains the ability to use telekinesis twice per day, plus one more time every 5 class levels afterwards. His effective caster level for this ability is equal to his character level, and he may use the violent thrust motion without expending his energy, but he must wait 1d4 rounds to use it again. He is treated as if concentrating on the spell and thus may use any other abilities while retaining the benefits of his telekinesis.

    A 6th level dreadlord may not choose reserve feats, but he may choose from any feat that enhances mysteries (see Tome of Magic, page 136 for more information).

    A 8th level dreadlord gains evasion, as the monk class feature, except he may use it on medium armor. At 13th level, he may use this ability on heavy armor.

    A 10th level dreadlord that makes a dread touch attack may instead deal 1d4 points of Strength drain. If he slays a creature by means of his Strength draining touch, the creature rises as a shadow under his control 1d4 rounds later, up to a maximum of Hit Dice equal to 4 plus his effective caster level when casting mysteries. The dreadlord still heals 1d8 points of damage plus his Charisma modifier plus his bonus to damage, as usual, when touching undead creatures.

    At 20th level, the dreadlord's soul completely separates from his body, effectively becoming a shadow. The dreadlord is treated as if it had the ghost template, except for the following benefits:
    • A dreadlord retains all hit points it currently has, but loses his Constitution score. Thus, he gains bonus hit points equal to his former Constitution score (if any). A dreadlord does not need to reroll hit points.
    • A dreadlord gains a bonus to all Fortitude saves equal to his dread resilience class feature.
    • A dreadlord is always treated as if manifesting, but retains his incorporeal status. He may make melee incorporeal touch attacks or strike with his dreadsoul weapon, as he chooses.
    • A dreadlord's malevolence ability has a DC equal to 10 + half his dreadlord character level + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier. The dreadlord may use his dread touch, telekinesis, aura of dread and other such class features while possessing another creature. If the creature is slain, he appears at a square 5 feet adjacent, but he may not possess another creature.
    • A dreadlord does not gain the corrupting gaze, frightful moan and horrific appearance abilities, but he gains all other abilities from the ghost template.
    • A dreadlord gains cold resistance equal to 5 plus his character level (including racial Hit Dice), up to a maximum of 30.
    • A dreadlord gains darkvision up to 60 feet and low-light vision if he does not already has it.
    • A dreadlord gains the hide in plain sight ability, which works on all places except natural daylight.
    • A dreadlord's fly speed is equal to 40 ft. with perfect maneuverability
    • A dreadlord gains a luck bonus to all saving throws equal to one-half his dread resilience class feature, except for Fortitude (in which case he applies all the bonus)
    • A dreadlord may use plane shift to travel to the Plane of Shadow (and back) once per day. While on the Plane of Shadow, he regenerates 2 hit points per round. If the dreadlord perishes, he immediately travels to the Plane of Shadow even if he already used the ability; he is likewise shunned to the Plane of Shadow if he suffers the effect of a banishment spell (and thus is treated as an extraplanar creature on the Material Plane, but as a native creature to the Plane of Shadow). The dreadlord may travel from the Plane of Shadow to the Material Plane at-will, unless its hit points are taken to 0 in which he must wait a week.

    A dreadlord may choose to assume his former humanoid form or his incorporeal undead form; when assuming his base form, he is treated as if under the effect of a disguise self spell and thus gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Disguise checks. When first assuming his incorporeal undead form, the dreadlord may choose to assume a wraith-like or a shadow-like appearance; this does not affect his abilities.

    Unlike other classes, a dreadlord may gain the ghost template even if he wouldn't otherwise be capable of acquiring it (this is an exception to the norm) except for undead creatures (which retain their traits). If a dreadlord becomes a ghost (or wraith, or shadow, or a similar undead) before his 20th level of dreadlord, he may ignore his level adjustment but otherwise retain his features.

    Unlike other such templates, a dreadlord retains his own alignment, although he may choose to become evil if he so desires.

    Spoiler
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    The first ACF for the class makes the Dreadlord become an incorporeal Death Knight, and also allows it to use Mysteries. Just like with the Hexblade Bez-Kismet, I find that shadowcasting is a woefully underused casting method, and I figured that the Dreadlord could dabble into it.

    However, you may notice that mysteries progress slightly differently. The reason is pretty simple: the way it progresses is...underwhelming. You get only 1 mystery per level at first, then your lower-level mysteries (the ones that are replaced by the higher-level ones) are usable only twice per day, and eventually reach a max of...three times per day. At most, you get less daily "spells" than a Wizard, and the Shadowcaster is essentially a "specialist", akin to an Illusionist, so they get far less spells per day than a pure Illusionist. Therefore, they get a 1/3/5 progression, including the ability to sacrifice gaining a new path to acquire more uses of an existing one. You'll notice that sacrificing a path also improves the mysteries themselves; thus, you can end up having your Novice-level powers act as supernatural abilities pretty early, instead of waiting.

    Being incorporeal creatures, it's reasonable that Shadow Knight dreadlords may want something they can actually use, so Abyssal Blast is replaced with Telekinesis, with the explicit exception of an improved Violent Thrust (usable more times per casting). Likewise, their Dread Transformation adds the Ghost template on top of the Death Knight template, bypassing both templates' restrictions in terms of which races can access them. Of course, as you may notice, the Ghost template makes them slightly more powerful Shadows (hence they becoming "Shadow" Knights), but keeping some of the traits of Ghosts (including Malevolence...)


    ALTERNATE CLASS FEATURE: Dread Pact Tenebrous
    Some dreadlords attune to negative energy in order to assume an undead form. You, on the other hand, pledge yourself to the demon lord Orcus, in order to gain unholy powers through your dark patron. You manifest fiendish traits during your career, and your journey to undeath will be forever tainted by the fiendish powers.
    Level: 3rd
    Replaces: Spellcasting, abyssal blast, dread transformation
    Prerequisite: Must be non-lawful as well as non-good, must worship Orcus as patron deity
    Benefit: The dreadlord gains the ability to use invocations, as if he were a warlock (see Complete Arcane). As well, his abyssal blast ability alters significantly.

    At 4th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to use a single invocation of least grade. He cannot choose eldritch blast shape or eldritch essence invocations, for he does not possess the eldritch blast ability. At 8th level, and again at 11th, 14th and 17th level, he may choose a new invocation from the least grade. Beginning at 11th level, the dreadlord can take invocations of lesser grade, and at 17th level he may choose a greater invocation. He may use each of these abilities as a spell-like ability at-will, restricted by the rules of invocations. His effective caster level for these invocations is equal to his class level.

    At 5th level, the dreadlord gains a lesser version of the abyssal blast class feature. Treat as the fireball spell, except half the damage dealt is negative energy damage. Undead creatures take no damage, unless they have fire resistance (in which case they heal an amount equal to their fire resistance or half the damage dealt, whichever is lower), fire immunity (in which case they heal half damage) or fire vulnerability (in which case they take one quarter the damage dealt). At 10th level, and every five levels afterwards, the dreadlord has the ability to improve his abyssal blast once per day (twice at 15th, three times at 20th) to deal damage equal to his class level; otherwise, he may use this ability at-will as if a lesser grade invocation.

    A 6th level dreadlord may not choose reserve feats as bonus feats, but he may choose feats that improve spell-like abilities (such as Empower Spell-Like Ability) and he may also choose Extra Invocation.

    At 20th level, a dreadlord gains the death knight template (as per the dread transformation class feature), but with one exception; he also gains the fiendish template on top. Thus, he gains the following traits:
    • A dreadlord retains all hit points it currently has, but loses his Constitution score. Thus, he gains bonus hit points equal to his former Constitution score (if any). A dreadlord does not need to reroll hit points.
    • A dreadlord gains a bonus to all Fortitude saves equal to his dread resilience class feature.
    • A dreadlord does not gain undead followers unless it has the Leadership feat (or the Undead Leadership feat; see Libris Mortis page 31 for more details).
    • A dreadlord's negative energy touch, abyssal blast and fear aura are based on his class, not the template. If any one of these features depends on his class level, it instead depends on his character level (including racial Hit Dice).
    • A dreadlord's smite good ability may be used once per encounter (instead of once per day). The dreadlord may combine his dread touch and his smite good ability at once. The dreadlord may use his smite good ability as part of a melee attack (this includes attacks of opportunity)
    • A dreadlord's unarmed strike attack bypasses damage reduction as if it were an epic weapon of evil alignment, whether he uses his dread touch through dread channeling or not.
    • A dreadlord gains fire resistance 10, but his immunity to cold surpasses his cold resistance.

    A dreadlord may choose to assume his former humanoid form or his undead form; when assuming his base form, he is treated as if under the effect of a disguise self spell and thus gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Disguise checks. When first assuming his death knight form, the dreadlord may choose to assume a demonic zombie-like appearance or a demonic skeletal appearance; this does not affect his abilities. If he changes his body by means of his dreadsoul weapon class feature, he may choose between the form of his new body, his original form or his undead form, and he may switch his undead appearance at the moment he acquires the new body. When acquiring a new body by means of his dreadsoul weapon, the body is no longer resurrected, but instead reanimated by necromantic energy, immediately gaining the benefits of the death knight template (as presented here).

    Unlike other classes, a non-humanoid dreadlord may gain the death knight template (this is an exception to the norm) except for undead creatures (which retain their traits). Likewise, he may gain the fiendish template even if he does not meet the required race. If a dreadlord becomes a death knight (or lich, or a similar undead template) before his 20th level of dreadlord, he may ignore his level adjustment but otherwise retain his features.

    Unlike other such templates, a dreadlord retains his own alignment, although he may choose to become evil if he so desires.

    Spoiler
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    And here's the other ACF, replacing spells with invocations. This ACF makes for a more "traditional" Death Knight, even though you're no champion of a god (instead, you're the champion of the Demon Prince Orcus, master of undeath). Because of it, they get a modified version of the fiendish template stacked on top of the Death Knight template, making them slightly more powerful than before. I chose Fiendish over Half-Fiend because stacking the latter would make the capstone hilariously powerful (I mean, adding MORE spell-like abilities? Boosting stats even MORE? Wings? Balderdash, I say!), and because the former is still decent enough, considering that Death Knight is already a pretty powerful template on its own.

    However, it's the invocations here that matter. While you only get 6 invocations, you get up to Greater Invocations, and you get two of them, so you get a decent amount. Abyssal Blast loses its better save DC (at least until 20th level) and damage potential, but becomes an at-will ability, so you can fire at your leisure. Being a Lesser Invocation (and with a spell level equal to the level of the Fireball spell), it means you can apply Quicken Spell-Like Ability into it, therefore adding a pretty potent weapon to your arsenal (you can use Abyssal Blast twice, one Quickened and one normal, measuring when to use the fully-powered versions). That's essentially 7 invocations to play with, in addition to that tasty amount of invulnerabilities and Dread Touch (with Dread Channeling) on top. So you get several at-will abilities, making for a pretty nasty Dreadlord.


    So, as usual: questions? Comments? Should I make more base classes/PrCs that end up giving you templates, because this one is phenomenal? Does the Dreadlord follow the way of the Dragon Disciple from 3.5?

    You decide!
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2013-11-13 at 10:17 PM.
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
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    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    The spell list may matter a lot for the power level, so can't judge that.

    I suggest that for the bonus of Tomb-Tainted Soul, that if they already have it, or are already undead, they should instead be able to take a fighter bonus feat.
    My homebrew:

    Spoiler
    Show


    Completed:
    ToB disciplines:

    The Narrow Bridge
    The Broken Blade

    Prestige classess:
    Disciple of Karsus -PrC for Karsites.
    The Seekers of Lost Swords and the Preserver of Future Blades Two interelated Tome of Battle Prcs,
    Master of the Hidden Seal - Binder/Divine hybrid
    Knight of the Grave- Necromancy using Gish



    Worthwhile links:

    Age of Warriors

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    No time for a full PEACH, but for the capstone, why not just make hit points based of Cha instead of Con? Easier to keep track of, stays improve-able, and the class is already using Cha for spells and things. Also, big fan of your homebrew. Keep up the good work.
    If Kymme could grant spells to clerics, his domains would be art and awesome. He also made my avatar.

    Also, I apparently made some things.
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    The Savonian Shadowlord

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Go to the largest library in the campaign world and tell him you're researching whether there's some powerful artifact lost to the bowels of time that could accomplish such a feat. If he doesn't take the bait, it means his DM bone is broken and he needs to be put down.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Hey! nice to see a new class from ya! Been using your retools for a few years, now I get to give some feedback on a new class. Awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Ladyzombies and ghouls; slaymates of all ages... Evil outsiders and Eldritch Abominations too...


    So yeah: I missed Halloween by almost two weeks. And there's no flow of new material; this is most disturbing! Thus, to fix this!

    In this case, I followed a fun idea. The Dread Necromancer, a base class from Heroes of Horror, is an interesting class: a spontaneous Necromancy specialist, whose main purpose is to become a Lich without taking the template. Much like the Dragon Disciple, but without sucking that much*. So I figured: could I take my favorite chassis, the Divine Champion, and give it a twist by making a melee version of the Dread Necromancer (even though the Dread Necro does melee decently, because of the armor, the DR, the natural armor, the resistances and the Charnel Touch...), except that you turn into something else other than a Lich?

    Fortunately, Lord Soth (one of the most famous exemplars of the template I'm about to mention) gave me the solution: how about making a class that, as a capstone, turns you into a Death Knight? The Death Knight template is pretty awesome, but some of the abilities...not so much. I mean...Abyssal Blast? Cute, but 1/day isn't really that cool. The increase to d12 is great; the loss of Con (and henceforth Fortitude)...isn't great. But, most importantly: all these goodies for LA +5!? Yeah: it hurts. It most definitely hurts.

    Thus, I decided to do a first: a base class that combined Spontaneous Specialization with partial casting (well, half-casting, but with full CL) and beefed up melee. Naturally, it brought me to the Divine Champion chassis, and with it, options that should make Death Knights much more powerful.

    In short: Death Knight in a can. And without the stinky Evil smell or funky Evil flavor (though, if you're a fan of it, might as well go for it, no?) Thus, without further ado, may I present to you...

    DREADLORD

    Spoiler: MAKING A DREADLORD
    Show
    ABILITIES: Charisma determines many of the dreadlord's powers, such as the fear aura, their spellcasting and, eventually, the damage from their dread touch. Being melee combatants, Strength and Constitution are likewise important.
    RACES: Most dreadlords are usually humans; only they combine the desired traits of ruthlessness and ambition that make them generals of the undead. Elves' respect for life and dwarves' respect for ancestors make them unsuitable, but there are a few exceptions.
    Amongst the savage races, usually orcs and hobgoblins are guided by their deities to become dreadlords, preparing them for the grim task of death knighthood from a very early age.
    ALIGNMENT: Any non-good. Becoming a dreadlord requires having, to an extent, a grim outlook on life; rather than avoid death, they choose to embrace it and use it as a weapon. Neutral dreadlords generally use their powers as a weapon against evil, but are practical rather than idealistic. As they progress through the path into undeath, they begin to accept the idea that protecting life may be a lost cause, but some find reasons; patriotic fervor, vengeance, or even the challenge of overcoming the impossible.
    STARTING GOLD: As PHB Paladin
    STARTING AGE: As PHB Paladin


    Class Skills
    The dreadlord’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spellcraft (Int)
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Spoiler
    Show
    A pretty interesting set of skills, particularly regarding Disguise, of all skills. Here's a good explanation:

    Bluff and Disguise are necessary to hide the gradual transformation of the dreadlord into a death knight. Because of this, even if only wearing a cape and remaining evasive, a dreadlord can appear trustworthy; something necessary in a world where necromancy is usually seen as evil or, at least, uncivilized. If everything else fails, they can enter the shadows and hide; thus, they also get Hide as a class skill.

    The rest is pretty basic from a Divine Champion chassis (something you'd see from a Blackguard), save for Knowledge (arcana), in order to show knowledge about arcane necromancy (their spell list). With 4 skill points per class level as a base, they can afford most of these skills.


    Hit Die: d12.
    {TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|1st|2nd|3rd|4th
    1st|+1|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Dread touch|-|-|-|-
    2nd|+2|
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Dread resilience +2, Tomb-Tainted Soul|-|-|-|-
    3rd|+3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Dread aura, unnatural toughness|-|-|-|-
    4th|+4|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Rebuke undead|0|-|-|-
    5th|+5|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Abyssal blast 2/day, dread channeling|1|-|-|-
    6th|+6/+1|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Bonus feat, fear aura|1|-|-|-
    7th|+7/+2|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Dread resilience +4, dread fortification (25%)|1|-|-|-
    8th|+8/+3|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Unnatural toughness (DR 2/magic), mettle|2|0|-|-
    9th|+9/+4|
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Dread aura, dread focus|2|1|-|-
    10th|+10/+5|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Abyssal blast 3/day, bonus feat, dread wound|2|1|-|-
    11th|+11/+6/+1|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Unnatural toughness (DR 4/magic)|3|1|0|-
    12th|+12/+7/+2|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Dread resilience +6, undead mastery|3|2|1|-
    13th|+13/+8/+3|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Dread fortification (50%)|3|2|1|-
    14th|+14/+9/+4|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Bonus feat, improved mettle, unnatural toughness (DR 6/magic and good)|3|2|1|0
    15th|+15/+10+/5|
    +9
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |Abyssal blast 4/day, dread aura, dread channeling (full attack)|4|3|2|1
    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Spell resistance|4|3|2|1
    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Dread resilience +8, unnatural toughness (DR 8/magic and good)|4|3|2|2
    18th|+18/+13+/8+/3|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Bonus feat, dreadsoul sword|4|3|3|2
    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Dread fortification (100%)|4|4|3|3
    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Abyssal blast 5/day, dread transformation, unnatural toughness (DR 10/epic and good)|4|4|3|3[/TABLE]

    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the dreadlord.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dreadlords are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with all shields.
    Because the somatic components required for dreadlord spells are simple, the dreadlord may use his spells while wearing light or medium armor, and while using a light shield. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a dreadlord wearing heavy armor or using a heavy or tower shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component (most do). A multiclass dreadlord still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

    Simple enough. You have no spells at this point, so it doesn't really matter. You can also just wear heavy armor til you need to cast spells. Alright.

    Dread Touch (Su): Amongst the first things a dreadlord learns upon his journey to undeath is the ability to manipulate a small reserve of negative energy. This reserve starts small, but as he progresses, the damage becomes considerable. At will (but only once per round), a dreadlord may make a melee touch attack that deals 1d8 points of negative energy damage to living creatures. This touch can be used to heal undead creatures of 1 hit point of damage.

    while at low levels the damage type is really nice, there's nothing horribly powerful about this. You are never unarmed, but neither is a monk.

    Dread Resilience (Ex): At 2nd level, a dreadlord begins to assume some of the unnatural features of undead creatures, his body infused with a hint of negative energy that grows as he progresses deeper into the journey to undeath. He gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws related to disease, death effects, paralysis, poison and sleep effects. This bonus increases by 2 every five class levels after the 2nd. At 7th level, this also applies to ability damage, ability drain and energy drain effects; at 12th level, this applies to all spells of the necromancy subschool.

    At the level you get this, the effects you're likely to face (poison and sleep) will be encounter ending, and in the case of sleep, you are barely making up for your bad will and low dependency on wisdom. For poison you're just raising your strong save a little. thats fine, and once you get to the level where the other effects are common, these are both needed and easily obtainable buffs by other means. this is all fine; he's still a primary melee combatant it seems, so he needs the immediate resistances.

    Tomb-Tainted Soul: At 2nd level, a dreadlord gains the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat as a bonus feat. See Libris Mortis, page 31 for more details.

    This would be difficult without your special touch. Heh. Little crazy though seeing as healing is totally OP

    Dread Aura (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a dreadlord serves as a font of negative energy which causes dread upon his enemies. This manifests as an aura that has a small distance, but that slowly increases in size as the dreadlord progresses.

    Projecting an aura is a swift action, and the dreadlord can only project one aura at a time. An aura remains in effect until the dreadlord uses a free action to dismiss it or he activates another aura in its place. A dreadlord can have a dread aura active continually; thus, an aura can be in effect at the start of an encounter even before he takes his first turn.

    A dreadlord that acquires this ability must choose from one of the auras presented below. Unless otherwise noted, the range of the aura is of 60 feet. As a dreadlord progresses in levels, he learns to manifest more auras and the size of his auras increase; at 9th level, he gains the ability to manifest one more aura from the list and his aura increases to 75 feet; at 15th level, a dreadlord gains the ability to manifest another aura and his area of effect increases to 90 feet. Opponents within the area of effect of the aura must have line of effect to the dreadlord in order to be affected by it. The dreadlord’s aura is dismissed if he becomes unconscious or slain, but otherwise it remains in effect even if she is incapable of acting.

    All of the aura’s penalties start at -1, and increase by 1 for every three class levels of the dreadlord. If the dreadlord has the ability to manifest other kinds of auras (such as the dragon shaman’s draconic auras from Player’s Handbook II or the marshal’s major auras from Miniatures Handbook, but not draconic auras gained from feats or the marshal’s minor auras), his auras increase in power: for every two points of bonus from other auras, the dreadlord's dread aura’s penalties increase by 1, and for every two points of penalty from the dread auras, all other auras’ bonuses increase by 1.

    Blasphemy: profane bonus to Armor Class and saving throws to all allies. A creature benefitting from the prayer spell or a similar spell (such as the recitation spell or the divine protection spell from Spell Compendium) has its effect suppressed while within the aura's range; an ally taking a penalty from a similar spell has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura.

    Cowardice: penalty on saving throws. A creature benefitting from the heroism spell or the inspire courage effect has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura. This aura is suppressed within all areas a paladin's aura of courage applies, unless the dreadlord is of higher level than the paladin.

    Despair: penalty on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls. A creature benefitting from the good hope spell has its effect suppressed while under the effects of this aura.

    Despoiling: bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls to all undead creatures within the aura (this includes the dreadlord). This suppresses the effect of a consecrate spell on all areas this aura touches.

    Weakness: penalty to Armor Class. Allies within the aura's area of effect may ignore a number of points of damage reduction equal to the aura's penalty if the damage reduction is bypassed by magic weapons or weapons of evil alignment. At 18th level this also applies to damage reduction bypassed by epic weapons.

    Very much like the Bes kismet of yours. No problem here.

    Unnatural Toughness (Ex): At 3rd level, a dreadlord's skin withers and toughens, assuming some of the traits of the undead. He gains a +1 bonus to his natural armor; if he already has a source of natural armor, this benefit is treated as an enhancement bonus to natural armor. This bonus increases by 1 for every 3 class levels after the 3rd, up to a +6 bonus at 18th level.

    At 8th level, the dreadlord's skin becomes even more resilient. He gains damage reduction 2, bypassed only by magic weapons. This damage reduction increases by 2 for every three class levels after 8th, up to 10 points of damage reduction at 20th level. At 14th level, the damage reduction can only be bypassed by magic weapons of good alignment, and by 20th level only by epic weapons of good alignment.

    You got the two things mundanish people need, AC and DR here, and in decent proportions. Only being DR magic kinda sucks, but for what you get, at least it protects well from most sources.

    Spellcasting: At 4th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to cast a small amount of arcane spells, which are drawn from the dreadlord's spell list (see below). Like a sorcerer, he may cast any spell he knows ahead of time. When a dreadlord gains access to a new spell level, he automatically knows all the spells for that level given in the dreadlord's spell list. Unlike similar classes, the dreadlord may not increase his spell list through further study (such as by the advanced learning class feature), but he may add spells to his spell list if he enters a class or prestige class that does.

    To cast a spell, a dreadlord must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a dreadlord’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + his Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a dreadlord can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given in the table above. In addition, he receives bonus spells for a high Charisma score (see Table 1–1 on page 8 of the Player’s Handbook).

    So, spontaneous half caster. As it really is such gimped casting I cant say I see a problem with this.

    Rebuke Undead (Su): At 4th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to rebuke or command undead creatures by channeling negative energy. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. He rebukes undead as a cleric of three levels lower would (see Turn or Rebuke Undead, PHB 159).

    Seems standard for someone meant to hold dominion over undead. Also means they can make use of devotion feats and divine feats. cool.

    Abyssal Blast (Sp): At 5th level, twice per day the dreadlord gains the ability to unleash a blast of unholy energy which manifests as if a fireball. Treat as the fireball spell, except as follows: the amount of damage dealt is equal to the dreadlord's character level (including racial Hit Dice), the saving throw DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the dreadlord's character level (including racial Hit Dice) + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier, and half the damage is of negative energy damage and ignores fire resistance. Undead creatures instead take no damage; undead creatures with fire resistance instead heal a number of hit points equal to their energy resistance or half the damage from the abyssal blast, whichever is lower (and undead immune to fire instead heal hit points equal to half that amount); undead creatures vulnerable to fire take one quarter of the total damage. At 10th level, and every five levels afterwards, the dreadlord gains the ability to use abyssal blast one more time per day.

    Okay, until you explained it below, I could have sworn this meant your abyssal blast dealt class level damage. was about to be severely disappointed by it. Maybe a little bit of clarity on this, It could also just be me. It happens.

    Dread Channeling (Su): At 5th level, a dreadlord's dread touch becomes stronger. The dreadlord adds his Charisma modifier to the damage dealt by the dread touch, plus 1 point of damage for every four class levels. Furthermore, he may channel this damage though his melee weapon, dealing the extra necromantic damage if he succeeds on the damage roll. The dreadlord may apply this only once per round as a free action, as usual, and if he uses his dread touch through his weapon, he may not use it as part of a touch attack. The dreadlord may choose to apply this benefit to his unarmed strikes; if he does, his unarmed strike is treated as if dealing lethal damage and all damage is treated as negative energy damage.

    At 15th level, the dreadlord gains the ability to manifest his dread touch at every moment, not merely once per round. He is still limited to the amount of attacks he may do per round. He may alternate these touches with melee attacks, and may make either a touch attack or a melee attack as part of an attack of opportunity (applying the extra damage).

    Hey! it's now a viable form of combat damage! shouldn't break the bank as a once a round damage boost, though it could be pretty nasty on a crit fisher with divine might also. At level 15 the damage is really just icing.

    Bonus Feat: At 6th level, and every four levels after that, a dreadlord gains a bonus feat in addition to those he obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, divine feats, reserve feats (see Complete Mage) or from the list provided below. A dreadlord must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a dreadlord is considered to have a fighter level equal to his class level -4.

    Dreadlord Bonus Feat List: Arcane Defense, Arcane Mastery, Arcane Preparation, Combat Casting, Daunting Presence, Death Master*, Empower Turning, Eschew Materials, Eviscerator*, Extra Slot, Extra Spell, Greater Spell Focus, Greater Spell Penetration, Heighten Turning, Lifesense**, Necromantic Might, Necromantic Presence, Positive Energy Resistance*, Quicken Turning, Ranged Spell Specialization, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Touch Spell Specialization.
    *: the dreadlord is treated as an undead creature for purposes of these feats.
    **: the dreadlord is treated as an undead creature with no Constitution score for purposes of this feat.

    typical bonus feats because mundanes always need more. Life sense is a really boss feat but that's the only one that seriously stands out.

    Fear Aura (Su): At 6th level, the dreadlord gains an unnerving presence that chills the souls of even the bravest of warriors. At the beginning of combat, any opponents within the dreadlord's dread aura range must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the dreadlord's class level + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier) or be affected by a fear spell cast by a sorcerer of the death knight's level. Creatures with more than twice the amount of HD of the dreadlord are not affected, while creatures of half the dreadlord's HD (including racial Hit Dice) automatically fail their save. If a creature saves against the dreadlord's fear aura, it becomes immune to the effect of the spell for 24 hours. If the dreadlord has no dread aura active at the beginning of combat, creatures are not affected until the dreadlord activates his dread aura. Deactivating and reactivating the dread aura likewise forces a new save.

    'Kay see, now, this is what gets me; if you push this ability back, it becomes invalidated as fear progressively gets weaker, but as is this is a devastating ability with the potential to end an encounter right then and there. Now, for balance sake (at an optimisation level where fear stays relevant) I want to say something like fear progressively gets worse, going from shaken to frightened to panicked, etc etc. instead of right to making them invalid. That being said, this problem really depends on the savviness of the games DM, so my concerns may be based in needless worry.

    Dread Fortification (Ex): At 7th level, the body of the dreadlord withers even further, without risking his life. This grants him a deathly pallor, but also great resilience against potentially lethal attacks. Because of this, any critical hit has a 25% chance of failure; this also applies to sneak attacks and other such precision damage. Effects such as flaming burst, which activate as part of a critical hit, are unaffected, but effects such as Stunning Fist (and similar abilities) do.

    At 13th level, the fortification increases to 50%. At 19th level, the dreadlord becomes immune to critical hits and related effects.

    Makes sense since you're progressively becoming undead. Mmkay here as well.

    Mettle (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, if a dreadlord makes a successful Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the save’s effect, he suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a saving throw entry of “partial” or “half” are affected by this ability, and only for purposes of Will and/or Fortitude saves with these descriptors.

    Yay standard tank defense woo!

    Dread Focus (Sp): At 9th level, spells cast by a dreadlord are enhanced to such an extent that they resemble divine spells. A dreadlord may cast spells from his own spell list (and using his spell slots) while wielding heavy armor and using any kind of shield. Spells still require material components whenever necessary (both arcane and regular), however.

    you say he can do this while wielding a shield....doesn't he need a free hand for the materials to cast anyways? (minus eschew materials of course)Other than that, looks about good.

    Dread Wound (Su): At 10th level, whenever a dreadlord uses his dread touch attack, or channels negative energy through his weapon by means of dread channeling, he may deal a point of Constitution damage with each attack. However, afflicted creatures may make a Will saving throw (DC 10 +1/2 the dreadlord's class level + the dreadlord's Charisma modifier) to ignore the Constitution damage. If using dread touch to heal an undead creature, the dreadlord instead heals 1d8 points of damage plus his Charisma modifier (plus the bonus from dread channeling).

    With a save, I find this ability fine. It may fail or it may succeed, 1 con isn't the end of the world; at most it's a wounding enchantment. Meh.

    Undead Mastery: All undead creatures created by a dreadlord who has reached 12th level or higher gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity and 2 additional hit points per Hit Die. In addition, when a dreadlord uses the animate dead spell to create undead, she can control 4 + his Charisma bonus HD worth of undead creatures per class level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted by the spell). Similarly, when a dreadlord casts the control undead spell, the spell targets up to (2 + his Cha bonus) HD/level of undead creatures, rather than the 2 HD/level normally granted by the spell.

    Cool! more undead focus. I like this, unlike the dread necromancer, you (most likely) aren't going to have an obese amount of undead followers, so a sizeable bonus to their stat's shouldn't be the end of the world. This may warrant the play style of "swarming the field with undead" that tends to bog down combat, but that's really on the player/DM so I digress.

    Improved Mettle (Ex): At 14th level, a dreadlord’s mettle ability improves. He still takes no effect on a successful Will or Fortitude save that has the “partial” or “half” descriptor, but henceforth he takes only the partial effect or half the damage on a failed save.

    Tank stuff, good stuff.

    Spell Resistance (Su): A dreadlord of 16th level or higher gains spell resistance equal to 15 + his class level.

    Another good defense trade off that seems like a lot but really isn't. The fact that you have to lower it for a round to get aid from an allied caster means you will have gaps in its effectiveness. Alright.

    Dreadsoul Weapon (Su): At 18th level, a dreadlord begins to disassociate from his body, gaining the limited ability to cheat death in preparation for his undeath. By crafting a special weapon (usually a sword) with a specially chosen gem, he may infuse the weapon with a degree of his own power and use it as a receptacle for his soul after his death.

    To craft the weapon, a dreadlord must succeed on a Craft check to create a masterwork version of his chosen weapon, and he must add to the base materials cost a gem or crystal worth 100 gp and expend up to 4 xp. The dreadlord is treated as if having the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat (if he doesn't have already) for purposes of making this weapon, and may enchant it with the spells he chooses. Once done, the weapon becomes a dreadsoul weapon. This weapon is attuned only to the dreadlord, and anyone who wishes to use it takes a negative penalty for as long as the dreadlord is alive. A dreadlord may summon his dreadsoul weapon to his hand as a swift action for up to 100 ft. per class level. If the dreadsoul weapon is destroyed, a dreadlord may make a new one after a month it was destroyed.

    If the dreadlord is slain while wielding this weapon (or within 30 feet of it), the dreadlord may then choose to enter the soul receptacle of his dreadsoul weapon and inhabit it for as long as necessary. While inhabiting his dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord grants it the unholy weapon property (if it doesn't has it already), an enhancement bonus equal to 1 for every 5 character levels (including racial Hit Dice, unless the weapon has a higher enhancement bonus) and imbues it with his own intellect. The weapon has an Ego score equal 12 plus to your character level plus your Charisma modifier (instead of the usual Ego score), and the dreadlord may use his dread touch and abyssal blast as part of the weapon's powers. While inhabiting his dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord may allow the wielder to use it without imposing a negative level (even if the creature is good-aligned, in which case it also allows it to ignore the negative level penalty from the unholy special quality).

    At any moment while inhabiting the dreadsoul weapon, the dreadlord may choose to inhabit any nearby corpse. The corpse may be of any humanoid, monstrous humanoid, giant, or the dreadlord's own race type (such as dragon for a dragon-type dreadlord), but the creature may not have more racial Hit Dice than the dreadlord. The corpse may not have been slain for more than one hour per dreadlord class level or a day, whichever is lower. Once the dreadlord decides to inhabit the body, it is treated as if it had received a resurrection spell and the dreadlord gains full control of the body; at that moment, the dreadlord's dreadsoul weapon loses all properties granted by it and imposes the negative level penalty, as usual. A dreadsoul weapon which has the dreadlord's soul inside that gets destroyed automatically sends the dreadlord's soul to the Lower Planes, effectively killing it.

    A dreadlord may use this ability once per month. At 20th level, the dreadlord may use this ability at any moment it perishes.

    Soooo, this is ridiculously awesome. I have one question about it though; if you enchant it with dancing before hand, can you have it loose itself and fight independant of your temporary caregiver? This isn't a balance question, it just seems like letting the person who wields you let you go so you can murder them is an incredibly entertaining thought. From a balance perspective I find nothing wrong with this as you can buy a true resurrection on an intelligent item anyways, at least this way you have to work for it.

    Dread Transformation: At 20th level, the dreadlord abandons his mortal coil, eternally becoming one of the undead. The dreadlord forevermore becomes undead, and gains all the attributes of a death knight (see Monster Manual II, page 207) except as follows:
    • A dreadlord retains all hit points it currently has, but loses his Constitution score. Thus, he gains bonus hit points equal to his former Constitution score (if any). A dreadlord does not need to reroll hit points.
    • A dreadlord gains a bonus to all Fortitude saves equal to his dread resilience class feature.
    • A dreadlord does not gain undead followers unless it has the Leadership feat (or the Undead Leadership feat; see Libris Mortis page 31 for more details).
    • A dreadlord's negative energy touch, abyssal blast and fear aura are based on his class, not the template. If any one of these features depends on his class level, it instead depends on his character level (including racial Hit Dice).


    A dreadlord may choose to assume his former humanoid form or his undead form; when assuming his base form, he is treated as if under the effect of a disguise self spell and thus gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Disguise checks. When first assuming his death knight form, the dreadlord may choose to assume a zombie-like appearance or a skeletal appearance; this does not affect his abilities. If he changes his body by means of his dreadsoul weapon class feature, he may choose between the form of his new body, his original form or his undead form, and he may switch his undead appearance at the moment he acquires the new body. When acquiring a new body by means of his dreadsoul weapon, the body is no longer resurrected, but instead reanimated by necromantic energy, immediately gaining the benefits of the death knight template (as presented here).

    Unlike other classes, a non-humanoid dreadlord may gain the death knight template (this is an exception to the norm) except for undead creatures (which retain their traits). If a dreadlord becomes a death knight (or lich, or a similar undead template) before his 20th level of dreadlord, he may ignore his level adjustment but otherwise retain his features.

    Unlike other such templates, a dreadlord retains his own alignment, although he may choose to become evil if he so desires.

    And the moment we've all been waiting for. You are a true death knight now, awesome. I like that you don't have to jump through hoops to get a good health total (faerie mystery initiates, unholy toughness, etc.) so you wont just get annihilated by things like disintegrate. I also like that you basically get to keep your identity as a race and allied force also, but that was the whole point of the class wasn't it?
    All in all, besides some minor wording quirks, this is an incredible class. Excellent work as always.
    Last edited by Averis Vol; 2013-11-13 at 03:18 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    I suggest that for the bonus of Tomb-Tainted Soul, that if they already have it, or are already undead, they should instead be able to take a fighter bonus feat.
    Yes and no.

    If the character is already undead, I'd probably follow the suggestion, because the feat is entirely irrelevant; likewise if the character begins with immunity to, or the ability to absorb, negative energy. However, if the character already has the feat...that means the character chose it at first level, and is only stalling for another feat. TTS appears at 2nd level, which is definitely dip territory. Unless you're getting Tomb-Tainted Soul for another reason, if you're dipping Dreadlord for Dread Touch only, might as well take the 2nd level and the free feat as well, rather than spending one of your limited feat slots for the ability. In other words; it's the level. If TTS were a 6th level feat, then I'd consider it, because most good feats you'd like to have depend on prerequisites that usually gravitate around that level; at 2nd level, very few feats (save, for example, Practiced Spellcaster, but if you're going full Dreadlord this makes little sense) have prerequisites that must be fulfilled by that level. Thus, might as well get a 1st level feat and wait for TTS by 2nd level. Therefore, in the latter case, I'd say no.

    Quote Originally Posted by anacalgion View Post
    No time for a full PEACH, but for the capstone, why not just make hit points based of Cha instead of Con? Easier to keep track of, stays improve-able, and the class is already using Cha for spells and things. Also, big fan of your homebrew. Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for the pep.

    As for the hit points: the reason I worked the bonus hit points out of Constitution was for one reason; for the better part of your progression, you depend on Constitution for your Hit Points. It's only after 20th level where your Constitution stops mattering. Thus, it's reasonable that you provide some advancement to your hit points, even if you get the highest Hit Dice, so that you get enough Hit Points. If all you depend is on to survive is your high Hit Dice and magic items to boost your Constitution, knowing that it'll become pointless by 20th level, you'll end up probably dying before you reach that level.

    I understand what you're speaking of, though: most of the undead from Libris Mortis have the racial ability that lets them get more hit points from Charisma, but you'd have to define exactly when to apply it. Since it's a good chance that your Charisma will be much, MUCH higher than your Constitution, the sudden jump in HP will feel strange, and it'll invite to keep your Constitution low because it'll be useless (in fact, it invites making Con a dump stat, which is a grave mistake). If added before 20th level, you'd have to measure exactly WHEN it's a good choice, and if you recall, low-levels is where combat is more dangerous.

    The bonus feats essentially make your Constitution relevant, even if it no longer matters (because you retain the effect of your base scores and score increases permanently, given that you retain the HP you otherwise got). I understand your concern, but it's very hard to work with because you have to make Con irrelevant from very early on, and thus you need to find a way to make another ability score apply to hit points and Fortitude saves (and Concentration, as well) without making Dreadlords a very tempting dip for crazy builds or weak at early levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Averis Vol View Post
    Hey! nice to see a new class from ya! Been using your retools for a few years, now I get to give some feedback on a new class. Awesome.
    Thanks a lot.

    Only being DR magic kinda sucks, but for what you get, at least it protects well from most sources.
    Remember it eventually becomes "DR X/magic AND good", and eventually "DR X/epic AND good". The limiting factor becomes the good alignment of the weapon, which is common on PCs but rare on enemies, particularly Evil creatures (which you can face as a Dreadlord, BTW).

    Okay, until you explained it below, I could have sworn this meant your abyssal blast dealt class level damage. was about to be severely disappointed by it. Maybe a little bit of clarity on this, It could also just be me. It happens.
    Hmm...you're right on that one. The definite reading is "1d6/character level", since "1/character level" is really, really sucky, but the reading leads to that. Will find a way to change it.

    'Kay see, now, this is what gets me; if you push this ability back, it becomes invalidated as fear progressively gets weaker, but as is this is a devastating ability with the potential to end an encounter right then and there. Now, for balance sake (at an optimisation level where fear stays relevant) I want to say something like fear progressively gets worse, going from shaken to frightened to panicked, etc etc. instead of right to making them invalid. That being said, this problem really depends on the savviness of the games DM, so my concerns may be based in needless worry.
    Note that Wizards and Sorcerers get Fear one and two levels later, respectively, and the Never Outnumbered + Imperious Command trick comes online one level earlier for just about anyone. Some classes get Mass Demoralize, which is essentially this ability usable pretty much at-will. Since the aura has a Will save, the effect is mostly reasonable. All undead are immune to fear, and eventually you face constructs, plants and oozes which are likewise immune to fear. Of all those, undead and constructs are pretty numerous at high levels, but fear is still a pretty potent weapon; it's Will saves that will reduce the power of this ability, and that most creatures will end up having more HD than you, even though their CR will fit. Thus, it's roughly on the right spot.

    you say he can do this while wielding a shield....doesn't he need a free hand for the materials to cast anyways? (minus eschew materials of course)
    Somatic Weaponry lets you use your weapon to cast spells, but you still get a spell failure chance with it. Dread Focus ignores half of that. That said, I could integrate the effect of Somatic Weaponry, even though I haven't seen any mention that you MUST have the material component specifically at-hand.

    Soooo, this is ridiculously awesome. I have one question about it though; if you enchant it with dancing before hand, can you have it loose itself and fight independant of your temporary caregiver? This isn't a balance question, it just seems like letting the person who wields you let you go so you can murder them is an incredibly entertaining thought.
    That's...an interesting proposal. However, there's no specific ruling that trumps the general one (you don't see intelligent dancing weapons moving and acting on their own), so the weapon would be under the caretaker's control, sadly. That said, it's definitely entertaining. If you can find a good ruling that would suggest intelligent Dancing weapons act on their own if they succeed on an Ego check.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    If the character is already undead, I'd probably follow the suggestion, because the feat is entirely irrelevant; likewise if the character begins with immunity to, or the ability to absorb, negative energy. However, if the character already has the feat...that means the character chose it at first level, and is only stalling for another feat.
    That only follows if they are doing Dreadlord 20. If someone is taking levels in Dreadlord later, this would be reasonable behavior. Consider for example, someone who takes a few levels in Dread Necromancer before going into this. And one may want one to have Tomb Tainted Soul at level 1 for fluff reason (e.g. one was touched by darkness even in the womb, etc.)

    If you are really concerned about the abuse, you could severely restrict the replacement feat, say to a fighter bonus feat.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post



    Note that Wizards and Sorcerers get Fear one and two levels later, respectively, and the Never Outnumbered + Imperious Command trick comes online one level earlier for just about anyone. Some classes get Mass Demoralize, which is essentially this ability usable pretty much at-will. Since the aura has a Will save, the effect is mostly reasonable. All undead are immune to fear, and eventually you face constructs, plants and oozes which are likewise immune to fear. Of all those, undead and constructs are pretty numerous at high levels, but fear is still a pretty potent weapon; it's Will saves that will reduce the power of this ability, and that most creatures will end up having more HD than you, even though their CR will fit. Thus, it's roughly on the right spot.
    Yea, this is why I assumed my worries could have been have been frivolous. I think fear is a really touchy subject that is hard to balance, it can be ridiculously devastating or outright ineffective, so in my mind at least it teeters on a narrow path.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Somatic Weaponry lets you use your weapon to cast spells, but you still get a spell failure chance with it. Dread Focus ignores half of that. That said, I could integrate the effect of Somatic Weaponry, even though I haven't seen any mention that you MUST have the material component specifically at-hand.
    Alright, I was more curious to how it worked than anything (3 AM brain doesn't think clearly)

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    That's...an interesting proposal. However, there's no specific ruling that trumps the general one (you don't see intelligent dancing weapons moving and acting on their own), so the weapon would be under the caretaker's control, sadly. That said, it's definitely entertaining. If you can find a good ruling that would suggest intelligent Dancing weapons act on their own if they succeed on an Ego check.
    well, now that you mention it......

    Quote Originally Posted by DMG Pg. 271
    ITEMS AGAINST CHARACTERS
    When an item has an Ego of its own, it has a will of its own. The
    item is, of course, absolutely true to its alignment. If the character
    who possesses the item is not true to that alignment’s goals or
    the item’s special purpose, personality conflict—item against
    character—results. Similarly, any item with an Ego score of 20 or
    higher always considers itself superior to any character, and a
    personality conflict results if the possessor does not always agree
    with the item.
    When a personality conflict occurs, the possessor must make a
    Will saving throw (DC = item’s Ego).......

    .......In extreme circumstances, the item can resort to even harsher
    measures, such as the following acts:
    • Force its possessor into combat.
    • Refuse to strike opponents.
    Strike at its wielder or her associates.
    • Force its possessor to surrender to an opponent.
    • Cause itself to drop from the character’s grasp.
    An intelligent weapon can just outright go at his owner, I think the dancing property is just icing. Though it would mean the wielder would have to fail his save vs your ego score.
    Last edited by Averis Vol; 2013-11-14 at 01:46 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    There's also the line "Unlike most magic items, intelligent items can activate their own powers without waiting for a command word from their owner." Which doesn't actually require an ego contest! So... I think the sword can actually make itself fly around dancing, but the wielder can still force it to obey his commands on what to do unless it wins the ego check.
    Last edited by Eurus; 2013-11-14 at 02:51 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Awesome! This is my favorite rework of yours since the Marshal. I'll be playing one shortly, and I'll let you know how it goes.

    First, minor typo's and nitpicks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebuke Undead's Design notes
    A key aspect to consider is that you'll probably end up contolling usually weak undead
    Quote Originally Posted by Abyssal Blast
    At 5th level, twice per day the dreadlord gains the ability to unleash a blast of unholy energy which manifests as if a fireball. Treat as the fireball spell, except as follows: the amount of damage dealt is equal to the dreadlord's character level (including racial Hit Dice)
    This makes me think at 20th level you deal 20 damage. But I think it means at 20th level I deal 20d6 from the design notes. I hope I'm not the only one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dread Channeling
    Dread Channeling (Su): At 5th level, a dreadlord's dread touch becomes stronger. The dreadlord adds his Charisma modifier to the damage dealt by the dread touch, plus 1 point of damage for every four class levels. Furthermore, he may channel this damage though his melee weapon, dealing the extra necromantic damage if he succeeds on the damage roll.
    I believe you meant succeeds on the attack roll.

    Nothing else I can see that isn't my opinion.

    As far as critiquing, I must say, I'm in love with the Aura's. Very cool. Infact, there isn't much I would change, although perhaps buffing the Dread Channeling damage up a little bit, because 5 extra damage at 20th level is kinda wimpy. Its not going to be a main source of damage by a long shot so its probably not worth the change.

    I think for flavor's sake you could add a Intimidate bonus along with the Fortification % increase to reflect the undead demeanor. I'd like to see a ACF or some way to have a steed like in Project Heretica. And Detect Undead could always be in there as an At Will but, I wouldn't want to clutter the class with too many abilities.

    Thanks for reading the ramble and thanks for the class.
    Last edited by Elfstone; 2013-11-15 at 04:11 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    That only follows if they are doing Dreadlord 20. If someone is taking levels in Dreadlord later, this would be reasonable behavior. Consider for example, someone who takes a few levels in Dread Necromancer before going into this. And one may want one to have Tomb Tainted Soul at level 1 for fluff reason (e.g. one was touched by darkness even in the womb, etc.)

    If you are really concerned about the abuse, you could severely restrict the replacement feat, say to a fighter bonus feat.
    It's not really for abuse reasons, since by 2nd level there's few feats that you could delay and are worthwhile. The real reason is because it's low-hanging fruit, much like Divine Grace.

    Also: regarding dipping DN into Dreadlord, or the opposite, it's a bit of an oxymoron; you're, at best, delaying access to a template (unless your intention is to get the template through other means), and both classes are, to an extent, mechanically similar. Ideally, you'd dip into Dreadlord to get Tomb-Tainted Soul, better hit points and BAB, but not else. Since Charnel Touch and Dread Touch are mechanically similar, you're dipping into one of the classes for the benefits it may offer (spells for one side, better mechanical prowess for the other).

    Quote Originally Posted by Averis Vol View Post
    well, now that you mention it......

    An intelligent weapon can just outright go at his owner, I think the dancing property is just icing. Though it would mean the wielder would have to fail his save vs your ego score.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    There's also the line "Unlike most magic items, intelligent items can activate their own powers without waiting for a command word from their owner." Which doesn't actually require an ego contest! So... I think the sword can actually make itself fly around dancing, but the wielder can still force it to obey his commands on what to do unless it wins the ego check.
    Hmm...interesting combination of rulings. I feel I must make a distinction if you add the Dancing weapon property (somehow), or even automatically grant it the Dancing weapon property and let the Dreadlord fight using its own BAB, but at the risk of choosing its own targets unless controlled by an Ego check.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    Awesome! This is my favorite rework of yours since the Marshal. I'll be playing one shortly, and I'll let you know how it goes.

    This makes me think at 20th level you deal 20 damage. But I think it means at 20th level I deal 20d6 from the design notes. I hope I'm not the only one.
    Averis also pointed that out to me: the text mentions that you deal damage based on character level, while the idea is that your damage increases as if your caster level was equal to your character level, without a level cap like the typical Fireball spell. Averis noticed, though, that I cleared that out on the design notes, and I mentioned I'd change it.

    I believe you meant succeeds on the attack roll.
    Yeah: it should be attack roll, not damage roll. My bad.

    Nothing else I can see that isn't my opinion.

    As far as critiquing, I must say, I'm in love with the Aura's. Very cool. Infact, there isn't much I would change, although perhaps buffing the Dread Channeling damage up a little bit, because 5 extra damage at 20th level is kinda wimpy. Its not going to be a main source of damage by a long shot so its probably not worth the change.
    Dread Channeling essentially boosts the power of the Dread Touch to be somewhat similar to the Death Knight's own, and you basically end up dealing damage as if you attacked with a +5 longsword using your Charisma for damage rolls. As you mentioned, it's not meant to be a main source of damage, though with some creativity you can make wonders with it (it's a melee touch attack, after all).

    I think for flavor's sake you could add a Intimidate bonus along with the Fortification % increase to reflect the undead demeanor. I'd like to see a ACF or some way to have a steed like in Project Heretica. And Detect Undead could always be in there as an At Will but, I wouldn't want to clutter the class with too many abilities.

    Thanks for reading the ramble and thanks for the class.
    Eh: I'm used to read longer, meatier stuff.

    Regarding the Intimidate bonus: since it's mostly for flavor, it's best to add it whenever there's a weak level. It really feels like a thing for Dead Levels.

    Regarding the mount ACF: I'm seriously considering it, given that the Death Knight has the ability to summon a Nightmare. I'd have to check what to replace (it's an ACF, after all), but the Death Knight should definitely have an option to mount a Nightmare.

    And as for Detect Undead: I nixed it from the Project Heretica classes (specifically the Paladin) because it was usually more harmful than helpful (it's a relatively strong ability, but it ruined suspense and invited to a "smite first, ask questions later" mentality), so I don't expect to make an exception for any class based on the same chassis, as the Dreadlord does (which also counts for the Bez-Kismet and the Zealot).
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    If you say "without the stinky Evil smell or funky Evil flavor", then the alignment restriction along with "DR X/magic and good" don't exactly promote your goal.

    One could use poison to promote the agenda of good powers.
    It's no more evil that plunging a sward into someone's skull.
    It's not what you use, but how you use it.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Dreadlord - how to become a Death Knight without being Evil

    Reading up on the Tenebrous variant, the Abyssal Blast modification seems to be worded vaguely. It's described as a lesser version, and can be empowered a few times a day to deal as much damage as a normal version, but it never says how much damage it normally does. I'm assuming 1d6 per 2 levels?

    EDIT: Also, I think it needs a specific spell level equivalent to apply Quicken/Empower SLA properly, unless it's supposed to use fireball's.
    Last edited by Eurus; 2013-11-19 at 02:09 AM.
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