Death Knight 5e | D&D 5th Edition Class Guide

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Death Knight

Dressed in armor streaked with blood, a human swings his Greatsword with precise fury, using his attacks to keep his enemies occupied.

As he does so, the allies around him watch as his wounds seem to heal even as the enemy falls.

Standing tall against the oncoming horde, a High Elf embraces the icy resolve within to steel her veins and ignore the attacks of her enemies.

Freezing her twin shortswords with the power of the Frozen north, her attacks break through their armor with reckless abandon.

A lonely Dwarf gaze over the battlefield, remebering a time when he was alive enough to relish the battle. No longer the same Dwarf, he takes the power of Death and uses it for his own ends.

Not dead, but not truly living Paladin. That’s what you used to be. Before you died. The Death Knight is a resurrected Paladin, brought back by some benefactor to wield the power of Death. Most Death Knights have no will.

They’re just puppets of whoever brought them back. But sometimes, a Death Knight of extraordinary willpower break that hold and regains their free will.

Though they cannot draw out the full power of the Light like they did as a Paladin, Death Knights still hold some small connection to that which is good in the world.

These people, often ostracized by society, are filled with the same vigor they had in their previous life. Some of them remember their old values and try to complete their previous mission.

Others shed their former morals and become a deadly killing machine, working only for their own gain.

Still others wish to return to their previous positions of honor, through the news of their death invariably precedes them, and they know not if their former Kings will accept their service.

Creating a Death Knight in DND

When creating your Death Knight, consider your relationship with the person or being that resurrected you.

Do you know who it was, or why they brought you back from Death? Do you feel indebted to them for giving you a second chance at life, or are you angry that took you away from your eternal rest?

Also, consider the Oath you took as a Paladin. Do you remember it? Do you choose to follow those Tenets again, or forsake your paladin teachings and follow a new path? In either case, the Oaths of the Paladin are no longer available to you, and you must choosea new, Grim Oath.

Playing the Death Knight

It is important to note that while you have been resurrected, for gameplay purposes, you are still a humanoid of your chosen race. At your DM’s discretion, you may play as an undead character instead.

Quick Build

You can build a Death Knight quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength should be your highest ability score, followed by Wisdom. Second, choose the Soldier or Noble background.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per Death Knight Level
Hit points at 1st level: 10 + your Consitution modifiers.
Hit points at higher levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifiers per Death Knight level after first.


Armor: All armor; Shields
Weapons: Simple and Martial weapons
Tools: none
Saving Throws: Strenth; Wisdom
Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, and Survival.
Multiclass: Light/Medium Armor and shields; Simple and Martial weapons; Death Knight require a score of 13 Strength and 13 Wisdom.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a Greatsword or (b) two Shortswords
  • (a) two Handaxes or (b) any simple melee weapon
  • (a) a Dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an Explorer’s Pack

Chain Mail

Deathly Awareness: Your knowledge of Death gives you heightened awareness of other creature of Death.

You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track Undead and Fiends, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

Fighting Style: At 2nd level, you adopt a style of fighting as your specialty.

Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a fighting style more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

Defense: While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to Ac

Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Great Weapon Fighting: When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fightingn, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Rune Weapon: At 2nd level, you can draw on the dread magic of the grave to inscribe your weapon with deathly Runes.

These Runes may be used for additional effects described in this class description.

You must spend one hour inscribing your weapon, which may be completed during a short rest. You may inscribe up to two weapons, and you cannot be disarmed of your Rune Weapon while you are conscious.

If you inscribe a third weapon, you must choose one of your previous two weapons from which to remove the Runes.

You have 4 total Runes, and you gain Runes as indicated in the Class Table. You recover all expended Runes when you finish a short or long rest.

If an ability that uses a Rune requires a saving throw, the saving throw DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier. No Rune features requrie a spell attack roll

Rune Strike: Beginning at 2nd level, when you hit an enemy with a weapon attack, you may expend a Rune to add an additional effect to the attack, as listed below.

Rejuvenating Strike: You channel what’s left of your divine blessing into your weapon strike.
If your attack hits, you may expend 1 Rune to cause the attack to deal Radiant damage, and heal you for half the damage dealt (rounded down).

You can only regain HP if the blow is struck in combat. At 5th level, you may add your Constitution modifier to the healing, twice your Constitution modifiers at 11th level, and 3 times your Constitution modifiers at 17th level.

Icy Blast: If your attack hits, the target takes the normal attack damage, and you may expend 1 Rune to deal 1d6 extra Cold damage and force the target to make a Constitution saving throw.

On a failed save, the target has it speed halved until the end of its next turn. On a successful save, the target does not have its speed reduced. The damage increase by 1d6 at 5th (2d6), 11th (3d6), and 17th (4d6) level.

Plague Strike: If you attack hits, the target takes the normal attack damage, and you may expend 1 Rune to deal 1d6 additional Necrotic damage and afflict the target with Plague for 1 minute.

At the beginning of its next turn, and at the beginning of each of its turns thereafter, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 1d6 Necrotic damage from the plague.

On a successful save, the effect ends. The Plague effect dose not stack if applied more than once. The strike and plague damage increases by 1d6 at 5th (2d6), 11th (3d6), and 17th (4f6) level.

Grim Oath:

At 3rd level you mimic the Oath you took in your former life as a Paladin. Though you can choose to follow the same Tenets, you are not bound by your Paladin Oath any longer, and may do as you please. Choose a Grim Oath that you follow exclusively.

You may choose the Oath of the Undying, Oath of the North, or Oath of the Plague, all detailed at the end of this class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 15th, and 20th level.

Lingering Radiance:

At 3rd level, the small spark of radiance from your former life manifests. You are immune to disease.

Ability Score Improvement:

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability score of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack actiom on your turn.

Aura of Dread:

At 6th level, your presence hangs heavily on your enemies. Whenever an enemy within 10 feet must make a saving throw, it takes a penalty on the throw equal to 1 + half your Wisdom modifier, rounded down.

This Aura does not stack with itself or similar effects (such as the Bane spell). At 18th level, this Aura increase to 30 feet.

Dreadful Visage:

Upon reaching 6th level, your connection to Death allows you to temporarily alter your body slightly.

As an action, choose one of the following options. The effect lasts for one hour, or until you use another action to end it.

Visage of Fear:

You may use the power of Death to temporarily twist your face and body into a horrific sight. You have advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks.

Visage of Grace:

You may use the power of Death to temporarily heal the scars of your previous death, making you more acceptable among those who have not experienced Death. You have adavantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.

Relentless Advance:

At 9th level, you become as relentless as Death itself. Your speed increases by 10 feet. Additionally, non-magical difficult terrain does not reduce your speed.

Pull of the Grave:

At 10th level, your power over the forces of Death increase. As an action, you may spend 1 Rune to cause a target within 30 feet of you that you can see to make a Strength saving throw.

On a failed save, the target is pulled up to 3 feet towards you. If the target is pulled within melee range of you, you may make one weapon attack against it as a bonus action.

Speak with Undead:

By 11th level, your knowledge of the inner workings of Death allows you to communiCate with the dead.

You may expend 1 Rune to cast the Speak with Dead spell. However, you may also any undead creature using this spell.

Magic Barrier:

At 13th level, you can harness the power of death to protect yourself against offensive magic. As a reaction when a spell is cast that targets you or an area you’re in, you may spend 1 Rune to create a barrier around yourself, granting you resistance to the damage dealt by spells until the beginning of your next turn.

Raise Dead:

At 14th level, your connection with death allows you to expend power to help others return from Death.

You may spend 4 Runes to cast the Raise Dead spell without requiring material components. You may do this only once per long rest.

Death’s Endurance


By 17th level, your connection to Death empowers you, giving you the ability to trudge onward when others would fall. You are immune to Exhaustion. Additionally, when you are the victim of a critical hit, you may use your reaction to tun it into a normal hit. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier, and regain spent uses upon completing a long rest.

Grim Oaths


Oath of the Undying

A Death Knight swearing the Oath of the Undying is resolute in their resolve against Death. They’ve taken the power of their resurrected blood to fortify their life force and channel it to protect their allies.

They tend towards helping others and protecting those who cannot protect themselves, but they are not intrinsically good.

Undying Presence:

At 3rd level when you take this Oath your blood churns with radiant fire. You gain resistance to Radiant damage.

Additionally, the target of your Rejuvenating Strike has disadvantage on attack against targets others than you until the end of its next turn.

Aura of the undying

At 7th level, allies within 10 feet of you gain resistance to Radiant damage. Additionally, the power of your radiant blood can help prevent death.

You and allies within 10 feet of you gain advantage on Death Saving Throws. The power of your will is so strong, the saving throw effect persiste even if you are unconscious or incapacitated. At 18th level, this Aura increase to 30 feet.

Radiant Blood:

Upon reaching 9th level, the radiant fire of life infuses your soul. Your blood becomes radiant fire.

If you are cut and bleeding, the radiance of your blood causes no damage, but you may use a bonus action to use your blood for lighting a candle, campfire, or another similar use.

A fire lit in this manner is considered non-magical and burns a shade of radiant yellow instead of the normal color of fire.

Improved Rejuvenating Strike:

At 15th level, when you use Rejuvenating Strike, you may spend up to 3 additional Runes. For each additional Rune spent, the healing increases by an amount equal to your Constitution modifier.


By 20th level, your radiant vitality allows you to refuse to die. When you are reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, but not killed outright, your soul may keep fighting in your stead.

Your soul has the same speed, hit points, and ability scores as your body, AC 20, and deals magical slashing damage equal 1d10 + your Strenth modifier.

Your soul cannot take any action other than the attack, disengage, dodge, or help action, and cannot use any Rune Strikes.

If your Soul is reduced to 0 hit points, or moves more than 100 feet from your body, you die immediately and cannot be resurrected by any means.

This effect lasts for 1 minute or until you succeed on 3 death saving throws, and you must finish a long rest before you can benifit from it again.

You make your death saving throws at the end of your turn during Purgatory.

Oath of the North

Those who swear the Oath of the North have generally accepted their fate as an outcast, and embrance the icy chill of Death.

They take the cold power of the grave and channep it into their attacks to slow and decimate their foes and steel themselves against the magic wielded against them.

Chill Presence:

At 3rd level when you take this Oath, Frost hangs heavy on your form. You gain resistance to Cold damage. Additionally, when you use Icy Blast, you can spend 1 additional Rune to cause the cold damage and slowing effect to target all creatures in a 15 foot cone in front of you.

Each creature in the area other than the primary target that succeeds on the saving throw is unaffected by both the cold damage and slowing effect.

Chill Aura:

At 7th level, allies within 10 feet of you gain resistance to Cold damage. Additionally, enemies that eneter the Aura or start their turn within its area must make a Dexterity saving throw.

On a failed save, they are considered to be in difficult terrain while within your aura for the next 24 hours.

On a successful save, they are not considered to be in difficult terrain and cannot be affected by this aura for 24 hours. At 18th level, the Aura increase to 30 feet.

Icy Resove:

At 7th level, you gain control over the Cold. Your weapons deal Cold damage, and your weapon attacks and Icy Blast ignore resistance and immunity to Cold damage.

Frozen Touch

Oath of the Plague

The Death Knight who swear this Oath have all but given up on life. Empowered by Death itself, they embrance that power and use it against their enemies.

Though they embrance Death, they are not inherently evil. They understand that death is a natural part of life, and recognize the opportunity given them with their resurrection.

Dread Presence:

At 3rd level when you take this Oath, you are empowered by the energy of Death itself. You have resistance to Necrotic damage.

Additionally, targets of your Plague Strike are considered Poisoned while affected by the Plague.

Aura of the Plague:

At 9th level, the frost infused in your body absorbs heat around you. Your skin is always cold to the touch, and you may use a bonus action to drain the heat out of small amouts of liquid, such as a keg of ale, or a glass of water. You cannot use this feature on large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.

Improved Icy Resolve:

At 15th level, you master the Cold, and are more capable of channeling its power. When you make a weapon attack with your Rune Weapon or Icy Blast, you gain a +1 bonus to all damage die rolled for the attack.

Pillar of Frozen Might:

At 20th level, your command of the chill touch of death is so powerful you can shrug off that which would cause others to father.

As a bonus action, you can fortify yourself with the power of Frost for 1 minute. For the next minute, all of your attacks and saving throws are made with advantage, and you are immune to the Stunned, Frightened, and Grappled conditions. You must finish a long rest before you may use this feature again.

At 7th level, allies within 10 feet of you gain resistance to Necrotic damage. Additionally, enemies that enter tha Aura or start their turn within its effect must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, they suffer from the Poisoned conditions while within your Aura for the next 24 hours.

On a sucessful save, they do not suffer the condition and cannot be affected by this aura for 24 hours. At 18th level, the Aura increases to 30 feet.

This is the all about the Death knight 5e. I hope you have like this post. Thanks for visiting this post.