Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Basic/Expert D&D Project V: Grave Knights

I made Valgos last week for B/X D&D and then also statted him for Pathfinder, so after posting the vertiginous and vile grave knight (stats courtesy of Dingle's Games) I realized that there was no equivalent such monstrosity in B/X D&D. Death Knights, of course, appeared in the original Fiend Folio, but that's AD&D, man...not B/X. And B/X is sort of the retro thing I'm in to now. Also, Pathfinder. So here's an unholy union of the two in the form of a B/X edition Grave Knight:

Grave Knight

Armor Class                2
Hit Dice                       6-9
Move                           120' (40')
Attacks                       sword, bow + special or devastating blast
Damage                     1D8 (sword) or 1D6 (bow) plus channel destruction
No. Appearing          1-2 (1-6)
Save As:                     fighter 6-9
Morale                       11
Treasure                    F
Alignment                 Chaotic

Grave knights are the remains of vile warlords and evil fighters who are so immersed in chaos that not even death can shackle them. The grave knight rises as a powerful undead lord with destructive abilities and an army at his beck and call. Few grave knights tend to work together, unless it it toward a common cause.

Grave knights channel destructive energy into any weapon they wield. This deals and extra 1D6 damage for grave knights of 6 or 7 hit dice and an extra 2D6 damage for grave knights of 8 or 9 hit dice.

Grave knights can summon dark magic based on what form of energy it was suffused with when it returned to hideous unlife. The grave knight unleashes a devastating blast, of one type: acid, electricity, fire or cold (choose only one per grave knight). The blast radiates in a 30 foot cone away from the grave knight and deals 3D6 damage for 6 hit dice, 4D6 damage for 5 hit dice, 5D6 damage for 6 hit dice and 7D6 for 9 hit dice grave knights. Each grave knight can do this three times per day. Anyone caught in the radius of effect can make a save vs. breath weapon to take half damage.

Grave knights can summon a skeletal steed, which is in all manners a skeletal horse that obeys the grave knight. The mount has the stats of a horse but is undead, and can be resummoned once per hour, even if destroyed.

Grave knights are kept perpetually moving by their chaotic armor, which restores them to life 1D10 days after they are destroyed.

Grave knights constantly radiate an aura of chaos for a 30 foot radius. While in this radius healing spells and turning attempts do not work unless the cleric makes a Save vs. Death!

Lastly, grave knights are masters of the undead and can attempt to control undead as a cleric of their level, in which a turned or destroyed result instead enslaves the target undead to the grave knight's will permanently (intelligent undead may make a save vs. spells to break free of this effect). If an undead is not controlled in this manner or makes a save it is free for the next twenty four hours.

Grave knights typically travel with 5 hit dice of minion creatures (usually but not always undead) for every hit die of the grave knight. Thus a 9 hit die grave knight will have 45 hit dice of minions at his beck and call.

Notice how awesomely simple the stat block above is, and yet it encompasses all the relevant details that the equivalent stat block from yesterday's post does.

I love Pathfinder, but I sure do wish it were a leaner, meaner system with less mechanical clutter! 


  1. That's a nice write up for a B/X undead creature of some worth. :)

  2. The more I write on B/X the more I want to run a campaign. Going to start feeling for player interest tonight, maybe get a bi-weekly Friday night game going soon.

  3. Awesome work! The funny thing is that I was just running over some ideas for a B/X Death Knight recently. I believe I will just borrow yours. :-)

    1. I love death knights as villains. Wonder what other iconic D&D monsters need a B/X version....does anyone know if the lich ever got a formal write-up for B/X?