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Dark Knight

Although it is a rare occurrence, holy knights do sometimes stray from the path of righteousness. Most of these wayward holy warriors seek out redemption and forgiveness for their misdeeds, regaining their powers through piety, charity, and powerful magic. Yet there are others, the dark and disturbed few, who turn actively to evil, courting the dark powers they once railed against in order to take vengeance on their former brothers. It’s said that those who climb the farthest have the farthest to fall, and the dark knights are living proof of this fact, their pride and hatred blinding them to the glory of their forsaken patrons. Dark knights become the antithesis of their former selves. They make pacts with fiends, take the lives of the innocent, and put nothing ahead of their personal power and wealth. Champions of evil, they often lead armies of evil creatures and work with other villains to bring ruin to the holy and tyranny to the weak. Not surprisingly, holy knights stop at nothing to put an end to such nefarious antiheroes.
Role: Dark knights are villains at their most dangerous. They care nothing for the lives of others and actively seek to bring death and destruction to ordered society. They rarely travel with those that they do not subjugate, unless as part of a ruse to bring ruin from within.
Alignment: Any evil
Hit Die: d10
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gil (average 175 gil.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gil or less.
Class Skills
The dark knight’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Stealth (Dex).
Skill Points Per Level: 2 + Int modifier

Table: Dark Knight

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialMPSpell Level
TypeFullGoodBadGood
1st+1+2+0+2Harm Touch (1d6), Sense Good, Smite Good (1/day), Limit Breaks
2nd+2+3+0+3Dark Blessing, Sneak Attack (+1d6), First Into Battle
3rd+3+3+1+3Harm Touch (2d6), Defile, Shared Offense
4th+4+4+1+4Smite Good (2/day), Nimbus of Darkness (Bane)01st
5th+5+4+1+4Harm Touch (3d6), Soul Eater, Dark Sword Tech, Channel Negative Energy11st
6th+6/+1+5+2+5Defile, Sneak Attack (+2d6)11st
7th+7+2+5+2+5Harm Touch (4d6), Smite Good (3/day), Unholy Resilience12nd
8th+8/+3+6+2+6Nimbus of Darkness (Plague)32nd
9th+9/+4+6+3+6Harm Touch (5d6), Defile, Last Resort42nd
10th+10/+5+7+3+7Smite Good (4/day), Sneak Attack (+3d6), Dark Sword Tech43rd
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+7Harm Touch (6d6), Aura of Cowardice73rd
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+8Defile, Nimbus of Darkness (Decadence)93rd
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+8Harm Touch (7d6), Smite Good (5/day), Aura of Despair104th
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+9Sneak Attack (+4d6), Terrifying Visage144th
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+9Harm Touch (8d6), Defile, Dark Sword Tech, Aura of Vengeance174th
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+10Smite Good (6/day), Nimbus of Darkness (Ferocity)194th
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Harm Touch (9d6), Aura of Sin204th
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Defile, Sneak Attack (+5d6)244th
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Harm Touch (10d6), Smite Good (7/day), Aura of Depravity274th
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Dark Champion, Nimbus of Darkness (Corruption), Dark Sword Tech334th

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the dark knight.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Dark Knights are proficient with all simple, martial weapons, and knight swords and with all armor (light, medium, and heavy) and shields (including tower shields).

Limit Breaks (Su)

At 1st level, the dark knight receives the Limit Breaks (Blackest Night and Blood Weapon).

Blackest Night (Su): This Limit Break causes the area around the dark knight to become as dark as night and grants the dark knight and any allies within 30 feet total concealment for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four dark knight levels after 1st. Allies must be within 30 feet of the dark knight while this limit break is in effect to receive the concealment bonuses.

Blood Weapon (Su): This Limit Break imbues the dark knight’s weapon the ability to drain an opponent’s hit points to heal themselves when attacking for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four dark knight levels after 1st. Any damage the dark knight deals become shadow damage and any damage dealt heals the dark knight for half the damage the weapon deals. This has absolutely no effect when used against any creature without a Constitution score, however. This limit break requires only a swift action.

Sense Good (Su)

At will, a dark knight can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 30 feet and determine if it is good, with a successful Sense Motive skill check. The DC for an item is equal to 15 + the caster level of the item. The DC for an individual is equal to 15 + the CR of the creature.

Harm Touch (Su)

At 1st level, a dark knight surrounds his hand with a fiendish flame, causing terrible wounds to open on those he touches. Each day he can use this ability a number of times equal to half his dark knight level + his Charisma modifier. As a touch attack, a dark knight can cause 1d6 points of shadow damage. This amount increases by 1d6 for every two dark knight levels beyond the 1st. Using this ability is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Alternatively, a dark knight can use this power to heal undead creatures, restoring 1d6 hit points for every two levels the dark knight possesses.

Smite Good (Su)

Also at 1st level, once per day, a dark knight can call out to the dark powers to crush the forces of good. As a swift action, the dark knight chooses one target within sight to smite. If this target is good, the dark knight adds his Charisma modifier (if any) to his attack rolls and adds his dark knight level to all damage rolls made against the target of his smite. If the target of smite good is an outsider with the good subtype, a good-aligned dragon, or a good creature with levels of white mage or holy knight, the bonus to damage on the first successful attack increases to 2 points of damage per level the dark knight possesses. Regardless of the target, smite good attacks automatically bypass any DR the creature might possess. In addition, while smite good is in effect, the dark knight gains a deflection bonus equal to his Charisma modifier (if any) to his AC against attacks made by the target of the smite. If the dark knight targets a creature that is not good, the smite is wasted with no effect. The smite good effect remains until the target of the smite is dead or the next time the dark knight rests and regains his uses of this ability. At 4th level, and at every three levels thereafter, the dark knight may smite good one additional time per day to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level.

Dark Blessing (Su)

At 2nd level, a dark knight applies his Charisma modifier (if positive) as a bonus on all saving throws.

Sneak Attack (Ex)

If a dark knight can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. The dark knight’s attack deals extra damage (called “precision damage”) anytime his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the dark knight flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 2nd level, and increases by 1d6 every four dark knight levels thereafter. Should the dark knight score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a dark knight can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty. The dark knight must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A dark knight cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

First Into Battle (Su)

At 2nd level, a dark knight can spend 1 use of smite good or harm touch to act in the surprise round, even if he is surprised. When the dark knight makes an Initiative check, he gains a bonus to the check equal to his Charisma bonus.

Shared Offense (Su)

At 3rd level, a dark knight can spend one use of his harm touch ability as a standard action to grant all adjacent allies (including other dark knights) a bonus. At 3rd level, adjacent allies receive a +1 profane bonus to their Attack and Damage rolls. These bonuses last for a number of rounds equal to the dark knight’s Charisma modifier. At 9th level and 15th level, this bonus increases by +1. At 6th level, these bonuses are granted to all allies within 10 feet, and allies that are reduced to fewer than 0 hit points within this area become disabled instead of dying as in Diehard feat. At 12th level, these bonuses are granted to all allies within 15 feet, and allies within this area deal an extra 1d6 points of damage. At 18th level, these bonuses are granted to all allies within 20 feet, and allies within this area gain a 25% chance to deal sneak attack damage equal to the dark knight’s sneak attack bonus. These bonuses are cumulative with each other. Allies only benefit from these bonuses while in the listed area.

Defile (Su)

At 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, a dark knight can select one defile. Each defile adds an effect to the dark knight’s harm touch ability. Whenever the dark knight uses harm touch to deal damage to one target, the target also receives the additional effect from one of the defilements possessed by the dark knight. This choice is made when the touch is used. The target receives a Fortitude save to avoid this defile. If the save is successful, the target takes the damage as normal, but not the effects of the defile. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier.

At 3rd level, the dark knight can select from the following initial defilements.

  • Blinded: The target receives the Blind status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Shaken: The target is shaken for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Sickened: The target is sickened for 1 round per level of the dark knight.

At 6th level, a dark knight adds the following defilements to the list of those that can be selected.

  • Dazed: The target is dazed for 1 round.
  • Diseased: The target receives the Disease status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Silenced: The target receives the Silence status effect for 1 round per two levels of the dark knight.

At 9th level, a dark knight adds the following defilements to the list of those that can be selected.

  • Cursed: The target receives the Curse status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Immobilized: The target receives the Immobilize status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Nauseated: The target is nauseated for 1 round per three levels of the dark knight. Prerequisite: The dark knight must have the sickened defile before selecting this defile.
  • Poisoned: The target receives the Poison status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.
  • Slowed: The target receives the Slow status effect for 1 round per two levels of the dark knight.

At 12th level, a dark knight adds the following defilements to the list of those that can be selected.

  • Berserk: The target receives the Berserk status effect for 1 round per two levels of the dark knight.
  • Disabled: The target receives the Disable status effect for 1 round per three levels of the dark knight.
  • Paralyzed: The target is paralyzed for 1 round.
  • Stunned: The target is stunned for 1 round.
  • Zombie: The target receives the Zombie status effect for 1 round per level of the dark knight.

These abilities are not cumulative. Once a defile is chosen, it can’t be changed.

Spells

Beginning at 4th level, a dark knight gains the ability to cast dark knight spells, which are drawn from the dark knight spell list. A dark knight begins play with 1 1st level dark knight spell of his choice. Each time a character attains a new dark knight level, he gains one spell of his choice to add to his list of spells. The free spell must be of spell levels he can cast. Like most spellcasters, a dark knight can find or purchase scrolls with spells to add to his repertoire. Unlike other spellcasters, a dark knight wearing armor does not affect his spellcasting ability.

To learn or cast a spell, the dark knight must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, Cha 12 for 2nd-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a dark knight’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the dark knight’s Charisma modifier. In addition, a dark knight gains additional MP for having a high attribute (Charisma—see Table: Bonus MP per Day (by Spell Level) on the MP System page).

Through 3rd level, a dark knight has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, his caster level is equal to his dark knight level –3.

Nimbus of Darkness (Su)

At 4th level, a dark knight learns to use the power of evil to lower his opponents’ defenses and plague them with darkness. As a standard action, he can call upon his dark power to cause a nimbus of darkness to emanate from the dark knight in a 30-ft.-radius. The dark knight can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. This power lasts for 1 minute.

Bane (Su): At 4th level, the dark knight’s nimbus of darkness affects all enemies in this area with a –1 penalty to AC and on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws against fear as long as they remain in the area of darkness.

Plague (Su): At 8th level, the dark knight’s nimbus of darkness also causes enemies to be affected by the Disease status, a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier) negates the status effect, and while in the area of darkness, enemies take 2 points of shadow damage per round.

Decadence (Su): At 12th level, the dark knight’s nimbus of darkness also grants the dark knight and his allies concealment. In addition, the nimbus lowers resistance by 10 to one type of elemental damage, selected by the dark knight when this power is activated to enemies within the area of darkness.

Ferocity (Su): At 16th level, the dark knight’s nimbus of darkness grants the dark knight and his allies the ability to deal more critical hits. The critical hit threat range of the dark knight and his allies’ weapons are increased by +1.

Corruption (Su): At 20th level, the nimbus of darkness increases in size out to a range of 60 feet. In addition, all of its penalties increase. The penalty to AC and on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws against fear increases to –2. The amount of shadow damage dealt increases to 4. The elemental resistance decreases by 20 against one elemental damage type. Finally, the critical hit threat range increases to +2.

Soul Eater (Su)

At 5th level, as a swift action, a dark knight can empower his next blow by giving up some of his life force to win the battle. The dark knight’s first attack each round for the duration of this ability deals an extra 5d6 points of shadow damage if it hits, and he takes 10 points of damage each time he makes such an attack, whether or not the attack is successful. This ability lasts for 1 minute and can be cancelled as a free action. The dark knight can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.

Channel Negative Energy (Su)

When a dark knight reaches 5th level, he gains the supernatural ability to channel negative energy like a cleric. Using this ability consumes two uses of his harm touch ability. A dark knight uses his level as his effective cleric level when using channel negative energy. This is a Charisma-based ability.

Dark Sword Tech

The dark knight employs abilities of dark power, often dealing high damage and weakening enemies. Starting at 5th level and every other five levels thereafter, the dark knight gains a new dark sword tech ability. The dark knight may use any of the currently available dark sword techs up to 3 + Charisma modifier times per day.

Dark Sword (Su): Using this ability causes a gleaming red sword to pierce through the dark knight’s opponent. This attack deals 1d8 points of shadow damage + an additional 1d8 per two dark knight levels (to a maximum of 5d8) and inflicts the Blind status for 1 round per level unless the creature makes a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier) for half damage and status effect negation. This ability has range of 30 feet.

Disastrous Sweep (Su): Using this ability causes a blast of dark energies to hurtle at a range of opponents. This attack deals 1d10 points of shadow damage to any living creature, friend or foe, caught in the 30-foot-cone area of effect, plus an additional 1d10 per two dark knight levels (to a maximum of 5d10). A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier) halves this damage.

Doomsayer’s Slash (Su): Using this ability grants the dark knight’s attack to almost guarantee to strike. The dark knight receives an attack bonus equal to his dark knight level. In addition to the weapon’s damage, this attack deals an extra 2d6 points of shadow damage, plus an additional amount of damage equal to the dark knight level. This attack can only be used against targets within melee range.

Duskblade (Su): Using this ability rains down phantoms of bloody daggers upon dark knight’s target, dealing 1d8 points of shadow damage, plus an additional amount of damage equal to the dark knight level. If the target is damaged, the target loses MP equal to half the damage done. This ability has range of 15 feet and requires a ranged touch attack.

Harrowing Slice (Su): Using this ability causes the dark knight’s weapon to begin to take on a dark hue, glowing with evil taint. The dark knight makes a single melee attack, rolling with his highest base attack bonus. If he succeeds the attack, the hit is automatically considered a critical hit, and confirmed. If it fails, the attack proceeds as a normal attack. This attack can only be used against targets within melee range.

Night Sword (Su): Using this ability causes a sword of darkness to erupt from the ground in a 20-foot radius, damaging all in the area of effect for 1d10 points of shadow damage, plus an additional 1d10 per two dark knight levels (to a maximum of 5d10) unless they make a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier) halves this damage. This ability has range of 100 feet.

Shadowblade (Su): Using this ability summons a hellish phantom sword to strike from the underworld, erupting beneath the dark knight’s opponent. This attack deals 1d8 points of shadow damage, plus an additional 1d8 per two dark knight levels (to a maximum of 5d8) and transfers half the damage done to his hit points. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier) halves this damage. This ability has range of 30 feet.

Unholy Resilience (Ex)

At 7th level, a dark knight gains immunity to Poison, Sap, and Disease status effects.

Last Resort (Ex)

At 9th level, a dark knight reaches for the dark power within himself to imbue himself with greater strength at a cost of defense. While under Last Resort, he gains a +6 morale bonus to Strength and, if he makes a full attack action, gains a single extra attack each round at his highest bonus. (This latter effect is not cumulative with haste or other effects that grant additional attacks.) However, he also takes a –4 penalty to Armor Class. Using this ability requires a swift action and consumes two uses of the dark knight’s harm touch ability. The effects last for 3 rounds plus a number of rounds equal to his Charisma bonus (if any).

Aura of Cowardice (Su)

At 11th level, a dark knight radiates a palpably daunting aura that causes all enemies within 10 feet to take a –4 penalty on saving throws against fear effects. Creatures that are normally immune to fear lose that immunity while within 10 feet of a dark knight with this ability. This ability functions only while the dark knight remains conscious, not if he is unconscious or dead.

Aura of Despair (Su)

At 13th level, enemies within 10 feet of a dark knight take a –2 penalty on all saving throws. This penalty does not stack with the penalty from aura of cowardice. This ability functions only while the dark knight is conscious, not if he is unconscious or dead.

Terrifying Visage (Su)

At 14th level, a dark knight can emit a fiendish aura in a 30-foot-burst. Enemies within the area of effect take 1d6 points of shadow damage per two dark knight levels and are immobilized for 1 round. Good humanoids and outsiders are immobilized for 1d4 rounds on a failed save. A Reflex save halves this damage and negates the immobilization. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + half of the dark knight’s level + his Charisma modifier. Allies within this burst receive a +2 profane bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for 1 round. Evil humanoids, undead and outsiders receive this bonus for 1d6 rounds instead. A dark knight can use this ability once per day at 14th level plus one additional time per day at 17th and 20th level.

Aura of Vengeance (Su)

At 15th level, a dark knight can expend two uses of his smite good ability to grant the ability to smite good to all allies within 10 feet, using his bonuses. Allies must use this smite good ability by the start of the dark knight’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Good creatures gain no benefit from this ability.

Aura of Sin (Su)

At 17th level, a dark knight’s weapons are treated as evil-aligned for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. Any attack made against an enemy within 10 feet of him is treated as evil-aligned for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. This ability functions only while the dark knight is conscious, not if he is unconscious or dead.

Aura of Depravity (Su)

At 19th level, a dark knight gains DR 5/good. Each enemy within 10 feet takes a –4 penalty on saving throws against dark spells and effects. This ability functions only while the dark knight is conscious, not if he is unconscious or dead.

Dark Champion (Su)

At 20th level, a dark knight becomes a conduit for the power of evil. The dark knight gains DR 10/good. Whenever he casts Dark spells or uses harm touch to damage a creature, he deals the maximum possible amount. In addition, any weapon the dark knight wields is considered Evil aligned for purposes of bypassing damage reduction, dealing an additional 1d6 points of shadow damage against all good opponents and an additional 2d6 points of shadow damage against good outsiders and good-aligned white mages and holy knights.

Code of Conduct

A dark knight must be of evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that a dark knight cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have dark knight as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

  • Au Ra: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using smite good (maximum bonus of +5). This does not stack with the Critical Focus feat.
  • Dwarf: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using smite good (maximum bonus of +5). This does not stack with the Critical Focus feat.
  • Elvaan: Add +1/4 to the number of defiles the dark knight can inflict.
  • Galka: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using smite good (maximum bonus of +5). This does not stack with the Critical Focus feat.
  • Guado: The dark knight restores +1 hit point on undead targets when using harm touch.
  • Hume: Add +1 to the dark knight’s holy element resistance (maximum +10).
  • Mithra: The dark knight gains +1/6 of an additional 1d6 points of sneak attack damage.
  • Moogle: Add +1/2 hit point to the dark knight’s harm touch ability (whether using it to heal or harm).
  • Orc: Add +1/4 to the number of defiles the dark knight can inflict.
  • Quadav: Add +1 to the dark knight’s holy element resistance (maximum +10).
  • Roegadyn: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using smite good (maximum bonus of +5). This does not stack with the Critical Focus feat.
  • Ronso: Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using smite good (maximum bonus of +5). This does not stack with the Critical Focus feat.
  • Seeq: Add +1/4 to the number of defiles the dark knight can inflict.
  • Tarutaru: Add +1/4 to the number of defiles the dark knight can inflict.

Archetypes