D Is for Death Knight

Ah, memories! How fondly I recall my acquisition of 1E’s Fiend Folio and my amazement at the assortment of bizarre creatures therein. From the sticky adherer to the preposterous flumph to science-fictiony yellow musk zombie, there was so much in that slim volume that just screamed, “Use us! Use us!”

And use them I did. One monster that still makes me smile while I imagine the charred remains of adventurers is the death knight. What a nasty piece of work it was! AC 0, 75% magic resistance with an 11% chance of spell reflection, immunity to turning, 18/00 Strength, at will wall of ice, demon gating, power word spells, and that awesome 20-dice fireball, and that’s not everything. The death knight was an end boss monster back before computer games had made such terminology common in RPGs. If your 1E PC ran across one of these baddies and lived to tell the tale, you knew you’d accomplished a legend-worthy deed.

Surely an assortment of evil creatures would love to follow such an exquisitely deadly monster. Put the death knight at the top of a wicked pyramid, served by oodles of aspiring lackeys eager to prove just how evil they too can be. And, just to add some concreteness to this nasty army’s modus operandi, consider using this unholy code of anti-chivalry I once wrote up for some Mutants & Masterminds villains:

1. Thou shalt believe the opposite of all that the Church teaches, and shalt openly defy all its directions.
2. Thou shalt seek to harm the Church and its defenders.
3. Thou shalt hate all weakness and shalt constitute thyself the oppressor of them.
4. Thou shalt hate the country in which thou wast born.
5. Thou shalt use base cunning and deceit against thine enemies.
6. Thou shalt make war against law enforcers without cessation and without mercy.
7. Thou shalt perform all of thy duties without regard for laws of both God and man.
8. Thy pledged word shalt mean nothing.
9. Thou shalt be greedy and covetous, and shalt give no one largess.
10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of injustice and evil against the right and the good.

Just substitute references to the Church and God with whatever lawful good power structure and deity best suits your campaign, and let the holy war against the powers of darkness begin. After all, those that uphold this code of conduct deserve some serious smiting.

April 4th, 2012  in RPG No Comments »

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